There's More Than One Way to Wear It
By Kimberly Boney
For the Love of Leather
By Kimberly Bonéy
There is a certain toughness that leather exudes – an undeniable, deliberate, no-questions-asked resolve that precedes anyone bold enough to wear it. And while this vibe is ever fashionable, it may give those of us who don’t walk the catwalk the feeling that we “just can’t pull it off.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Look a bit closer, dear friends. Actually, reach out and feel it. There is softness there in the structured, utilitarian, edginess that leather has. That softness is the very thing that makes leather all the more fabulous – it manages to strike the perfect balance between strength and comfort. Read along as we explore the beautiful dichotomy of L.E.A.T.H.E.R.
Let leather play with luxurious fabrics like lace, crisp white cotton and cashmere. The unexpected contrast between fabrics provides a refreshing balance, helping to extend the life of some of your summer favorites while adding in a touch of fall glamour. We love the pairing of a cropped leather motorcycle jacket (affectionately called a “moto”) with a long, lace maxi skirt. A leather knee-length skirt or a sleek pair of leather pants is professional enough for the office but packs a style punch when coupled with a button-down (or zippered) cotton shirt. Snuggle up in a cozy cashmere infinity scarf atop your leather jacket and your favorite pair of distressed jeans for a look that epitomizes comfy-chic.
Entertain the notion that leather and floral can be friends - because they can be. In fact, they are style besties. This winning combination takes the phrase “girls are made of sugar and spice” and adds to it “but they are so much more than that.” We love that leather staples like moto jackets, blazers, trenches, pencil skirts, pants, shorts or even a leather dress can give your floral pieces staying power as the temperature dwindles. And with florals at the top of the fashion A-list this season, the look couldn’t be more on time.
Adorn yourself in leather jewelry. We’re virtually certain you’ve seen fabulous and funky leather cuffs or studded wrap bracelets on “it” girls and guys everywhere. Layer these with metal bangles or leather bracelets in other colors to create a unique-to-you look. Have you considered trying to incorporate a leather choker into your wardrobe, but can’t quite muster the courage? Soften up the style a bit by using leather of a different color, or by incorporating crystals, natural stones, charms or other embellishments to offer a sweet balance to the edginess. Leather fringed earrings and necklaces are as eye-catching as they are touchable - running your fingers through these texturally-interesting jewelry pieces may just bring you comfort in moments of stress.
Transport your stuff in leather-lovin’ style. Leather bags are classic, not only because quality leather only gets better with age - like a fine wine, and if it’s well maintained, of course - but because the utilitarian style that leather bags are often made in is ever-fresh. Backpacks, fanny packs, cross-bodies, messenger bags and totes are ideal for travel and for everyday use because of their virtually hands-free functionality. Elegant clutch bags, edgy satchels with funky hardware and just about any other leather bag are sure to make a firm fashion statement for the office or a night on the town. And with so many colors and textures available where leather bags are concerned, the possibilities are endless. If you are looking to make a splurge purchase this season, a bag is the way to go.
High heeled or flat, thigh-high, calf-length or ankle-boot style, leather footwear is a worthy investment. While we tend to associate leather with a good pair of boots, it’s important not to limit your leather footwear to boots alone. High-heeled pumps and strappy open toes in leather are hot this season, as well. Try on a pair with a flourish of fringe to up the wow factor. You will pay a bit more for a shoe in a good, sturdy leather, but the incentive is knowing that the shoes will last you for years, instead of just a season or two. And quite frankly, honey, there is no point in buying them unless you love them enough to want to wear them for a lifetime.
Engage your admirers, starting from the top. Hats are another fashion element many of us aren’t comfortable wearing. Maybe we fear the “hat hair” that will likely ensue, or perhaps we just haven’t bolstered the confidence yet. But a cool hat in leather might just bring us out of our shells. Try a floppy sun hat, a fedora, a newsboy cap or a ‘90s inspired baseball cap in leather to re-imagine a basic ensemble. We love the idea of a hat in brown, grey or red leather, but classic black certainly has its long-standing charm. Coordinate the hat with a leather belt of a similar color to tie it all in perfectly.
Realize that if you aren’t into wearing leather based on personal preferences, there are plenty of vegan leather options – ones that do not use any animal products – on the market. While vegan leather will have a slightly different feel than classic leather, the cool factor remains. It’s also likely to be less expensive than its leather counterparts. You can enjoy the fashion benefits of vegan leather while staying true to your belief system. And what’s not to love about that?