Go from Summer to Fall with Chic Leather
Who says switching from your summer wardrobe to fall pieces has to be tricky? For the upcoming cool months, stylists say it’s all about rocking the hottest look in fashion.
Sleek leather dresses, curve-hugging skirts and tough bomber jackets have been popping up among celebrities and upcoming couture collections. While this classic skin is perfect for staying warm during sudden chilly weather, it’s actually a timeless look that has no plans of losing steam.
READ: Jennifer Aniston's Leather Looks
“Leather is not a trend, it’s a staple,” explains Jen Rade, celebrity stylist and designer of Edge by Jen Rade for QVC. “Leather is so versatile, especially now with designers using all weights and colors, as well as adding details, like zippers, buckles, and every shade imaginable. Depending how it’s styled, leather can easily go from tough and edgy to feminine and soft.”
“Leather has been on the runways for a few seasons prior, including spring 2013, which showcased warm weather leathers,” adds celebrity stylist Marcus Stewart. “Now that the climate is shifting, people are finding this seemingly old idea of leather much more approachable.”
Want to channel your inner rebel and enhance your personal style? We asked several fashion experts to weigh in on their major do’s and don’ts for rocking leather in autumn, and how you can fall (no pun intended) for this new seasonal must-have:
Customize Your Leather
Unlike other materials, leather is one you should always get in your correct size. “Leather pieces will stretch out a bit, but the stuffed-in look is never the way to go,” says image consultant and personal stylist Lindsay Weiner. However, for the best fit to complement your shape, Weiner advises to take your attire to a tailor who specializes in altering leather. “It’s a little more expensive, but well worth it, as a perfectly fitting garment is the best way to flatter your figure,” she says.
Stylists agree that a well-tailored classic motorcycle jacket is a universally flattering piece that’s perfect for cool seasons, like fall and spring, giving you more bang for your buck. “During the springtime you can wear this rock star jacket with a t-shirt and jeans, yet during the fall months pair it with a knit frock, which will keep you warm while being on trend,” says Stewart. To give your cocktail dress some much-needed edge for a night out, consider pairing it with this must-have.
This skin is meant to stand out on its own and should never be mixed with other leather staples in your wardrobe. “Don't do it,” stresses red carpet stylist Colin Megaro. “If you are going for this look, please make sure to wear one piece at a time.” For a look that’s office appropriate and luxe enough for the evening, opt for a black pencil skirt, a silk blouse, and pumps.
Basic black will never go out of style, but for those special occasions, that noir hue can be, well, too basic. This fall season offers a variety of bold colors to choose from in leather skirts and dresses. Don’t be afraid to welcome the months of autumn with bold, fiery shades, such as fuchsia, cobalt blue or coral, among others.
When it comes to rocking leather in style, Arlene Goldstein, vice president of trend merchandising at Belk, insists it’s difficult not to pull it off because there are so few rules to break. “Add one or two really special leather items to your existing wardrobe,” she says. “Mix classy with edgy, daytime with dressy. Stir things up.” Her favorite look? A leather motorcycle with an elegant dress.
New to Leather
If you’re trying this trend, Rain Blanken, the guide to DIY fashion at About.com, suggests starting slowly to appear effortlessly chic. “If you’re new to leather, you can still enjoy this trend without falling too far out of your comfort zone,” says Blanken. “Wear a short leather skirt with a pair of leggings.” Feeling hesitant? Keep it simple with a new pair of knee-length leather boots with a heel to elongate the legs or a larger leather bag in a jewel hue. “You don’t need to feel like you have to transform into Catwoman to get in on the fun,” she states.
It's OK to Be Fake
"Don’t be afraid of the fake stuff,” says Weiner. “If you’re not comfortable with the idea of wearing leather, go with faux. There are a variety of vegan options out there that look, feel and wear like the real thing.”
Stewart agrees this popular skin can be pricey, which is why he highly recommends visiting a vintage shop for leather goods. “Most vintage shops have racks of pre-owned leather jackets and accessories in top shape,” he explains. “This is great for getting a comfortable fit and a cool lived-in look without having to wear the item for months before it breaks in.” Another perk? Chances are it will be more affordable than investing in a brand-new piece.
Stylist Ali Levine believes leather is now more popular than ever among Hollywood stars because it easily allows anyone to get creative on the red carpet with luxurious accessories that can be worn day or night. “Accessorizing is key,” says Levine. “Adorn your outfit with statement jewelry.” For autumn, she recommends pairing a leather skirt or shorts with a sweater and pumps, as well as an animal print shirt and booties. Depending on how bright your top is, add your favorite jewels of choice for depth.
Be Office Friendly
While a leather jacket with skinny jeans and a crisp white tee is universally flattering, make sure to amp up your personal style while remaining conservative for the office. “Ladies, don’t be afraid to wear a knee-length leather dress to the office,” says Stewart. “It’s all about ensuring that the length is proper and the arms are covered. Try pairing a leather dress with a beautiful cardigan or blazer for a more appropriate work look. After-hours, toss the cardigan and show those great arms.”