How to wear a leather jacket

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 72 Comments

Have you noticed that black leather jackets are every where this autumn-winter?

It’s the one clothing piece I’m mentally obsessing over and scheming ways in which I can add this investment piece to my wardrobe.

And I know I should be actually buying one now because when the time comes that it’s cool enough for me to wear it, there will be none left in the shops because you smart people out there will have snapped them all up.

This mental obsession with the leather jacket follows on from last year’s successful wardrobe injection of leather pants and skirt.

Boy have I got some wear out of those. And I’m pleased to report that these two styles are very much around again this season and will be on high rotation around here through winter.

This is VERY good news as my tips in the post I wrote last year about wearing leather pants and skirts still apply.

Many of these general how to wear leather – or pleather – tips also translate to any outfit that you may wish to fashion using a black leather jacket.

The big key I find when working out how to wear a leather jacket is to recognise that it’s the texture of the material used in the jacket that gives it its edge. Take that and contrast it with something quite the opposite.

how to wear a leather jacket

Sussan leather jacket $399.95, tee $59.95, jeans $89.95 and bag $79.95

Style tips

1. Spend time finding a jacket that suits your shape. Some styles will box you up – particularly if you are busty. They are designed to be worn open so go for a neckline that opens and drapes easily.

2. Think about what you have in your wardrobe to contrast with the leather texture. Me? I like to team leather with soft jerseys, cottons, silks – and denim. Mixing three different textures in one outfit really does give an outfit life.

3. You can wear you black leather jacket with black pants but play with other colours as well. If you are doing black and black, lighten things up in your top – even if you’re going for a tonal white or pale grey.

4. Don’t be afraid to try a leather jacket with a frock or skirt. This look gives you even more contrast within an outfit. You’re not only contrasting textures but also tough and feminine styling.

5.  Keep accessories on the feminine side. Even with embellishments, a leather jacket is all about incorporating a masculine styling element. You’re aiming to contrast that with what you wear but also think about how a strong but feminine statement necklace can work here too.

3 outfit suggestions

A leather – or faux leather – jacket is just as at home worked back with a coloured jean and sneakers as it is with boots and/or heels. Add in a coloured striped top and a scarf and you’re set for a mild winter’s day that may require some removal of layers as it warms up.

how to wear a leather jacket for casual

1. Target faux leather jacket $59 | 2. Frankie4 Footwear sneakers $219.95 | 3. Metalicus scarf $69.95 | 4. Trenery tee $49.95 | 5. Seed jeans $89.95

Don’t store your summer maxi dresses away just yet. No siree. With a leather jacket on hand you have the perfect trans-seasonal tough-feminine combination ready to rock your next lunch date or girlie gathering.

how to wear a leather jacket maxi dress

1. Sportscraft leather jacket $569.95 | 2. Metalicus maxi $129 (on sale) @ Birdsnest | 3. Colette necklace $12.95 | 4. I Love Billy sandals $79.95 @ Styletread

Heading on a night out – date night or drinks with the girls? Your leather jacket will serve you well. Just add sparkles, heels and a pop of red lippy.

How to wear a leather jacket for evening

1. Trenery leather jacket $599 | 2. Two Mrs Grenvilles purse $24.95 @ David Jones | 3. Witchery top $149.95 | 4. Country Road jegging $99.95 | 5. YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain $52 @ David Jones | 6. Guess heels $169 @ Styletread 

Want more leather jacket styling inspiration? Head to my leather board on Pinterest.

Have you got a black leather jacket in your wardrobe? Planning on buying one? How would you wear it?


Comments 72

  1. I have 2 black moto leather jackets, one from Jeans west and the other from just jeans. Very reasonably priced for real leather. I also have a dark brown collarless jacket I bought in Italy in 2006 when the dollar was terrible but it was only $150!!!anyway. Zara have a lovely one too. I’m in my 50s and that has never stopped me, chrisatpb.

    1. I like zara clothes … interesting and well priced … don’t know where they are coming from but we can guess! cheers m:)

  2. Great tips for wearing a leather jacket. I’ve never owned a leather jacket but I used to own a beautiful leather skirt. I got so much wear out of it and always felt great when I had it on … maybe it’s time I considered a leather jacket!

  3. I just adore the tough pretty look of a little leather jacket over a floral frock. I picked up a tan one from M&S many years ago, and lucked into two fabulous thrifted versions. One tan aviator style and one collarless cropped black one that I’ve tough-prettied up with Liberty fabric buttons. Thank you for joining Wardrobe Wednesday xx

  4. Katies also had a tan leather & black leather jacket (or at least a leather look) for around the $100 mark 2-3 weeks ago in the Albury, NSW store when I was visiting my sister. I almost brought one…better go take another look at my local in WA. I love all these looks Nikki…

  5. Thanks for the styling inspo Nikki. My only leather jacket was purchased on my honeymoon in Bali and 2002 and remains untouched! I love a cropped, biker style although I’ve never found the right one. Now I have somewhere to start – that Trenery one is gorgeous!

  6. Thanks for this post Nikki. I have seen a grey leather jacket I have been considering. I just think the grey might suit my style/personality more than black. What are your thoughts on getting a grey one?

  7. thanks nikki, love a leather jacket especially if one buys it in flonence!
    fabulous leather products there … still love my two pairs of black ankle boots
    and a bag bought there … sigh! … always a good post! cheers m:)X

  8. I’ve got a leather look long coat, a cropped leather jacket and a biker style jacket…can’t get enough of them, although my biker style one is my favourite so far. Can’t wait for the weather to get a lot colder for me to wear it again this year!

  9. I have a red leather jacket and a black leather trench coat, neither of which fit me at the moment but hoping to wear them next winter or the one after. I think they are a classic piece to have in your wardrobe.

  10. I have just returned from my first ever trip to Europe – my husband shouted me for my 60th – I was also given money from my wonderful mates i work with – I was determined to buy myself a leather jacket and found the perfect tan classic jacket in Florence – I hope to wear it with my jeans and everything else – thanks for the tips – ps don’t tell my husband but a pair of stunning classic tan ankle boots came home with me as we’ll from Spain – gorgeous leather there – and by the way if you don’t have a leather jacket in France your not French

  11. Thanks for this! My go to leather jacket has a fake sheep fur collar and an asymmetrical zipper, making it particularly hard to style. Any suggestions?

      1. Thank you for the prompt reply and suggestion! Will let you know how I get one once the weather is cool enough to wear my leather jacket.

  12. I have a very soft leather biker style jacket that I got for my 21st in 1990!! Think ‘Top Gun’ styling!! Keep wanting to wear it but never sure I can still pull it off!! I also have a classic mid-late 2000’s thigh length straight black leather jacket. Can I still get away with either of them or is it time to invest in a more up-to-date version? Thanks 🙂

    1. helsbels – snap! I still have my leather jacket that I purchased in Florence in 1990 when I was 22. Not quite Top Gun, but a soft biker styling. It hasn’t been worn for quite a few years, but I am inspired by Nikki once again!

  13. Last season I bought a pleather jacket, as I thought it might be a bit of a fad. But I am in LOVE with the look! Even though pleather doesn’t sit as well as real leather (and so I found myself not wearing the pleather as much as I might have.) But the style really has hardly changed over the years, and it would be a great investment… AND I live in Melbourne, for goodness sake – we’re bound to get winter soon! (Can you see what I’m doing?? ;-)) I love your style ideas Nikki, especially the last one. Might start saving my pennies! x

    1. Can you see what I’m doing Nic? I wrote a whole post to further convince myself of the need! My mate Carly from Smaggle lives in Melbourne and says she buys a new black leather jacket every 10 years – spends about $300-400 each time so cost per wear that’s pretty good going!!

  14. Does anyone know how to clean raw leather? As in I have a black leather jacket that’s not shiny…and around the edges of the neckline it’s starting to show a little bit of foundation from lots of wears…and I’m scared to attempt to clean it without knowing what I should do in case it wrecks it. I’ve googled, and asked dry cleaners, but can’t really find anything of use. Any ideas appreciated, thanks!

    1. Eucalyptus oil works a treat!
      Dab on a little with a soft cloth & then rub off the excessive with another part of the same cloth. Make sure you work in small areas one at a time & stop if the tanning starts to disappear.

  15. My English wardrobe included a good injection of leather, which I could not bring myself to part with when we moved. My favourite piece is a rich tan biker style jacket from Monsoon. It WILL be coming out to play again this year! Ps. the evening outfit is right up my street!

  16. I love the outfit suggestions you’ve posted today Nikki. I don’t own a leather jacket, and I wouldn’t buy one because I find them (or any jacket) too hot (for me personally) in our Qld climate, but if others can wear them I love seeing how they’re worn!

  17. I bought a gorgeous maroon one at Vic Markets, I had been in love with the colour since Martha Jones (one of Dr Who’s companions) wore one. I only do the striped shirt/ blue jeans combo with it though.. I need to think of something else !

  18. Question: can you have a leather jacket altered? The sleeves on the one I have are too long and I have to fold them up and in, which makes it look a bit weird. Because of this I avoid wearing it – crazy, I know! Please tell me they can be altered…

    1. I needed my leather skirt altered last year and found a leather alterations specialist via Gumtree, Sonia. Do a bit of search and if you find them get advice based on your particularly jacket style – a small amount may bring that jacket back to life in your wardrobe!

    2. I needed my leather skirt altered last year and found a leather alterations specialist via Gumtree, Sonia. Do a bit of search and if you find them get advice based on your particularly jacket style – a small amount may bring that jacket back to life in your wardrobe!

    3. Sonia when I worked in fashion we sold leather jackets and if there is no buttons or zips just a plain seam ,you can use double sided tape to take up the sleeves Xx

  19. I have 2 a black one and a tan one and do love them with dresses and tights and boots,I think leather jackets are one of those investment pieces that are in your wardrobe for years ,go today and buy one Nikki!
    I love how you have styled the black leather jacket in all the different options.

  20. Just when I was thinking ot ditching my black moto style leather jacket for something in tan… I guess I’ll keep it a little longer. I love wearing it over a simple dress to toughen up my workwear and of course it’s a cinch to throw over jeans and a tee.

  21. I have a gorgeous Italian cream leather jacket I picked up on eBay for a steal about 4 years ago. Wear it with skirts, dresses, jeans – everything. Love it to bits. One of the online shopping clubs recently had some UK leather pants and skirts at absolute bargain prices – was very tempted, but not sure I could pull that look off in my mid 50s. Though I have a friend a bit older than me who rides a motor bike – she is tall and slender and looks sensational in her black leather bike pants and jacket!

    1. Oh your friend sounds uber-stylish in her leather set up. I don’t like to put an age on what we should or shouldn’t wear. It’s about how you feel and your fashion attitude. Plus what you wear with a leather pant or skirt that would make it more you.

  22. I’ve got a vintage Country Road leather jacket (think 1995) to play with this season, am SO looking forward to wearing it for the two weeks of winter we get here!

  23. Oh I love them. But I haven’t worn one since I’ve moved to QLD. I’m not going to buy one now because I wouldn’t have enough opportunities to wear it to justify the investment. I’ve bought a few lovely new autumn/winter things recently, including a gorgeous top in Gorman yesterday 🙂 , and I’m wondering if it’s ever going to be cool enough to wear them. 30 degrees! What kind of autumn day is that? There are people coming to work in cooler weather clothes, in defiance I think, but it’s still way too warm for that.

    1. See, I think they are the perfect investment jacket for here – trot them out every year. Not too big and bulky and great for putting on when heading out at night when the temp drops. We do get such a short winter but something like this would serve lots of winters.

  24. I am looking forward to wearing mine, I love it! I am thinking about trying a pair of leggings from Sussan with it, with a longish top to cover my bottom(s). Woah, heading out of my comfort zone with said leggings!

  25. I am looking forward to wearing mine, I love it! I am thinking about trying a pair of leggings from Sussan with it, with a longish top to cover my bottom(s). Woah, heading out of my comfort zone with said leggings!

  26. I don’t do black but I have a gorgeous faux-leather Caroline Morgan jacket that I picked up at the DFO near Brisbane airport. It’s pale pink, with a ruffled neckline, ruffled cuffs, nipped in waist with darts. So not your typical looking leather jacket. Works really well on my short, hourglass, busty frame and I love it.
    I’m on the hunt now for a blue or tan version of the black trenery jacket.

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