Leather is having a moment right now. After appearing on all the fashion show runways, stores are working leather into their fall and winter lines. The leather jacket is back in full force, and it’s the new Little Black Dress. The LLJ is the LBD.
But the question still stands: Is it appropriate to wear leather to work? Wearing leather can sometimes give off the wrong impression, making you look unprofessional or like you’re trying too hard. In a poll done on the professional fashion site Corporette, 51 percent of readers said that they would not wear a leather skirt to work. One reader told The Careerist that wearing leather could attract undesired attention. “Too dangerous,” says a Fortune 100 counsel. “Sends the wrong message. Like you’re into S&M.”
Mary Orton, founder of the work style blog The Classy Cubicle, told Levo:
For more dramatic leather looks, including leather pants and leather skirts, it really depends on your work environment. Assuming of course you steer clear of anything too tight or too short, these garments can be great for many casual and/or creative environments.
For formal and conservative offices, however, I would be cautious about leather pants and skirts and advise people to stick with the more subtle accents. I think the overarching goal is to integrate leather into your professional wardrobe in a polished way that doesn’t compel anyone at the office to ask you where you parked your Harley.
The way you dress at work is important and it really does come down to the environment of your office. If you work in a place where not wearing a suit would be seen as inappropriate, then don’t rock the leather pants!
Although it isn’t always easy to keep up with the latest trends, here are some tips from fashion experts on how to wear leather in the office.
1. Mix materials
Dianna Baros, founder of The Budget Babe, told Levo, “Mixed-material fashions are a great way to incorporate leather into your work wardrobe this season—consider a classic trench with leather sleeves or flattering sheath dress with leather piping or pockets.”
2. Go for colored leather
Blogger Marion Green of Marion Berry Style says, “Choose rich colored leather—Dark hunter green, rich camel, and chocolate brown are all colors that give a sophisticated feel to leather. Black leather can often be tricky to pull off in a conservative workplace.”
3. Try a little flare
If you find a pencil skirt too snug, how about trying a flowing leather one?
“This fun option looks fresh and totally on-trend for the fall. Slip on a pair of opaque black tights and this look gets an instant cool weather update,” wrote Brianna Lapolla, staff writer for Rue La La.
4. Go for the accessories
If you don’t think an all-leather outfit is appropriate for your office or if you simply want to ease into the look, start with accessories. Green suggests shoes, bags and belts made of leather. “My preference when looking at a leather shoe or bag is to find a soft, high quality leather versus a suede. It just looks more expensive,” she wrote.
5. Look for leather trim and accents
At the moment, Orton says there are plenty of lovely blouses and dresses with leather trimming and details that let you sport the trend at work in a chic and professional manner. “A classic leather jacket is always a fairly foolproof way to rock the trend as well,” she said.
Ask Daily Candy Fashion Editor Jordan Blumberg for her professional attire tips!