There are garments that are tricky to pull off, and then there are “leather legs.” I’m talking about skinny leather pants, leather leggings, skinny jeans with a shiny coating (to look like leather), and faux leather pants or leggings. Let’s face it. It’s not a look for everybody…or is it?
As I keep an eye out for stylish people on the streets, I notice real women adopting this look – with varying degrees of success. I thought it would be helpful to figure out why this look works when it does or why it doesn’t – in case we decide to give it a whirl. Some of these ideas might even apply to those who might just stick with black skinny pants…for now.
So, here are 6 Do’s and 3 Don’ts I’ve come up with from recent street style watching:
wear your leather leggings with moto boots and jacket for an edgy, chic vibe. It does help to break up the leather with a long tunic or sweater like the one pictured below. Notice how easy it to coordinate with all-black!
wear your black leather leggings with sneakers. It’s very New York. However, you also might want to stick with (nearly) all-black while doing so.
wear black leather leggings (faux or real) with too many long, bulky layers if you are petite, and especially avoid combining them with light-colored sneakers. Not even Yeezy’s will save you!
if you are hankering to wear light-colored footwear, opt for a style with a pointy toe. These ankle boots offer a further advantage: they show off slender ankles. The high turtleneck sweater and long black vest also lengthen the vertical line/silhouette.
if you are not model-thin or extremely toned, wear stretchy faux leather leggings with a top reaching the crotch or somewhere above it. Remember that shiny fabrics – even black ones – are volumizing. A longer sweater or shirt work wonders to keep unflattering effects from ruining your look – one with a hem reaching at least the bottom of this coat.
wear black leather leggings with black leather over-the-knee boots, especially when the colors and textures of both materials match.
Even better when seams match – for leg-lengthening. An oversized coat with light-colored fur-lined collar is another good choice for this relatively tall woman; the contrast has a slimming effect on her legs.
wear leather leggings tucked into ankle boots of the same color. Even a slightly different shade can sometimes work.
wear them with ankle boots if the hem is not long enough to stay tucked in.
wear narrow-legged leather pants in a shade other than black, especially with a pair of high-heeled tall boots with a narrow toe. Extra points if they match (or bring out) your hair color.
I hope these Do’s and Don’ts are helpful to you. The leather leg look is risky – there is the potential for it to look ridiculous rather than chic. But when pulled off, it can be both delightfully sophisticated and edgy. It is no wonder I see it so much in New York!
Leather leggings were featured in Spring 2016 fashion week shows, and so, it seems that they be around for a while yet. I tried on a couple pairs of genuine leather ones I saw on sale this weekend, and although they didn’t quite fit correctly, I’m not giving up on the idea altogether. Do you think you might give them a try?
Psst! After publishing this post, I ended up finding the perfect pair of vegan leather leggings featured in this outfit post.