Faux leather leggings have been a fashion trend for several years (seriously I was discussing the style merits 0f faux leather leggings back in 2016) and they don't seem to be going away any time soon. But what to wear with leather leggings, be they real or faux? This post originally was published in 2018 but because this trend is so popular, I updated it with looks appropriate for thisyear. Below I share how to style faux leather leggings, with a focus on the styles of faux leather leggings from Spanx.
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How to Style Faux Leather Leggings
Faux leather leggings are a bold move, and not one that can be worn anywhere and with anything. One false move and you end up looking like Sandy at the end of “Grease” (no shade on “after” Sandy, that was my dream look for most of my tween and teen years). But let’s focus on the everyday…
This is what I'd consider the most everyday way to wear the Spanx faux leggings or any leather leggings. A longer sweater and a pair of comfortable shoes in a material that contrasts with the leggings. This sweater comes in seven colors. I think sneakers are the best pairing, but a suede bootie or bootie/sneaker hybrid like the ones in the image is a great alternative. Don't go crazy with the accessories; the shine of the leggings make so much of a statement that too much jewelry will veer into Las Vegas or evening territory. With colors, keep them simple. Primary colors can sometimes look too dressy or bold for casual situations. Soft pastels, neutrals, and muted shades will beautifully balance the sheen of faux or real leather leggings.
What Shoes to Wear with Faux Leather Leggings?
The best choice is a pair of sneakers. Whether they're trainers or a trendy pair, the juxtaposition of athletic gear with leather is quite chic and will steer you clear from “Sandy” territory.
If you're looking to dress up the leggings for work or evening, consider a pair of pointed-toe flats, or a boot with a bit of toughness.
Sleek ankle booties and pumps in black leather may be a safe bet, but the look can be too superhero. If you choose this kind of shoe, be sure to balance the look with a clearly professional and polished or relaxed and voluminous top.
What To Wear (and What Not to Wear) with Faux Leather Leggings
While you can wear whatever the heck you want and I will completely support you and root you on, if you're unsure how to style leather leggings here's some tips on what not to do to make them look as stylish as possible.
- Don't pair your leather leggings with a leather jacket. This will take you from “Sandy” territory to Leather Tuscadero territory. If you need to wear a jacket, consider a cargo jacket in a neutral like olive or a denim jacket.
- Balance the shine with other textures. Faux leather leggings with shiny satin or sequins is only appropriate in Vegas or on stage. For the everyday, you want to temper the shine of leather. Fleece, chunky knit sweaters, cashmere, denim, and angora are all great fabric to pair with the leggings to keep the look luxe yet relatable.
- Keep Jewelry Delicate. Big, bold pieces paired with shiny black leggings can end up being too much of a look. Delicate chains, small rings, a single watch or chain bracelet, thin hoops or studs is often the best choice when styling leather leggings.
- Don't Be a Trend Salad. Leather leggings are a lot of look, and usually look best with more subtle pairings. They're not the thing to wear with a cold shoulder or sheer blouse or statement shoes. If the rest of your outfit is a bit quieter your leather leggings then can sing.
- Add Polish. While faux leather leggings look more refined than traditional leggings, they can easily veer into athleisure if styled with more relaxed pieces. Oversized sweatshirts, cocoon cardigans, and sweater coats can make you look as though you just rolled out of bed. Add a bit of tailoring or an accessory to make it clear this is not loungewear.
- Think Contrasts Not Costume. Rocker leather leggings with a corporate blazer. Black leather with cashmere in a soft pastel color. The shine of the leggings paired with chambray or a plaid flannel. The way to make these leggings look great is to treat them as though they aren't leather; style them as you would a pair of skinny pants or ponte leggings and you'll have the best results and not look like you're wearing a costume.