Leather has a bit of an image problem. "She was wearing a leather mini," someone will say, and instantly one type of woman springs to mind. Few other garments are described by their fabric content in this way, because wearing leather (unless you are a motorcycle courier) seems to imply you are frisky and into all things rock'n'roll. This is rubbish of course, but you can use it to your advantage. Next time you have a terribly highbrow big-cheese meeting, swop that old woollen pencil skirt for one in leather and instantly acquire a name for yourself. Leather is Big in fashion this winter, and as cheap leather is truly awful, be sure to shop around. Although as a rule the more expensive it is the better the quality, some really good buys can be had from such shops as Jigsaw, French Connection and Warehouse (if you can afford it, look into Amanda Wakeley, Joseph and Hermes - their leather is superb). Leather stretches, so bear this in mind when making your purchase, as few things look worse than baggy leather trousers or skirts. If your leather clothes get wet, let them dry naturally - putting them near a radiator will make the leather stiffen - and always get it cleaned by a specialist.

photographs by sean ellis