Leather-Effect Dress, £29.99, Zara
Leather-Effect Dress, £29.99, Zara

How to work a leather dress into your wardrobe

The trend shifts from runway to real life with unexpected ease, with fashion favouring a more sophisticated spin on the tough-girl textile

Sarah Young
Thursday 01 November 2018 13:28

There aren’t many fabrics that come with such loaded connotations as leather.

A material favoured by the likes of James Dean, Blondie and Joan Jett, it has long been the unofficial uniform of the rebellious crowd.

But, while buckled bikers and stompy boots remain a perennial staple in most women’s wardrobes, fashion is now favouring a more sophisticated spin on the tough-girl textile.

Nabbing the seal of approval from A-listers like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner, the only way to wear leather this season is with a buttery-soft dress.

Polished and more expensive-looking than ever, designers ditched all frigidity from their runway looks for autumn/winter in a bid to give the hardened material a ladylike twist.

At Sonia Rykiel and Alexander McQueen, traditional biker details were tempered with asymmetric cuts, midi-length finishes and lace accents.

Elsewhere, designers like Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney – who never uses real leather – and Loewe eschewed tradition by presenting contemporary versions in anything but black.

Faux Leather Western Dress, £56, Warehouse

Loewe's floor-sweeping collared styles came in butterscotch, while Beckham opted for chocolate brown and McCartney a cool grey-blue.

A trend that shifts from runway to real life with unexpected ease, the leather dress doesn’t need to be black, or indeed made from real leather, to become a saviour in your autumn/winter wardrobe.

Low Classic, Wrap Faux Leather Mini Dress, £245, Farfetch

While authentic styles certainly still have plenty of mileage, right now, the high street is brimming with wearable faux leather versions in everything from bottle green to burgundy and cream; just head to the likes of Warehouse, Monki and Zara to see for yourself.

Depending on the silhouette you choose, and contrary to popular belief, you can wear a leather dress for an array of occasions, from off-duty weekend trips, to nights out and even the office.

Leather-Effect Dress, £29.99, Zara

Drinks and dinner dates will undoubtedly benefit from the fabric’s sultry associations, but for daytime wear layering is the key to making it appear more conservative.

For instance, the addition of a crisp white shirt or roll neck sweater underneath an A-line dress will make it all the more wearable for work, while chunky knits will make for a more casual look that’s ideal for chilly weather.

P.A.R.O.S.H. Leather Panel Dress, £332, Farfetch
Faux Leather Dress, £40, Monki

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