Are you too old for leather? That’s the only question that matters when it comes to autumn and leather time, and there’s no point denying it’s still out there — even now.
Should you wear a leather biker jacket if your 21-year-old daughter has one? Are leather trousers ever a good idea? Is a leather skirt a bit ’Allo, ’Allo!? The quick answer is, that depends, but is this the season to look again at the options? Definitely. Not for a long time have there been so many styles out there, not to mention fake leather that feels real.
So, put the image of black biker jackets to one side (they’re not forbidden but, in my opinion, you can do a lot better); forget about a leather coat (lovely, but I’m not convinced it’s the item that’s going to give you value for wear right now); and give the culottes a swerve (the least useful item in any wardrobe). Then decide that, if you’re going to go there, you will avoid anything that looks like vinyl, which means spending a bit more.
Now take a deep breath — remember, leather never really goes out of style — and give these a chance…
British style expert Shane Watson, took inspiration from Katie Holmes (pictured) for embracing the autumnal trend for leather
- TROUSERS. Looking about as grown up now as they’re ever going to get. We’re talking about trousers Theresa May could do business with; trousers that are no longer skinny and rock ’n’ roll, but looser, higher-waisted, sleeker and more uptown girl.
This time, they’re intended to be worn to the office, with a crisp shirt and blazer, then out to cocktails (if that’s still happening), or for that other life we’re leading — WFH (work from home) and SCS (smart casual sometimes) — in which case they’re elasticated in the waist and the latest version of luxury joggers.
This year’s leather trousers are not edgy, they’re relaxed, and the advantage of them, apart from the way they feel against the skin (heaven, not hot, because these days they’re light), is that textural gear shift you get with leather.
Next to a soft sweater or with a blazer over a tucked-in top, leather is the ingredient that turns your look up a notch, and makes it more interesting.
Cos does a good, straight-legged, cropped-style (£250, cosstores.com) — cropped trousers somehow feel less serious and show off your boots. Alternatively, there’s the long and wide in the leg version (£350, cosstores.com).
LEATHER : the new rules
- Think slouchy, not skin-tight.
- Try a belted jacket, not a biker.
- Spend what you can —leather is a keeper.
- Go for a cropped trouser with boots.
And if you want to go the jogger route, then Me+Em’s leather track pant (£595, me andem.com) is your best bet.
- A SHIRT. High up on the wanted, if not needed, list this time last year, and still going strong, the leather shirt could be the fillip you need. Wear it over dark, cropped trousers with leather boots, or layered like a jacket over a denim shirt. Massimo Dutti does the best (£249, massimodutti.com).
- A SKIRT. Once shorthand for sexy dressing in a camp sort of way, the leather skirt —unlined, A-line and below the knee — has now taken on a kind of easy, swaggery style. The idea is you wear it not with a low, silk blouse and stilettos, but with a sweater or high-neck shirt and boots.
To ring the changes, go for something other than black with slanted pockets, so you can slouch around in it. Cos does one in khaki or mole grey (£250, cosstores.com).
- A JACKET. If you haven’t already got one, now is not the time to try a biker. There are so many other more elegant styles. Fashionistas will be giving blazers a go; personally, I feel like a hitman in that sort of leather jacket but, if you like them, Uterque does a good one (£255, uterque.com).
Otherwise, the way to go is a tab-collared jacket — a little biker, but without all the zips and whistles, and much more feminine. Try Massimo Dutti’s (£249, massimodutti.com).
I personally love a safari-style — four pockets and belted, like Mango’s (£149.99, mango.com) — not least because that’s the Gucci look now, and it’s chic over a white shirt and jeans.
- A SHIRT DRESS. It sounds too much but, if you like a denim shirt dress, the difference is minimal. I wouldn’t recommend anything close-fitted, but a shirt dress such as Cos’s (£290, cosstores.com) can look good, especially if worn half-buttoned over trousers.