Leather Looks for Every Body Type

Make this rock 'n' roll trend work for you.
- Erin Donnelly, BettyConfidential.com

Resistance is futile. Previously thought of as the domain of biker babes and S&M enthusiasts, leather is finding its way into the closets of straitlaced style stars like (insert celeb name)or Demi Moore. New cuts, colors, and washes are helping this tough and edgy trend hit the mainstream, giving a classic pencil skirt or blazer a dash of subversive cool. Break out your inner bad girl with these leather looks-and remember to pair them with tamer separates in different textures. Think "haute mama," not "Harley Convention," okay?

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Going overboard in head-to-toe leather may win you a callback for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo auditions, but they'll be undermined by your petite, girlish frame. Instead, stick with one fitted leather garment, preferably paired with a matching top or pant to maintain an elongating monochromatic look. Leather shorts or minis-provided they're cut high-are another option and will open up the legs, but be sure to pair them with heels rather than boots. Mila Kunis wore a leather skirt to one of the premieres of Black Swan.

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Slip on these Lindsay Lohan-designed black leather skinnies. Wearing them with heels and a black top will help visually elongate the body. 6126 Hail pants ($132, 6126bylindsaylohan.com)

Swap your go-to cardigan with this cropped leather blazer. Available in brown or black, it's great for toughening up a girlish floral blouse or sundress. Victoria's Secret cropped leather blazer ($199, victoriassecret.com)

A feminine, slightly flared cut gives this halter-neck dress a surprisingly sweet kick. Resist the urge to pair it with dominatrix-esque knee-high leather boots and stick to suede booties or pumps instead. Juicy Couture ruffle-back leather dress ($498, neimanmarcus.com)


Fit is a huge factor when going the leather route. Bomber jackets can look bulky if you're heavy around the waist, while leather pants are tricky to pull off (literally and figuratively) if you're not a supermodel. Instead, opt for non-traditional pieces (a blazer, dress, or skirt) in a more comfortable and forgiving supple wash. Look for garments that are sleek but not stiff, tasteful, and form-fitting but not skintight. Kimora Lee Simmons bustier dress is sexy, but not too tight.

Available in eight colors, this sleek blazer offers a nice tailored fit. Wear it over anything from a dressy sheath to a flirty ruffled blouse and jeans. Newport News leather boyfriend blazer ($109, newport-news.com)

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Front darts, A-line cut, and concealed slits make this leather skirt sophisticated, not slutty. Pair it with smart close-toed pumps and a simple silk or chiffon blouse. Jules Hillary lambskin leather skirt ($78, bloomingdales.com)

Flaunt those curves in this bandage-style little black dress featuring slashes of faux leather insets. The empire-waist fit offers support to busty babes, while shapewear can help maintain a sleek and smooth silhouette. INC International Concepts sleeveless faux leather bandage sheath ($87.20, macys.com)


Tall gals should be conscious of finding leather jackets that can accommodate their long torsos and arms. Ashlee Simpson's blazer perfectly compliments her dress. It's worth spending some extra time in the dressing room to ensure that you can stretch and move around in that biker jacket, and that the sleeves don't stop mid-arm. Length-wise, tall body types are well-suited for knee-skimming hems. If you're on the boyish side, pair a leather pencil skirt with a feminine blouse, or look for embellishments like pleating to add the illusion of curves.

The classic pencil skirt gets a rock 'n' roll update with this pleated-detail number. Opt for a fitted but not tight look and balance it out with tasteful separates (a cashmere sweater or white button-down) to keep it classy. Robert Rodriguez Biker lambskin leather skirt ($246.90, nordstrom.com)

We love this sharp jacket's slate gray hue, while the French terry sleeves soften the look. Rebecca Minkoff Lindbergh leather jacket ($495, shopbop.com)

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This sleeveless sheath was made for long frames. Add heels, some baubles, and a fitted jacket ahead of your next cocktail party. Spiegel leather and ponte dress ($169, spiegel.com)


With leather, less is more. Stick to just one piece and experiment with garments that mix leather with other materials. For instance, a jacket or dress with leather panels is a great way to get your feet wet if you're not yet confident about pulling off this edgy look. Again, fit is crucial, so steer clear of leather pants unless you find a pair that fits you like a glove like Demi Moore's. If you're going with leather shorts, make sure they're not too baggy and wear dark tights to soften the look.

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Keep up with the Kardashians with their sporty-meets-sleek leather-trimmed vest, which can be layered over a striped tee and worn with skinny jeans and tall boots. Kardashians by bebe leather trim hoodie vest ($149, bebe.com)

Fashion rebels can winterize their leather shorts with a blousy top and knee-high wool tights paired with platform booties. Add a bit of Alexa Chung's tomboyish charm by wearing a peacoat on top. Side Car faux leather shorts ($98, shopnastygal.com)

The vertical faux leather panel of this dress draws the eye up and down, elongating the body. Plus, the belted waist and cap sleeves add the illusion of curves. Score! BCBGMaxAzria faux leather and ponte knit dress ($228, bloomingdales.com)

Erin Donnelly is a London-based fashion writer for FashionEtc.com and Refinery29.com.

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