5 leather skirts

Let’s go shopping: black leather pants and skirts

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 52 Comments

I’m going to call it.

If you buy one new clothing piece this autumn-winter, then make it either a pair of black leather pants or a black leather skirt.

Now, before you go clicking away thinking oh my God the girl’s really lost it this time, stick with me while I explain where my head is at.

It started the week before last when I walked into my girlfriend’s boutique, Zambezee, at Mooloolaba, with the aim of putting together my outfits for Fashion Week. When I was handed these pants as an option, I have to admit, it was very much love at first sight.

At Fashion Week I trotted them out here and here.

And a bit like seeing your dream car EVERYWHERE once you decide that’s what you really want to buy, everywhere I turned last week, I saw leather.

Leather pants, leather trims, leather skirts, leather tops, leather dresses … it was a leather festival of love (and faux leather is very much ok when it comes to this look). And I wanted in.

So, I gave the leather pants a permanent home in my wardrobe and, just as a warning, I’ll be wearing them at any given opportunity through winter.

Next on my leather wishlist is a pencil skirt. I’ve ordered one online but won’t share until it arrives and I’m happy with the shape and size.

The other reasons for my the leather-lusting? 

1. It’s a fashion bandwagon that regularly comes around it’s one that most people can easily jump on.

2. The addition of leather into an outfit lifts the whole look a little, giving it a little polish. Even if you’re doing casual.

Pants shopping suggestions

5 black leather pants

1. Wonderlust PU spliced leggings @ The Iconic $60 | 2. Shilla ponte and faux leather leggings @ The Iconic $79.95 | 3. Witchery leather spliced ponte leggings $189.95 | 4. Seed leather-look panelled leggings $89.95 |  5. ASOS petite leather-look leggings $25.51

Style tips

1. Ok, so we are potentially heading into the “leggings as pants” territory when putting together outfits based around such leather or leather-look pants. I KNOW. I did it every day last week. For me the test is always whether I’m covering my front and my back bottom with the shirt/top/tunic I’m wearing over the top. But that’s just me … because this fabric is way thicker than a pair of tights then you do have a bit more leeway. If you are petite and blessed with long pins then shorter tops and even tucked in tops in some waistband styles will work for you. Go for it.

2. The combination of leather plus ponte or viscose really does give you comfort plus style in a pant. And if you’re not too keen to dip your legs totally in leather, then the styles that include splices or panels down the side will offer a good option that’s still very much on trend.

3. This style of pant is so suited to ankle boots, knee-high boots, strappy heels, pumps, ballet flats … it’s as versatile in the shoe department as the skinny jean.

4. Work the contrast of textures. For example, a feminine silk top looks even better when “toughened” up against some leather. And a slump-style tee says casual but when worked back with leather pants, it says rock chic.

5. If there is any ponte or stretch in the design at all, do buy at least one size down from your normal jeans size … maybe two. Try the different sizes on. You want them to be super firm as they will give and and bunch up in the leg if too big.

Skirt shopping suggestions

5 leather skirts

1. Stitches leather trim skirt $129 @ Birdsnest | 2. Country Road leather skater skirt $249 | 3. Trenery leather skirt $299 | 4. ASOS Curve leather skirt with jersey trim $90.89 (on sale) | 5. Saba leather skirt $499

Style tips

1. What you wear with your leather skirt will depended on the style of the skirt. Think contrasts again. For a pencil skirt, think floaty blouse. The blouse can still be tucked in but the softness of silk will contrast with the distinct lines of the skirt. For a full skirt, tucking in is a must for that contrast and creating shape. Also avoid the full skirt if, like me, you are short in the waist and your hips are already full enough 😉

2. I love the ankle boot look with the pencil style skirts and the shorter skater style. It’s not for everyone but it’s worth a try. If in doubt choose a boot that’s nude in colour as this will elongate rather than truncate the leg. Kitten heels and higher pumps look amazing with any of the knee-length skirts. Cute pointy ballet flats would work with the skater style.

3. Like with the pants above, if you don’t want the full leather look; opt for a design that includes leather as a trim.

A timely suggestion …

The Witchery OCRF (Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation) White Shirt campaign is back for 2013. This is a cause very, very close to our family’s heart. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss my husband’s mum. She was the most beautiful soul, taken from us way to early by this God-awful cancer.

These are my three faves from this year’s White Shirt collection. Nothing says style like a black and white ensemble. Why not team your leather pants or skirt with a garment that is also raising vital money for Ovarian Cancer research?


Witchery white OCRF shirts 2013


Witchery OCRF Tail Shirt $99.95 | Witchery OCRF Motif Tee $79.95 |  Witchery OCRF Tab Detail Shirt $149.95

Extra stuff

Great tips on protecting and caring for your leather garments here.

Grab some more styling ideas from my Leather Pinterest board.

Are you already on board the leather pants or skirt bandwagon this season? If so what have you bought and from where? What are you wearing with your leather pieces?

  • vanessa

    Hi Nikki
    I loved this article leather look legging are hitting stores all overr the place this season! I’ve been tempted to try it but I’m worried they aren’t for me
    im 170 cm 63kilos and pear shaped. My thighs are so thick and angular even near my bum, could i pull it off??
    also, can you help me learn which top and pant shapes could flatter my figure?
    thank you so much I’m looking forward to reading more of your articles!

  • Nicole

    Help I brought Steele leather pants I love them but not sure how to wear them for casual or night. I’m short and have a pear shaped body aka big bum big thighs but am an 8-10 in top, I can’t find anything anywhere that I can wear the pants with to our girls night ( yay child free). If I try in shirts they are always either tight on my thigh area or too long and make me look like a potato sack. Help please xx

  • Fiona Alvis

    After reading this post I stumbled upon leather look with side panel black leggings from Cotton On – best part is they’re on sale for $5!


  • Kath

    Love the skirts. I’m just about to order one from Next UK. Can’t wait for it’s arrival 🙂

  • Roxy

    I love your blog and the leather look leggings but I’m not sure they are for me. Even if I love them. The problem is I am 165cm tall with a pear shape build and thick thighs. I also have a long torso and very short legs. But I cant wear heals as it is impractical with 2 small children. Maybe some combat boots? Can you please suggest something that will work for casual and everyday wear? thanks

    • Hi Roxy, think you’re the same Roxy as below – yes you can wear them. See my comment there.

  • roxy

    What style of leggings would you recommend for a short 165 cm pear shaped person? I also have a long body and short thick legs! I love this style byt dont think it would suit me!

    • Yes, it would. You would need to have them taken up. And wear the top/tunic to just above the knee.

  • Kathryn

    I really liked the styling of the pants you wore for Fashion Week but the full leather look is not really me. I have tried similar pants on, but ended up with patterned pants with leather trim and love them! Also got some jeans from Seed recently that look a bit like an oil slick…..http://www.seedheritage.com/w1/i4335775 They’re fab!

  • Dianne

    OK have just ordered the Asos leggings… a little scared because I am not a leggings kinda girl, but I trust your judgement. I ‘justified’ them by saying: they are a basic (well basic colour) and my wardrobe is in dire need of basics… then I checked if I had anything at all to wear with them (agree certain bits need covering) and ticked this box… then pondered price, great price! So they got 3 ticks and are on their way… lol

    • I think you’ll enjoy them Dianne and probably end up buying more! Let me know how you go!

  • Sarah – Style Unearthed

    I love the first skirt and second top you posted. I have a faux leather skirt that I was given as a gift last year. Wasn’t sure how to style it but will definitely experiment this Winter!

  • The rock chic in me is loving my new leggings with a touch of leather down the side from Birdsnest!

    • Oh YEAH Jodi … I think there’s a little inner rock chic in all of us!!

  • I love this look, Nikki. Key to this look this time round for me is that the fake leather looks real, as I don’t want to spend too much on pieces that will probably be out within a couple of seasons. I have a leather-look biker jacket that I really love and I’d like to also get a pair of skinny pants (or leggings). The look on your pinterest board showing the jacket with pearls is fabulous for something dressier and the contrast of textures and weights together is really interesting. Thanks again for another inspiring post – thanks to you I don’t have to trawl through shops! (Wouldn’t mind but I don’t have the time!)

    • Hi Nicoll, I love that I get to trawl through shops as part of my job. Just need to stop the adding to cart!! And I agree, the quality of the faux leather has improved out of sight.

  • Caitlin @ Chasing Cait

    Loving the leather look! I may already have purchased a few items for my winter wardrobe – my one lust-after is an AMAZING lavender leather peplum dress from Trelise Cooper – it is TO DIE FOR! (just not sure where I’d wear it haha).
    Great outfits from fashion week too! xx

    • Oh Caitlin that sounds a bit too lovely! Good luck with your lusting. And you must be feeling a wee bit proud to be a temporary Kiwi today x

      • Caitlin @ Chasing Cait

        They are a wee bit ahead of their time these awesome kiwis aren’t they xx

  • If you wear plus sizes, I cannot recommend enough the Harlow pleather pencil skirt, it has become an instant staple in my wardrobe – love, love LOVE it.
    I did a round up of plus size leather and leather-look goodies on my blog yesterday if people are looking for those:

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Yes I have a pair very similar to the Witchery pair in fact they are Witchery bought from the outlet store and they are spliced and do look good on.I don’t much like skirts probably beacause I did the leather skirt last time they were around and I have no waist so I find them uncomfortable ,so it is Pants for me,and I have a cream silk longsleeved shirt that will go very nicely with them.I like wearing longer styled tops as well though not too long as they swamp me,but knits,tees and shirts are all fair game depending on where I am going.
    Ovarian cancer is a bitch,sorry it is the only word that sums it up in my mind,I am sorry about your Mother in law,I know you must miss her I have read the post :(,it is a horrid disease and one of our friends wives has just found out she has it,I hope they can cure her ,she had a radical Hysterectomy a few weeks ago and we are just waiting for updates on how she is going.
    I do NOT have a white shirt any tips for buying one would be welcome ,i want it to fit well and be comfy but look good too. I always feel like a waitress/shop assitant in black and white!

    • Oh Lisa … my heart goes out to your friend. Wishing her all the best in her battle. Re the black and white … it’s a very crisp style. There is a good selection in this year’s campaign at Witchery. I’d give them all a go. Maybe the lace one? I haven’t pictured here but if you click through you’ll find it.

      • Lisa Mckenzie

        Thankyou Nikki Re the white shirt I will try on every one I can ,and thanks for the good wishes as well xx

  • harlow.online

    Hi Nikki

    I couldn’t agree more, leather/pleather/ponte are all so on trend “right now” and so ultra comfortable to wear…..For those ladies 14+ we have a fabulous pair of leather look leggings & pencil skirt available NOW, you can see them here http://bit.ly/17pOe2U & here http://bit.ly/15a0nwn. We also have a fabulous pair of ponte & pleather motorcyle pants and skirt, as well as a fabulous white lace shirt coming through in the next 2 weeks, so if this interests any of your readers they should check us out at http://www.harlowstore.com



  • I was looking at the witchery shirts yesterday – that tail one is great! As for leather – as I live in (hot & humid) Darwin, I’ll be sticking to a skirt! I’ve found a couple of Asos I’ll look at more!

    • Yes, a skirt would be your best option – in a lighter leather or faux leather.

  • I always thought leather pants/leggings were a little ‘trashy’, but I love those splice leggings! I can definitely see myself wearing them.

  • Love the look of the leggings/pants. Will need to do some hunting for something that fits! And that ASOS Curve skirt is fab – very tempting for the price!

    • It’s a great price Sally. I’ve bought that one and fingers crossed sizing is ok or I can get it altered.

  • I have a leather skirt in my cupboard that I’ve always been too scared to wear. You’ve inspired me to give it a crack! 🙂


    • Do it! So many people would have leather skirts and pants hiding away from the last time they were in … bring it out to play!

  • I like the look of those spliced leggings, Nice find!

  • I have some panelled leather pants from TopShop that i loveee. Best investment ever!!

  • Supers

    Your fashion week posts inspired me to pull out my burgundy leather pencil skirt yesterday. That skirt is about 10 years old, bought in Italy and has a split off on the left leg. Could be racy, but was worn to work with a white ruffled shirt and black vest over it, along with black tights and black suede booties. I also was inspired to buy slim fit ponte pants this week – would have loved a ponte / leather combo but thought I’d start on the ponte first.

    • Supers, I’m so glad you dug out your burgundy leather skirt – wear with smug pride that you bought a classic piece and held on to it!

  • Stacey

    Great picks Nikki. I’m desperately trying to hold off buying anything until I get to NYC next month. But those Witchery white shirt campaigns are fantastic. I try to buy one every year. This year, I’ve got my eye on the motif tee and the lace long-sleeved button up. So classy. Planning on checking them out at the James Street Up Late event tonight.