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Leather, and especially faux leather pieces, are trending in fashion this winter. Usually limited to outerwear with jackets and coats, it’s showing up this season in the form of blazers, skirts, tops, dresses, pants and fun accessories as well. Besides the traditional colors of black and brown, brands are also showing more color — most of them neutral, which can be easily added to your current wardrobe.

Before we get into the styling suggestions, here are a few important facts and pointers to keep in mind when it comes to purchasing, styling and caring for leather and faux leather pieces:

  1. Genuine leather is from an animal. It is long-lasting, breathable and resistant, and it does not age.
  2. Faux leather is made of plastic materials, and vegan leather is made with, among other things, algae and cork. These are less pricey alternatives to real leather, but they will age over time.
  3. Waxed leather is another affordable alternative. The waxed coating mimics the texture and sheen of the real thing.
  4. Real leather needs to be spot-cleaned with warm water and dish soap or taken to a reputable cleaner. Faux, vegan and waxed leather can be easily washed, but you must follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  5. Leather goes so well with other textures like velvet, suede and silk. But, save leather on leather for power dressing!

Now, let’s get to styling. Here are some leather and faux leather pieces to show how they can be styled in different ways, both casual and dressy. Our models are Kristen Dupay and Leslie Moore, both of whom are makeup artists at The Cosmetic Market. Take a peek, and then shop for similar looks at your local retailers.

How to Style Leather & Faux Leather This Season

The Leather Skirt

Look #1: This A-line leather skirt fans in all the right places. A silk blouse and heels and simple hoop earrings keep it dressy and very put together for events and dinners.

How to Style Leather: leather skirt

From Gus Mayer, with locations in Nashville and Birmingham: Lafayette 148 black and white swirl silk blouse, Jason Wu pleated leather skirt

Look #2: The chunky sweater is very on-trend as well and just needs to be half-tucked for a slim waistline. Add a pair of dressy black booties for a more elevated casual outfit or the wildly popular combat boots for a little edge. A small bag is a great accessory for a longer skirt.

How to Style Leather: leather skirt and cashmere top

From Gus Mayer: Lafayette 148 oatmeal chunky cashmere sweater with fur cuffs, Jason Wu pleated leather skirt, brown snakeskin bag, gunmetal and gold earrings by Alexis Bittar | Booties are model’s own.

Waxed Jeans or Leggings

Waxed jeans and leggings are very on-trend right now in basic black and denim plus so many other colors. They dress up and refresh an outfit while keeping it casually cool. Plus they are available at all price points.

Look #1: For a more dressy outfit, try the waxed jeans with a longer silk blouse in a rich, warm color — I love the jewel tones popping up this winter. For footwear, either a dressy bootie or heel will work.

How to Style Leather: waxed leggings and long blouse

From Oak Hall, with locations in Nashville and Memphis: Vince silk blouse, Rag & Bone black leather crossbody | From Gus Mayer: gunmetal and gold earrings by Alexis Bittar | Spanx black waxed leggings are model’s own.

Look #2: For a more casual look, grab a pair of waxed jeans or leggings and add a longer jacket with a necklace or earrings to add interest. Wear a simple turtleneck or fitted crewneck shirt underneath.

How to Style Leather: long coat and necklace

From Oak Hall: Lafayette 148 ashwood suede fringed coat, L’Agence black waxed jeans, diamond butterfly pendant with long multi-colored precious stone necklace

The Leather Moto Jacket

A leather moto jacket can be worn in three out of four seasons. It can be dressed up or down, and it can be paired with most anything in your closet. Here are two options that showcase this classic item’s versatility.

Look #1: A classic black leather moto jacket is timeless, and it’s versatile, too. Wear it with blue jeans on the weekend, as an added fashion statement with a dress, or with black pants for a chic look. The black felt fedora adds a modern look to finish off this look.

How to Style Leather: leather jacket and fedora

From Oak Hall: Black moto jacket, rust sleeveless turtleneck shell, Rag & Bone black fedora

Look #2: Here, a blush leather moto jacket offers a stylish and still-versatile alternative to the black moto jacket. For an everyday or weekend look, this one works well with jeans and a top. When it’s cold, make that top a sweater. If a sweater is too bulky, and you won’t be outside too long, the jacket can be your best accessory — just throw it over your shoulders and go. Add sneakers, booties or a pom-pom hat to finish it off.

How to Style Leather: sweater, booties and beanie

From Oak Hall: Dusty pink leather jacket, Eleventy rose cashmere sweater, Barbour Roseberry Fairisle beanie, Citizens dark jeans | Dolce Vita snakeskin booties are model’s own.

Look #3: Add the jacket to a simple black dress for a dressier look, and cinch the dress at the waist for a more flattering silhouette. A short, midi, or maxi dress will work well with a fitted jacket. Heels, booties or tall boots will take this look to the next level.

How to Style Leather: jacket over black dress

From Oak Hall: Brochu Walker silk dress, dusty rose leather jacket

Look #4: For a more traditional look, add a beautiful scarf — either a heavier one around the jacket or a light silk one wrapped around the neck inside the jacket. The scarf looks great hanging long so it’s not too bulky at the collar. This tartan plaid shows a preppy side too!

How to Style Leather: with a scarf

From Oak Hall: Brochu Walker silk dress, dusty rose leather jacket, Barbour tartan plaid scarf

The Leather Shacket

The “shacket” is a top trend right now. This oversized shirt/jacket hybrid is incredibly versatile, and a leather shacket adds an instant level of sophistication and edge.

Look #1: Leather has always been the go-to for comfortable and warm outerwear. Besides being a beautiful black leather blouse, this top can also be worn as a light jacket, left open with a fitted top underneath. Try this look with distressed or regular denim for a relaxed look, or wear the shirt buttoned up for a more elevated, put-together look. A crossbody bag completes the casual vibe, and you can even try the leather gloves as your accessory.

How to Style Leather: the leather shacket

From Gus Mayer: Lafayette 148 leather blouse, leather crossbody with gold strap option as well

How to Style Leather: glove accessory

From Gus Mayer: Agnelle alpaca star leather glove

Leather and faux leather are easy to find and ‘on trend’ this season. Now that most of our current dressing is geared toward homelife, adding a leather piece can elevate an outfit for the holidays and into 2021 when we will hope to have lots to celebrate!

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BEHIND THE SCENES & SB NOTES

This photoshoot was conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines. Everyone involved stayed masked up for safety except when being photographed, at which point, everyone was more than 6 feet apart.

RESOURCES

Behind the scenes at the How to Style Leather shoot

Here’s Cynthia making some last-minute adjustments to Leslie’s look and wearing a fabulous Rebecca Taylor navy vegan leather puffed-sleeve top from Oak Hall

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