A good motorcycle jacket can offer safety far beyond regular clothing and provide superior protection from the environment and in an event of a fall. Consider it the second most important piece of gear to wear on the road.
When you start looking for your first motorcycle jacket, shop based on the function and fit before choosing a design. It should fit snugly like a helmet should, but not be uncomfortably tight or too loose. Look for a quality material that will be durable and function in the environment you plan to ride in.
If you plan to ride only on a closed racetrack, it may be best to look for a leather jacket or suit. For casual off-road riding, a textile-material may be the better option. There isn’t a true clothing standard to go by to ensure quality, but we recommend buying the thickest material available for abrasion resistance. Choose jackets that offer built-in protection, and look for those that have enough pockets to store everything you’ll need to carry (license, registration, etc.).
Source: Motorcycle Legal Foundation