Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to Wear Leather Pants Pt 1 - Tees and Knits

I have been wanting a pair of leather pants for the longest time, but was convinced that I would look ridiculous in them with my short and stumpy legs. I decided to take a plunge after noticing that with most outfits, I kept wishing I had leather pants to finish the look off. My criteria were:

  • not leather leggings (the lack of pockets were unflattering on me, and I wanted to be able to wear these with shirts/blouses)
  • not too shiny (which would be unflattering for my short & stumpy legs)
  • a good cut and quality (lined) - so that they wouldn't sag after a few wears.
  • length - I aimed for a length that would graze the ankle, so they would be more dressy, less 'biker', and also allowing shoes to be 'shown off'.

I recently took the plunge, and after searching high and low for the right pair, I went for the Current/Elliott 'The Ankle' black leather pants:

  • love that the leather is practically matte (and so soft and thin - so not bulky and uncomfortable)
  • I like that it was meant to graze the ankle (although with my 5'4" frame it may need to be shortened)
  • proper 5 pocket skinny jean fit - great cut
  • with a cotton blend lining for comfy fit and stretch

Now, besides the outfits I had in mind to wear with the, I got to thinking, how else will I wear them?

How to Wear Leather Pants:

Along with a good cut, fit and length of the pants, contrast in texture and/or colour is important when choosing what to wear with leather pants.

Since pants make up the bottom half of an outfit, the top half must have enough contrast for visual interest, contrasting textures with fabrics and materials like mohair, tweed, cotton, and wool (a shiny top with shiny bottom would only look tacky). Olivia Palermo is pro at this, often opting for fur vests and jackets to add texture, shape and layers to her outfit.

Contrasing colours add to an outfit (even though we often see lots of black being worn together - a white/coloured tee breaks up the look). Black leather pants worn with a black silk shirt doesn't usually look as good as with a white knit, because the texture and color don't provide enough contrast with the leather.

What to wear leather pants with:

Keep it casual up top to give it a more laid-back vibe, opting for flowy fits:

· Solid coloured silk and/or button shirts/blouses (even denim shirts, if you're keen), preferably in neutral or soft tones, to balance out the harshness of the pants (see Part 2 here)

· With a stylish pair of flat or low-heeled shoes

· Avoid shiny/sleeveless tops (more for evening)

· Denim button shirts

· Add contrasting texture with shearling or fur vests (see Part 3 here)

· Fitted or bulky sweater, or casual tee – for contrast in material

· Wear with a casual top and jacket (see Part 4 here)

· Throw a coat over it (see Part 5 here)

· Blazer, black or neutral-coloured (eg. Oversized or boyfriend blazer with a simple tee, or tuxedo jacket) – can be dressed down with flats, or glammed up with pumps, Emanuelle Alt shows us how striking black leather pants look with a white blazer. (see Part 6 here)

Example outfits:

· simple T-shirt, blazer and ballet flats (or low-heeled ankle boots, or pumps for a more polished look)

· Model-off-duty look: slouchy vintage T-shirt, and ankle boots (or sneakers)


Tees and Casual knits

Fitted knit if the leather pants are baggy

Because the original version of this post was too long and picture heavy, I decided to break up the pics into different posts, please click below for pics of leather pant outfits with:

Pt 2 - Shirts and blouses
Pt 3 - Fur and shearling
Pt 4 - Jackets
Pt 5 - Coats
Pt 6 - Blazers

1 comment: