Difficult Trends: Leather

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Once upon a time leather was seen as a material best left to bike gangs and dominatrices, recently it’s been making quite the comeback on the catwalk and high street alike.

Leather can add a stylish edge to a look that few other materials can achieve. With that in mind it is also very easy to get it horribly wrong. Lucky for you we are addressing the issue so you don’t need to stare longingly at all of that shiny, new car scented goodness from afar this Autumn, you can wear it with confidence. First though I feel that I have to debunk some of the frequently used excuses for not donning leather:

  1. “It’s uncomfortable!” – Au contraire: Most leathers used for garments are treated so they are soft and supple, but you should always try on leather pieces as the quality and cut really do make them more wearable and durable. Manufacturers bear in mind that you will be sitting, standing and possibly dancing, should the mood take you, and with that in mind they use lightweight varieties with a little more give in them than the leather on your dad’s old biker jacket.
  2. “But I’m not thin enough!” – You do not need to be thin to incorporate a bit of leather into your look! If you would wear a pencil skirt in satin or scuba, you can wear one in leather and contrary to popular belief it is actually very flattering on curves (take it from me!).
  3. “What will I wear it with?!” – This is the one that I feel is the most justified. And it’s a hard question because it really does depend on what the item in question takes the form of. If you are wearing a standard leather pencil skirt then a white shirt or silk vest paired with stilettos can look very clean cut and sophisticated. If the piece is a leather boxy top then you could pair it with a bright floral midi skirt, ankle socks and platforms for a quirkier look. It really is very relative to the piece.

If you are still confused about what best to pair your leather statement piece with then here are a few more pointers on the best ways to wear the leather look.

STATEMENT – Head to toe leather in the form of suits isn’t something you should dabble with unless you enjoy looking like a 70s pimp or a 90s RnB singer. A leather two piece can work wonders if done correctly, ideally it should be the same colour or a complimentary colour. There needs to be something to break this look up such as a belt or even a flash of skin if you so desire. If you’re not brave enough to don a double leather look then rest assured that you will be every bit the fashionista if you include one punchy statement leather piece into an otherwise understated outfit. Everybody’s favourite high street store, Topshop, has some lovely casual leather in their Motocross trend collection this season while Oasis never fail to disappoint with classy, ladylike pieces for the more demure among us.

COLOUR – Don’t be afraid to experiment with coloured leather. This look has graced the catwalks this season and is a striking way to rock the leather trend in a way that defies the notion that leather must be black and worn as a part of the gothic trend. It can in fact be very pretty and feminine and doesn’t have to signify sex appeal or tough girl status. Where colour is king, cut is most certainly queen. When the emphasis is all on the colour, steer clear of detailing or embellishments and focus your attention to the cut of the garment because that’s where it really gets interesting. It shows a certain sophistication in regard to fashion when you look past the more obvious detail and appreciate the shapes that the garment creates. Your figure will thank you for it. River Island are bringing you reds and mustards while Warehouse are offering you pinks and nudes if you feel like creating a real contrast.

PANELLING – If a full leather piece is too much for you, never fear. There are some really stylish leather panelling and detail options at your disposal this season. It’s a very edgy way to toughen up an otherwise wishy washy cut. You can still remain very demure and pretty while showing the world that you aren’t scared to take a risk, albeit a tiny sleeve sized risk. Sleeves, collars and side panelling are your prime spots for a flash of PU or leather to make a surprise appearance, this is best left to dresses or jackets though. Budget brand newcomers, Pretty Little Thing, have some great on trend leather sleeve and collar detail on show right now. If you’re happy to splurge a little bit then French Connection is the place for you, as well as featuring some braver full leather styles they have some really subtle leather seams and panels.

And finally, for all of the vegans and animal lovers out there: you don’t need to miss out on this trend because most brands now offer plastic leather options. Free People and American Apparel frequently feature vegan friendly leather looks that won’t weigh down on your conscience.

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