Leather has been front and center for the past few seasons, and it looks like it’ll continue to be reinvented (in pale tones and light, soft textures) for the coming spring. So if you’re looking to build your leather wardrobe, what is the LBD equivalent?
If you’ve been browsing celebrity and blogger fashion sites, you know it’s a pair of black skinny leather leggings.
Perfect-fitting leather leggings instantly gives your outfit (say, an oversized soft tee, V-neck silk blouse, or a knit sweater paired with a thin-heeled shoe) a sleek, edgy, cosmopolitan look that says “look at me” and “I’m sexy and I know it”.
In other words, wear it for a hot night out (a sophisticated event, not a trashy one; you definitely don’t want sloppy drunks spilling on your beloved pants on the dance floor), or to an event where you’ll be surrounded by other appropriately-appreciative fashionistas.
So if this sounds like your style, I have a fashion PSA for you!
I’ve spent the fall and winter season hunting for the perfect leather leggings or pants. I’ve scanned all of the e-tailers, from fast fashion to luxury, and have enjoyed seeing the sexy-with-attitude looks that fashion lovers have put together.
But what I often couldn’t find was a description of how the leather material felt against the skin, how it fit to various body types, how supple and breathable it was, and how it shifted with natural movements. Would it feel restraining? Would it bunch up unseemingly in odd places? Would it lose its shape with repeated wearings?
I realized that the only way to answer my questions was to personally experience each pair of pants for myself. I quickly eliminated fast fashion and mid-level brands that often gave lackluster quality reviews, and focused on leather options from four well-known, established brands: Rag & Bone, J Brand, Vince, and Alive & Olivia.
Each brand has a different aesthetic, and this is reflected in the look and feel of the pants. Rag & Bone’s fit well, but the leather was on the thicker and stiffer side. J Brand’s (a blogger favorite – I’m also a huge fan of their jeans in general) had a surprisingly rugged, matte texture (I was looking for more polished and sleek), was hard to put on, and felt restrictive and uncomfortable – not so elastic. Vince’s was more along the soft, thinner fabric that I prefer, but the length was meant for a taller person, I would have had to significantly hem it to fit my petite (5’4″) frame.
Alice & Olivia is one of my preferred brands because of the feminine details, feel, and fit of their clothing. Their offerings range from statement chic to adorably precious, but are appropriate for a wide range of ages and environments (from work, to parties, to weekend wandering). Their leather legging was everything I was looking for. It’s made of a light fabric (which, even being thinner, is still plenty warm), is buttery smooth and soft, a good length (still some hemming required, but not much), and has just the right amount of elasticity to keep the fit looking and feeling perfect from the ankle to the waist, but sufficient to maintain the shape of the leggings over time.
Right now, Alice & Olivia is having a Winter Sale up to 70% off, including their black leather legging (in a subtle metallic, and looks to be available in all sizes). Based off of my trial-and-error fittings, this style gets my best recommendation. AND, at $360, regularly $900, it’s the best bargain price I’ve seen so far. There’s still plenty of cold weather to wear these pants in, and I expect that they’ll be a classic transitional piece in your wardrobe for a long time to come.
If you get (or have) a pair of leather leggings, please share your look with me, thanks! Would love to see~