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Beauty

11 Ways to Style Leather Pants, Jackets, Skirts and More, According To a Pro Stylist

All the easy ways to incorporate the trending fabric into your wardrobe for less

When it comes to a fabric that is versatile, looks luxe and is flattering on everyone, leather ranks at the top of the list. And while the classic textile has been used to create clothing for decades, it’s made a huge resurgence in recent years. But if you haven’t worn leather in a while and are hesitant to try it, don’t fret! Gone are the days when leather was only on tight, form-fitting garments, as it’s now found on roomy wide leg pants and shirt-like jackets. Need more convincing? We turned to creative fashion designer and stylist Catherine Bibeau for all her tips on how to style leather pants and other leather items so you’re left looking and feeling your best. Read on for all of the reasons why you should add leather to your wardrobe.

The benefits of wearing leather

1. It’s versatile

For one, leather is extremely versatile. It can be dressed up or down, look edgy or feminine, come fitted or loose and is offered in a wide range of colors. For example, throwing on a leather trench can instantly elevate any ensemble, or opting a leather moto jacket can make a fancier dress look more casual.

A variety of different colored swatches of leather
Getty

2. It’s flattering

Leather is also very flattering because of its ability to hug curves in all the right places, showing off the figure. And it also adds texture and dimension to an ensemble. “It is a chic piece that adds shine to any outfit,” says Bibeau, which creates a more interesting ensemble.

3. It’s durable

Best of all, the fabric is typically very durable and can last you years. “Leather has historic durability and versatility,” attests Bibeau. “It became a classic piece to wear every day, even at work.” And even though some real leather pieces can seem pricey up front, it’s a good investment to consider because of the amount of wear you will get from the item. If you’re not willing to commit to real leather, faux leather options run the gamut and are equally as durable as the real thing.

What to wear with leather

Leather pairs well with many different fabrics and materials, but whatever you pair it with, Bibeau says to make sure it’s something chic. “A nice pair of pants, a nice skirt or a dress,” all work great with leather items, she says.

For a more casual outfit, try mixing denim with leather. A short leather moto jacket paired with your favorite pair of high-rise jeans balances the body and highlights your best assets. Or, take a colored pair of leather pants and throw on a jean jacket as the finishing touch. The contrast of fabrics make it visually interesting to the eye and play off each other perfectly.

No matter what you decide to wear with leather, it’s best to steer clear of anything too bulky or thick, says Bibeau. “Always keep the under layer simple and keep the accent on the beauty of the jacket [or other leather item] itself,” she says. This will ensure the leather garment “fits like a glove.” One example of this is how “leather pairs well with a silk blouse or a flowing silk dress as it gives it structure, while thicker materials under your leather jacket only creates a puffy and unflattering look.”

Lastly, Bibeau advises letting the leather piece have its moment and be the main star of the show. “The best advice is to go simple with leather and keep the focus of your outfit on the beauty of what leather brings on its own.”

How to style leather pants, jackets and more

Keep scrolling to get some inspiration from celebrities 40 and older who showcase how easy it can be to pull off leather. From leather pants to jackets, skirts and shorts — there’s a piece for everyone. And best of all, we found similar styles to shop that won’t break the bank.

1. How to style black leather pants

 Andie Macdowell wearing high-waisted leather pants
Andie MacDowell, 65Getty

We all love a tried-and-true pair of black pants like Andie MacDowell is rocking above. A style that flatters all body types? A high-waisted pair with a relaxed or “mom” fit (think mom jeans). This design is looser through the hips and thighs but fitted in the waist, showcasing an hourglass shape. And pleats along the front waistline add extra flair and flatter. And wearing with a striped button down and white heels brightens up the look while still appearing polished.

black leather pants with pink striped button down

Shop the look:

Pink and white striped button down: Buy from Express, $17.45

Black high waisted leather pants: Buy from ella james, $60

White pumps: Buy from Amazon, $49.99

2. How to style brown leather pants

Tatyana Ali in brown leather outfit
Tatyana Ali, 45Roger Wong/INSTARimages

Black leather not for you? Not to fear, brown leather is here! If you find you look best in the warmer hue, there are plenty of brown leather pants on the market to choose from. Brown is great for a daytime look, as it typically looks less dressy than black. Just take inspiration from Tatyana Ali (above) who paired her brown leather pants with a tan sweater vest and simple white button down for an effortlessly chic ensemble.

brown leather pants with tan vest

Shop the look:

Light tan sweater vest: Buy from Nordstrom, $38.35

Cropped camel leather pants: Buy from Saks Fifth Avenue, $69.99

White button down shirt: Buy from Land’s End, $59.96

3. How to style skinny leather pants

Christie Brinkley in leather leggings
Christie Brinkley, 70Getty

You can never go wrong with wearing various shades of one color, and this green outfit, as seen on Christie Brinkley above, proves just that. A pair of skinny leather pants in a darker green hue help carve out curves in an instant. And to balance out form-fitting leather pants, choose a top with a looser fit and tuck it into the pants. What’s more, a pair of neutral tan booties in a suede fabric keeps the eye scanning vertically to elongate the body.

green leather pants with green top

Shop the look:

Chartreuse long sleeve top: Buy from Garnet Hill, $44

Dark green leather pants: Buy from Chico’s, $24.98

Tan suede booties: Buy from Amazon, $55.99

4. How to style textured leather pants

Celine Dion wearing leather pants and tweed blazer
Celine Dion, 55Getty

If you really want to play with different textures, try out leather pants that have an embossed animal print, like alligator or snake skin. Celine Dion (above) is proof at how the added texture on pants that have a slight flare at the ends create more interest to the look than typical black leather pants. And keeping the rest of the look in coordinating colors with a black turtleneck and black and gold tweed jacket

leather pants and tweed jacket

Shop the look:

Brown and black tweed jacket: Buy from Saks Off Fifth, $59.99

Black alligator print leather pants: Buy from Aritzia, $49.99

Black turtleneck long sleeve: Buy from Amazon, $17.99

5. How to style leather pants with a blouse

Katie Holmes posing in white shirt
Katie Holmes, 45Michael Simon/Startraks Photo/Instar Images

As Bibeau mentioned previously, leather pants are a great option to wear for work. For a safe bet, choose a pair that isn’t super form-fitting (more straight leg or wide leg) and add a simple blouse and plain black pumps a la Katie Holmes above. Not only is this a work-appropriate ensemble, but it’s also trendy and looks more stunning than standard.

brown leather pants with white frilly blouse

Shop the look:

White frilly blouse: Buy from Lulus, $24.50

Burnt orange leather pants: Buy from Selfie Leslie, $69.99

Black heels: Buy from Amazon, $19.21

6. How to style a leather tie jacket

Kylie Minogue in green leather coat
Kylie Minogue, 55Getty

A tie-belt leather jacket not only keeps you warm all day as a stylish extra layer, but the belt creates shape to the figure. This is a great way to ensure the leather topper doesn’t look boxy. And opting for one in a gorgeous green shade, like Kylie Minogue has on above, it pops against an all black outfit.

green tie belt leather jacket with black dress

Shop the look:

Black sheath dress: Buy from Express, $52.80

Green Faux Leather Tie Jacket: Buy from Nordstrom Rack, $34.97

Black shaping sheer tights: Buy from Spanx, $28

7. How to style a leather moto jacket

Mary J. Blige in all red leather
Mary J. Blige, 53OS1

One of the most populars ways to wear leather, aside from leather pants, is in a moto jacket varaition. The edgy piece is a staple item to add to your wardrobe, as it goes with essentially anything. It works well to dress down a nice dress, elevate a simple tee and jeans or take a look from day to night instantly. These jackets also come in a variety of colors, like the widely-loved burgundy shade as seen on Mary J. Blige above. And matching the jacket to a dress and bag not only creates a cohesive look but also makes the body appear instantly more statuesque.

all burgundy leather outfit

Shop the look:

Burgundy midi dress: Buy from Artizia, $50.99

Burgundy leather moto jacket: Buy from Saks Off Fifth, $59.99

Brown and burgundy handbag: Buy from Michael Kors, $179

8. How to style leather and denim

Garcelle Beauvais in leather yellow jacket with jeans
Garcelle Beauvais, 57Getty

Like mentioned earlier, Bibeau loves the look of a good pair of jeans with leather. The contrast of fabrics is ultra-flattering to the eye, and truly so versatile. Take your favorite jeans and add a belted leather shacket (we love the pale yellow hue Garcelle Beauvais has on above!), and you have a chic look in seconds. Finish it off with a pair of fun and spunky heels, like these zebra print heels below.

pale yellow shacket with straight leg jeans and zebra print heels

Straight leg jeans: Buy from Zara, $45.90

Pale yellow leather shacket: Buy from NA-KD, $48.96

Zebra print heels: Buy from Amazon, $53.40

9. How to style a leather skirt

Courtney Cox in blue leather outfit
Courteney Cox, 59Getty

The fun doesn’t stop at pants and jackets! Leather skirts and dresses are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to flatter essentially everyone. Leather gives a chic twist to a classic dress or skirt style, and is especially great for a nighttime look, such as a happy hour or girl’s night out. And a monochromatic look, like Courteney Cox is wearing above, with a coordinating turtleneck is slimming while dark slingback heels visually stretch the frame for a tall and trim silhouette over all.

Related: 7 Midi Skirt Outfits For Every Occasion From Errand-Running to Cocktail-Sipping

blue leather outfit

Shop the look:

Blue long sleeve turtleneck: Buy from Amazon, $15.99

Blue leather midi skirt: Buy from Amazon, $36.99

Black slingback kitten heels: Buy from DSW, $59.99

10. How to style red leather

Priyanka Chopra red leather outfit
Priyanka Chopra Jonas, 41North Woods / BACKGRID

Aside from black, red is up there as one of the most popular colors to wear when sporting leather. Because leather is typically seen as more “edgy” or “bold,” it makes sense that it’s often found in an edgy and bold color! Red is a classic shade that complements many skin tones and adds a bit of fiery flair to your ensemble. To make a big statement, take a nod from Priyanka Chopra Jonas, shown above, who wore an all-red look with a pair of snakeskin heels for added pizzazz.

red leather midi skirt with red blouse and snake print heels

Shop the look:

Red wrap blouse: Buy from Amazon, $46.99

Red leather midi skirt: Buy from Amazon, $29.99

Snake skin print slingback kitten heels: Buy from Kohl’s, $62.99

11. How to style leather shorts

Jennifer Aniston wearing leather romper
Jennifer Aniston, 55Getty

Jennifer Aniston as shown above, looks gorgeous in this leather mini dress. But if you prefer a bit more coverage, this look could also easily be recreated with high-rise leather shorts and a matching leather top. This is a great option for the warmer months when going out for dinner and drinks or even a concert. It will keep you cool and show off a tasteful amount of skin. To finish the look off, slip on a pair of embellished black heels.

black leather shorts with black leather top

Shop the look:

Black high-waisted faux leather shorts: Buy from Amazon, $19.99

High-neck faux leather top: Buy from Micas, $22

Black rhinestone studded heels: Buy from Amazon, $34.99


For more style inspiration, click through these stories:

Peach Fuzz Is the Color of the Year: 8 Easy Ways to Incorporate It Into Your Daily Style

Celebrity Stylist Shares the Best Outfits With Boots That Work for Any Occasion

The Most Figure-Flattering Ways to Style Flare Jeans for Any Occasion

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