Guest Author - Helene Choi
Outside of leather accessories like leather shoes, outerwear, handbags and belts, a lot of women are afraid to try wearing leather as fashion apparel. Often, I hear that leather is too harsh and masculine and even makes you look cold and unapproachable. While leather is a durable and beautiful material, most women want to look feminine and soft, and leather can be unforgiving in this department. However, you can achieve a girly look by combining leather with at least one feminine element.
Leather and Velvet - The softness and fluid movement of velvet makes for a great contrast to leather. Because leather clothing tends to look stiff and a little slick, offsetting it with such a beautiful rich fabric like velvet can add instant warmth to your style. Try a pair of leather skinny pants or straight leg pants with a velvet tunic, or a leather sheath dress with a velvet blazer. A pair of velvet shoes or even smooth suede shoes will also look just right with any leather pieces you own.
Leather and Sparkle - For a dramatic look, a glittery or sparkling metallic fabric can look fabulous next to leather since the fabrics are so different. Again, we're pairing leather with something very feminine. Try a glittering dark gold sweater with a leather skirt or a sparkling sequined colored top with leather skinny pants. It's actually edgy enough to wear for a night out or even an evening party. For good contrast, try black leather with glittering colors in sage green, ivory, gold, silver or gray.
Of course, you can think outside of velvet or lace by pairing a leather piece with a sheer fabric or smooth satin. The point is to mix your leather apparel with non-leather apparel to take the harsh edge off your look. What you want to avoid is the leather-on-leather look which is a very hard look to pull off. My general advice is to choose one leather piece in your outfit and stick with it, mixing other elements and fabrics into your style. This means you might want to avoid leather shoes when wearing leather pants or choosing a suede handbag when wearing a leather blazer.
If you want to try leather but you're not ready to take the dive just yet, you'll be happy to hear that many designers are adding leather to non-leather pieces of clothing. This might be a good starting point for you. Try a cloth blazer with leather sleeves or a pretty hounds tooth skirt with a leather tie belt. You'll find a variety of looks during fall and winter seasons that incorporate leather into one garment without the whole piece being made entirely of leather.
Whatever your preference, think feminine and leather might just become your new best friend this season. Leather can be very sexy and fashion forward, so definitely give it a whirl - you won't regret it!