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When I bought this jacket, it was meant to be an armor to protect me from getting hurt by those I love. But now it's just a reminder that I have to protect those I love.
Emma Swan to David Nolan src

Emma Swan's Red Leather Jackets are items featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They first appear in the first episode of the first season.


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During First Curse

In 2009, Emma is apprehended by bail bond agent Cleo Fox, whom she notices is wearing a brown leather jacket and snidely asks whether she also wears it while she's taking a shower or sleeping. After the women develop a bond, Cleo admits that she wears her jacket as a kind of armor and she suggests that Emma needs to find her own "armor" so she can protect herself from her emotions. Following Cleo's death in an accident, Emma becomes a bail bonds person herself. In 2010, she visits a clothing shop in Boston, and finds a red leather jacket with a snap button collar and zipper chest pockets,[1] similar to the one worn by Cleo. Emma purchases the jacket and uses it as armor to protect herself from getting hurt by those she loves. ("Firebird")

In 2011, Emma is brought to Storybrooke by Henry, the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago. For the journey, she dons the same jacket that she bought in Boston the year before.[2] Emma chooses to stay in Storybrooke for Henry's sake and continues to wear the jacket during her first days in town since she has no spare clothing. Eventually, her possessions arrive, along with the rest of her clothes. ("Pilot" − "The Price of Gold")

After Emma's possessions arrive in town, she switches to a reddish-brown jacket with flap chest pockets,[3] without a snap button collar.[4] Emma accepts a job as sheriff's deputy from Sheriff Graham, but refuses to wear the assigned uniform. Graham asks her if she thinks she can get people to do what she wants "in that red coat", but Emma believes she can. ("That Still Small Voice")

Emma wears this red jacket until she begins her work as the new town sheriff. However, Emma eventually decides that it would be best for Henry if she leaves town. As she gets ready to leave Storybrooke, she once again dons the jacket. However, her plans are cut short when Henry is mysteriously poisoned. The jacket stays on her as she works to save his life, and ends up breaking the Dark Curse. ("The Shepherd" − "True North", "An Apple Red as Blood", "A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

After breaking the curse and being reunited with her parents, Emma switches to a different jacket, with a deeper shade of reddish-brown, and a completely different design. Most noticeably, this jacket has a folded collar and zipper sleeves.[5] Emma, while still wearing the jacket, and her mother Mary Margaret, are accidentally transported to the Enchanted Forest. Emma wears her only jacket for weeks as she and her mother search for a way to return to the Land Without Magic until they finally succeed by traveling through a portal. At one point during their stay, they travel to the Royal Castle with Mulan and Aurora. When Aurora becomes cold during the trip, Emma takes off her jacket and lets Aurora borrow it. Aurora looks at the strange garment in wonder, and mutters to herself, "What kind of corset is this?". ("Broken" − "Queen of Hearts", "Lady of the Lake")

After Emma and her family return to Storybrooke following a journey to Neverland, Emma once again dons the reddish-brown jacket with flap chest pockets. She wears it while she and her allies work to defeat Peter Pan, and when she is forced to leave town with Henry when the curse is undone. ("The New Neverland", "Going Home")

During Second Curse

One year later, Emma and her son Henry are living happily together in New York City, until one day, Hook show up and informs her that a new curse has been cast and that her family needs her help. Upon regaining her memories, Emma realizes that the time has come to return to Storybrooke, and while packing for the trip, she says that she needs one last thing. She opens her wardrobe closet and takes out the same red leather jacket that she wore when she left town a year ago. With the jacket on, Emma returns to Storybrooke with Hook and Henry. ("New York City Serenade")

Emma wears the same jacket while working with Regina to find out who cast the new curse. When Emma and the rest of the heroes try to free Mr. Gold from Zelena's clutches, Emma wears a different jacket, the deep reddish-brown jacket she wore during her stay in the Enchanted Forest a year ago. ("Witch Hunt", "It's Not Easy Being Green")

After Second Curse

When Zelena's time portal opens, Emma is once again wearing the deep reddish-brown jacket, before she and Hook become trapped in a past timeline in the Enchanted Forest. To minimize the risk of Emma making a lasting impression on someone who might remember her in the future, they find new clothes for Emma. Hook remarks that sadly, red leather jackets never come into vogue in the Enchanted Forest. Rumplestiltskin casts a glamour spell on spell on them to help them re-create the events surrounding Emma's parents first meeting, but after the glamour is removed, Emma's Land Without Magic outfit re-appears on her, along with her jacket, and she and Hook return to Storybrooke. ("Snow Drifts", "There's No Place Like Home")

Over the following weeks, Emma continues to wear this jacket during a string of events, which involves fighting a snow monster, losing control over her magic powers and trying to get rid of them, and fighting a dark demon known as the Chernabog.[6] ("A Tale of Two Sisters", "The Snow Queen", "Smash the Mirror", "Darkness on the Edge of Town")

When Emma and Regina travel out of Storybrooke to find Maleficent's missing daughter, Lily, and save Robin Hood from Zelena, Emma dons her reddish-brown jacket with flap chest pockets, which she continues to wear until Isaac Heller uses the enchanted pen to re-write reality. When Isaac's work is undone by Henry, everything returns to normal, and Emma's jacket appears on her once more. ("Lily" − "Operation Mongoose Part 2")

After Third Curse

When Emma becomes the new Dark One, she, her friends, and family travel to Camelot to find a way to get the Darkness out of her. With both Emma and co-sheriff David Nolan gone, Mr. Clark steps in as the new town sheriff. Mr. Clark starts wearing an outfit similar to Emma's, including a red leather jacket similar to the bright red jacket Emma wore during her first days in Storybrooke, but with different snap fasteners, and differently colored zipper pulls on the chest pockets.[7] After everyone returns to Storybrooke, they are shocked to discover that Emma has fully embraced the darkness. When the new Dark One sees what Mr. Clark is wearing, she gets angry and asks who the hell he is supposed to be. She then transforms him into a stone statue. ("The Dark Swan")

Eventually, the darkness is removed from Emma. In a flash of bright light, her Dark One outfit disappears and is replaced by her normal clothes, including the reddish-brown leather jacket with flap chest pockets. She continues to wear this jacket while she and her family go to the Underworld to save Hook. After Hook decides to stay in the Underworld instead of leaving with her, Emma tells her father that when she bought her first red leather jacket, it was meant to be an armor to protect her from getting hurt by those she loved. She realizes that the jacket is, in fact, a reminder that she has to protect those she loves. ("Swan Song" - "Firebird")

Following the return to her hometown, Emma continues to wear the jacket in Storybrooke and the Land Without Magic. It stays on her as the heroes work to defeat Hades, and when she and Regina go on a mission to track down Henry and the Olympian Crystal in New York City. ("Last Rites", "Only You", "An Untold Story")

Home in Storybrooke, Emma and her boyfriend, Hook, are passionately making out on the couch. Emma asks him about the red leather jacket she's wearing and starts to take it off, but Hook stops her, adding that he "likes the red leather jacket". The makeout-session is interrupted when a dirigible from the Land of Untold Stories flies over Emma's house, and the jackets stays on Emma while they spend the rest of the day dealing with the newcomers. ("The Savior")

Emma eventually decides to take the plunge and ask Hook to move in with her. Over lunch, she tells him that she has a closet full of red jackets, and feels like she can make some space for some black leather, a reference to Hook's garment of choice. He happily accepts her offer. ("The Other Shoe")

After Sixth Curse
On the day of Regina's coronation, Emma arrives there wearing the reddish-brown leather jacket with flap chest pockets, over her ball gown. As Emma greets Henry, she slips off her jacket, unveiling her white gown, before the ceremony continues. ("Leaving Storybrooke")


On-Screen Notes

  • Emma has at least four different red leather jackets (for information on where she wears which jacket, see the history section):
    • One is bright red with a snap button collar and zippered chest pockets.[2] ("Pilot" − "The Price of Gold", "Firebird")
      • Emma buys this jacket in the Boston flashback in "Firebird".[1]
    • One is reddish-brown jacket with flap chest pockets,[3] without a snap button collar.[4] ("That Still Small Voice" et al.
      • It's interesting to note that in "Firebird", Emma talks about the red leather jacket she's currently wearing, and how she bought it to have an armor to protect her from getting hurt by those she loves; even though the jacket she is wearing in this moment, is the reddish-brown jacket with flap pockets,[8] not the jacket she originally bought.
    • One has a deeper shade of reddish-brown, and has a completely different design; most noticeably, it has a folded collar and zipper sleeves.[5] ("Broken" et al.
    • One is made of suede and looks completely different from the other jackets, with a much more sophisticated design than the other jackets.[9] ("The Song in Your Heart", "The Final Battle Part 2", "A Pirate's Life")

Production Notes

  • Emma's trademark leather jacket was originally supposed to be black.[10][11] The day before shooting started, Edward Kitsis[11] requested red after a camera test,[12] to allude to Prince Charming's red outfit in the Enchanted Forest flashbacks.[10]
  • The show creators have stated that Emma represents color coming into the drained world of Storybrooke, as seen in her yellow car and red jacket.[10]
  • In the first two episodes of season one, Emma's jacket was a cheap jacket tweaked by the costume department.[11] It was bought around the corner from the costume designer's hotel room the day before they shot the "Pilot", and cost "like 89 dollars".[13] By episode three,[11] the costume department replaced it[11] with custom made leather jackets by Vancouver's Ocean Drive Leather.[11][14] According to costume designer Eduardo Castro, Jennifer Morrison was "not in love with" the original red leather jacket, and the new one was a custom jacket which suits her body and is a little sleeker and a little more sophisticated. It cost almost four thousand dollars.[13]
    • Ocean Drive Leather also created four of Emma's other leather jackets.[14][15] The same company also created Sheriff Graham's leather jacket,[16] which also designed several of Emma's leather jackets.[17] David's leather jacket from Season Two,[18] and Hook's leather jacket from Season Four to Season Six.[19]
    • By the time of "Souls of the Departed", the red jacket had been remade and redone by the costume department many times, and there were about 25 to 30 different versions of the jacket. Some are a brighter red, some are medium red, and some are red brown.[13]

Costume Notes


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. 1.0 1.1 File:520EmmasArmor.png
  2. 2.0 2.1 File:104OperationCobra.png
  3. 3.0 3.1 File:105TakeTheFantasyAway.png
  4. 4.0 4.1 File:105WhatHappened.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 File:201SomeOfMyOwn.png
  6. Note that in "Darkness on the Edge of Town", it looks like Emma is wearing a different jacket, with wool lining (412FreeTheFairiesDay.png) however, the lining in fact fact part of a separate garment (412CarStarts.png)
  7. File:501ClarkIsAfraid.png
  8. File:520SomeOtherWay.png
  9. File:620BeBrave.png
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Season One DVD and Blu-ray Commentary for "Pilot"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Once Upon a Time - Behind the Magic - Page 57. London: Titan Books, October 2013
  12. Eduardo Castro Talks Designing the Costumes of Once Upon a Time. Music in the Dark (February 25, 2017). Archived from the original on September 10, 2018. “The color red was chosen only the day before we shot the pilot for Emma’s jacket. Originally it was black. It was the producers who requested red after a camera test.”
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Aguilera, Leanne (February 23, 2016). 'Once Upon a Time' Fashion Spotlight: 4 Secrets You Need to Know About Emma Swan's Magical Wardrobe!. Entertainment Tonight. “Emma Swan's red jacket has become an iconic piece of clothing on the hit drama, but the story behind the selection is what's truly surprising. "The original jacket was bought around the corner from my hotel room the day before we shot [the pilot] and it was a very inexpensive jacket," Castro shared. "It was like 89 dollars, and the jacket that we have grown into, that we've remade and redone, costs almost four thousand dollars!" So, what makes this new design even more magical than the original? "It's a custom jacket that suits her body and it's my take on improving that jacket," Castro explained. "[Jennifer] wasn't in love with the first jacket, really. As we went along, we made improvements for her, and the jacket is a little sleeker and a little more sophisticated and it fits better and it's better leather." Now, 100 episodes later, Castro has about "25 to 30" different versions of Emma's red jacket. "There are some that are a brighter red, a medium red, red brown -- there's quite a few," he said.”
  14. 14.0 14.1 Wieselman, Jareth (November 14, 2011). GET THE LOOK: 'ONCE UPON A TIME'. The Archived from the original on November 6, 2013.
    TassyTas (March 13, 2012). Fairy Tale "it" Leather Jackets. The It Lists. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016.
  15. FacebookIcon @oceandriveleather (Ocean Drive Leather). September 10, 2013.  "Emma Swan leather jacket collection." (archive copy)
  16. B34/Sheriff. Oceandrive Leather. Retrieved on November 3, 2018.
  17. TassyTas (March 13, 2012). Fairy Tale "it" Leather Jackets. The It Lists. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016.5
  18. FacebookIcon @oceandriveleather (Ocean Drive Leather). July 30, 2011.  "These are cuffs for over riding gloves that we were spontaneously asked to make by Eduardo the costume designer for Once Upon A Time. Brown matching to the pants leather, with scarlet inlay. A small but important detail." (archive copy)
  19. FacebookIcon @oceandriveleather (Ocean Drive Leather). November 19, 2014.  "Captain Hook has a sexy new motorcycle jacket! Colin O'Donoghue looks great on ABC's Once Upon a Time in a specially designed, distressed black leather jacket from Oceandrive Leather. Thanks Eduardo Castro for your confidence in us!" (archive copy)
  20. Mackage Veruca Leather Moto Jacket. Nordstrom Rack. Retrieved on January 6, 2019.
  21. File:412CarStarts.png
  22. File:620BeBrave.png
  23. VEDA Jayne Suede Jacket. Shopbop. Retrieved on January 6, 2019.
  24. File:622EmmaDefeatedTheDragonPage.png
  25. File:622SupperPage.png
  26. File:701WhatABetterLife.png
  27. File:702ShesA.png
  28. File:720TheStorybook.png
  29. File:721ApprenticeVision19.png
  30. File:111TakesOutPhotographs.png
  31. File:405EmmaAndHenry.png
  32. File:417LampOn.png
  33. File:503NobleOne.png
  34. File:505NotYourGirlfriend.png

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