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Besides A Leather Jacket, How Can I Wear Leather This Fall?

how to wear a leather jacketNow that it’s officially fall, it’s time to adjust your wardrobe.

A staple in any cool weather climate, leather is one of those timeless materials that just works for this time of year.  From cowhide to lambskin to vegan, leather should be a part of every fashionistas wardrobe.

Most of us have a leather jacket or coat hanging in our closets. However did you know that you can wear leather in LOTS of other fashionable ways for fall?

I put my stylist mind and love for shopping to work and came up with a few ways to add leather pieces to your wardrobe and still look like you stepped out of a fashion magazine. Follow these tips for flawless incorporation of one of my favorite cold weather materials.

1. Leather Shorts + Opaque Tights

Look of Leather 1

Early fall is when it’s still warm and not quite time to pull out the fluffy stuff (like goosedown coats and cashmere wraps) that will keep me warm on my daily commute.  That’s why I love the look of leather shorts and opaque tights for this time of year.

For the shorts:

  • Pick the right inseam.  Choose a pair that’s between above-the-knee and mid-thigh length. Too short or too long shorts won’t work.
  • Choose a focal point.  If you want to wear leather shorts with a print, I suggest making the shorts the focal point of your outfit.  This means everything else should be in solid colors.
  • Keep it animal free.  Stick with a vegan leather as leather shorts made from animal hides can get hot!

For the tights:

  • Darker colors work best in this look.  My picks are navy, black, forest green, and chocolate brown.
  • Make sure the tights are truly opaque. The level of opacity is up to you, but a blend of sheer opaque tights gives a nice sheen as well as coverage.
  • Avoid tights with texture.  Unless you have very skinny legs, any texture on the tights worn underneath the leather shorts can make your legs look chunky or unshapely.

Finishing touches:

  • A pair of flat oxfords or brogues works nicely in this look.  Make the legs appear longer by picking shoes in the same color as the tights.
  • Keep any jewelry simple and cluster a bunch of small pieces versus wearing any statement jewelry.  Remember the leather shorts are the star of the show.
  • As the weather gets colder, this is a perfect look to try with my la mere layering technique.
    • Layer on top by adding a scarf around the neck and fitted blazer.
    • Layer on the bottom by adding socks along with the tights and changing the shoes to a flat boot.


2. Metallic Leather + “All Black Everything

Look of Leather 2The old fashion adage is true, black never goes out of style!  It’s one of my favorite colors to wear (along with my love of stilettos) and can be worn in any season.  The key to successfully wearing black is proportion and fit.  Wearing things that fit well is important to pull off this color, especially when you’re wearing it head-to-toe in a monochromatic look.  That’s where texture and accents come into play.

For the leather vest:

  • Go for texture.  Or embellishment, since it will be paired with all black underneath.
  • Pick a vest that’s hip length.  Cropped can work if you have an enviable waistline (which many of us don’t).  Avoid a vest that’s too long as it will go over the hips and rear and potentially distort the shape.
  • Pick a vest that fits.  Make sure you can move in the vest!  If you don’t have full range of motion in your arms or it pulls tightly across the back if you hunch over, then it’s too tight.

For the jeans & top:

  • Choose jeans that flatter your figure.  If skinny jeans don’t work for you, then pick a style that does.  Bootcut is universally flattering.
  • Make sure the jeans are black.  The goal is a dramatic effect so find the darkest, truest color of black denim jeans possible.
  • Long sleeves are a must.  Whether you go for a body suit, turtleneck, or mockneck turtuleneck, it’s important for the top to have long sleeves.

Finishing touches:

  • Ensure the heel height is comfortable for you to walk in.  Although I love stilettos, they aren’t for everyone.  It’s more important that your shoes coordinate with the leather vest and are a statement shoe.
  • Match your metallics.  If you like gold, then match it with gold.  The same goes for if you choose silver, pewter, rose gold, or bronze.  This is not a time to mix metallics.
  • Match your blacks.  The jeans you pick and the long-sleeve top need to match almost perfectly.  That means no faded black denim allowed!



3. Pleated Leather Skirt + Cashmere Sweater

Look of Leather 3

A pleated skirt is a wonderful wardrobe staple for every woman.  Regardless of the length, this feminine and classic skirt can be worn to work, for play, on a date, or casually.  For fall, I like the leather pleated skirt because it adds a bit of edge and maturity to this effortlessly feminine piece.

For the pleated skirt:

  • Go for knee-to-shin length.  Since every piece of clothing in your wardrobe should be timeless, keeping lengths versatile will enable you to wear it for more seasons and for more occasions.
  • Keep colors classic.  Though I love colored leather, choose a pleated leather skirt in a classic color such as black, navy, chocolate brown, or camel.  Once again, you’ll get more wear (and for more seasons) out of a classic colored leather pleated skirt versus one that’s, say, electric blue.
  • Faux or vegan are best.  Since leather is a heavy material, it can look cumbersome in the form of a pleated skirt.  To keep the look and weight light, go for a pleated leather skirt in vegan leather.  This is also a more budget-friendly option.

For the cashmere sweater:

  • V-neck is best.  Whether you want to layer a collared shirt underneath your sweater or wear a dramatic statement necklace, a v-neck cashmere sweater will allow you to do just that.
  • Go for 2-ply.  This is considered “seasonless” cashmere and your best bet in being able to wear this look in cooler weather instead of just winter weather.
  • Keep it neutral.  The pleated leather skirt is the star so make sure all of your other pieces play the background role.  Pick a cashmere sweater in a neutral or basic color so there’s not competition for attention in your look.

Finishing touches:

  • Add print.  Since the pieces are basic, you want to add depth and interest to your look with the use of prints.  A bit of graphic print or animal print is a great add-in here.
  • Choose minimal accessories.  Simple and chic is what you want, so minimize the use of accessories.  As stated above, add interest with a bit of print.
  • Pick fun flats.  The pleated leather skirt is the star, so choose a cool pair of flats (like oxfords or brogues) to keep it that way.


4. The Leather Dress

Look of Leather 4

The leather dress in a word can be intimidating.  The images that a “leather dress” brings to mind when I’ve suggested it to clients is some type of dominatrix with whips and chains.  That is so not the case!  A quality leather dress is an investment piece that will last you for years to come with proper care.

For the dress:

  • Sheath is best.  A classic sheath dress is the best style to choose.  It’s timeless,simple and a classic that will never go out of style.
  • Keep it knee length.  For maximum versatility, knee length will serve you best. This is long enough to be appropriate for a professional environment or upscale dinner yet short enough to be flirty and fun for more casual activities.
  • Stick with a dark color.  Even if you feel black may be too daunting, stick with dark colors that always show up in fall wardrobes.  Think navy, cognac, wine, aubergine, or charcoal grey.

Finishing touches:

  • For the office, go for a fitted blazer that really defines the waist plus has a bold stripe or pattern to contrast with the solid colored leather dress.
  • To ensure your look stays feminine versus dominatrix, keep your accessories dainty.  The contrast between the strong statement the leather dress makes against the subtle statement of thin bracelets and pearl necklaces balances out the look.
  • If you want to make this look a little more retro, pair the leather dress with the same color opaque tights and flat or low-heeled knee boots.  Throw in a cropped jacket and your look is a refined homage to 60’s style.


5. Leather Leggings + Cropped Top

Look of Leather 5

Leather leggings are the ultimate in chic modern casual.  These beauties can be worn virtually anywhere, dressed up or down, and easily make you look like a million bucks!

For the leggings:

  • Choose panel leggings.  These give the wearer the best fit and are more budget-friendly than purely leather leggings.  The panels of stretch material and leather also make a great pattern.
  • Stick to black.  I love colored leather, but sticking to black is the most slimming and timeless choice.
  • Ensure proper fit.  Make sure the leather leggings aren’t too tight or too loose. Looking constricted and spilling over any place is just as bad as having sagging going on anywhere (especially in the crotch area!).

Finishing touches:

  • Pair with a crop top.  I love crop tops for their versatility!  You can layer a longer shirt underneath for cooler weather and get a killer urban inspired look.
  • Grab designer kicks.  A fun and sophisticated wedge sneaker is a great compliment to leather leggings.  Grab a designer pair in black for an easily accessible casual look.
  • Keep accessories fun.  A cool compliment to the designer wedge sneakers are accessories with “wordplay”.  Think of a beanie or jewelry with wording that expresses your style or personality.


6. Midi Leather Skirt + Blouse

Look of Leather 6

Think of the midi skirt as the one your mother used to wear.  This ladylike classic hits around shin length and is the perfect combination of sophisticated, ladylike, and sexy.

For the skirt:

  • Don’t be afraid of color.  Colored leather for fall is a chic way to add leather pieces to your wardrobe.  Navy, coffee, camel, and plum are excellent color choices for a midi leather skirt because it will look haute for many seasons to come.  These colors also coordinate well with lighter and darker tones.
  • Don’t be afraid of detail.  Think “femme fatale” and go for details that really emphasize a small waist or gorgeous gams.  Think of a bow accent on the waist or a killer split in the back that shows off beautiful legs.  Just keep it ladylike and don’t go too extreme.
  • Ensure proper fit.  Nobody looks good in a skirt that makes them look like a stuffed sausage!  Conversely, no woman looks good in a skirt that looks like she can hula hoop in it. This is especially important when buying a leather skirt as anything that’s wrong with fit will be magnified even more in this material.

For the blouse:

  • Don’t be afraid of details.  I’m a huge fan of bow collars and embellished necklines on blouses.  This is a wonderful accent when paired with a leather skirt.  It helps with proportion and silhouette.
  • Silk is the best choice.  Actually any silky or lightweight fabric is a nice contrast and compliment to a midi leather skirt.  Go for silk, satin, or charmeuse that lends a soft touch and polished finish.
  • Contrast the colors.  Since your leather midi skirt is a dark color for fall, choose a lighter color as a contrast.  This lends more femininity and “softness” to the look as well.  A shirt in a matching shade can look too intimidating with the skirt.

Finishing touches:

  • Pump it up.  Go for high heels with this look.  Make sure you’re comfortable, but this look works best with sky high stilettos that add to the blend of femininity and femme fatale being captured.
  • Let your bag make a statement.  No fashonistas wardrobe is complete without a statement bag for every season!  To keep it classic an easy tip is to stick with colors you’ll wear most of the season.
    • For instance a statement bag in patchwork black, grey and navy is versatile yet fabulous and will go with many looks throughout the fall/winter seasons if you have a lot of black, grey and navy clothes in your closet.
  • Glam it up.  In this case I’m talking about pattern, print and contrast. Don’t go crazy with it but adding a bit of detail in subtle ways (as in a shirt with detail) can really pull together this look.


7. Pastel Leather

Look of Leather 7

When you think of leather you think of tough and edgy, which is usually the case.  However to really make a statement picking pieces in a pastel leather not only makes leather easier to add to your fall wardrobe, but it also makes it versatile enough to add to your spring and summer wardrobe as well!

For the pastel leather:

  • Accessories are best.  Accessories such as handbags, bracelets, belts, and hair accessories are the best investment when it comes to choosing pieces in pastel leather.  They can be added to all different types of looks without being overpowering.
  • Think footwear.  A few pairs of shoes in pastel leather is a must for a fashionista on the go.  Ballet flats or sleek pumps are your most wearable options.
  • Rouge, blanc and bleu.  Blush, pearl, and baby blue are the pastel colors that will give you the most wear.  Light green, lilac, and light yellow are beautiful pastel colors but won’t give you as many style options and don’t pair as well with darker colors.


8. Fringe Leather Boots + Dark Denim Jeans

Look of Leather 8

If your style is bohemian, hippie, disco-inspired, or L.A. in the 1980’s fringe is likely your friend:-)  However even if none of these describe your personal style, adding fringe for fall adds definite interest to your look.

For the boots:

  • Keep the color dark.  Black is the best choice here but a dark brown will also work well. Remember, the fringe is already the accent so you don’t need to pick an exotic color.  Also you want to be able to wear these boots next fall as well!
  • Keep the heel high.  Whether you like skinny stiletto heels or chunkier Cuban heels, go for the maximum height you’re comfortable walking in.  I advise this because a fringe boot that is too low or flat will give you the look of a moccasin and, unless your going for a tribal inspired theme, will take your outfit in the wrong direction.
  • Make sure the boots are comfortable.  With any footwear comfort and proper fit are key. You should be able to comfortably wear and walk in your fringe leather boots for at least two hours.  If you can’t you may want to size up or pick a different boot.

For the jeans:

  • Choose jeans that flatter your figure.  If skinny jeans don’t work for you, then choose the style that does.  Bootcut is universally flattering.
  • Wash before wearing.  I advise this for any jeans but especially dark and black rinses.  Turn your jeans inside out and run through the rinse cycle with a tablespoon of white vinegar to rinse out any excess dye that would potentially rub off the first time you wear them.  Tumble dry jeans on low heat maybe once before letting them air dry.  I’ve found this to be the best way to preserve my jeans.
  • Highlight your assets.  Whether you have fabulous buns, long shapely legs, or a tiny waist even Jessica Rabbit would kill for, choose jeans that highlight your best assets.  The fit should flatter your height and silhouette.

Finishing touches:

  • Choose pieces that compliment your fringe leather boots.  I like pairing this with a floppy hat and cool shirt with details for a polished bohemian look.
  • Back to black.  Keeping this look all in black with only the dark denim jeans to break it up is perfectly ok.
  • Minimal accessories.  When you wear fringe boots, you want that to be the highlight of the look.  Therefore I suggest wearing little to no accessories to draw attention away from these fab boots!

Still need a few more hints on how to wear leather for the fall/winter season?

Check out some additional fashion advice I found on the web.

Now you’re more than ready to shop hot leather looks for your closet.

Don’t wait, shop the lookbook below for fun, fabulous and functional looks!

Leather Looks for Fall_KR Lookbook_9.24.14



photo credit: Idhren via photopin cc

6 Comments on Besides A Leather Jacket, How Can I Wear Leather This Fall?

  1. Kris
    at 4:24 pm (3 years ago)

    Great Post:) So much info in here…Love the idea of the leather pleated skirt…Sometimes I get nervous investing in items with pleats but that’s a great idea with the material so that the pleats will last over time:) VPI

      at 8:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Kris,

      Thanks for your comment! Pleated leather skirts in real leather can be/look too heavy so I suggest going with vegan leather as the best option.


      at 7:15 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Alice,

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, leather skirts (whether real or vegan) are really stylish additions to any woman’s wardrobe. I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to style it.


      at 3:08 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks Sera!

      Yes, I was definitely feeling the hippie bohemian vibe of that look as well:)



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