Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How to Wear Leather Pants (Without Looking Like a Car Seat)

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column tackling your hard-hitting fashion issues and addressing a different fashion glitch each week. Submit a query here.

Easy-breezy leather pants looks: Rachel Zoe Collection at left, Rag & Bone at right.

Dear Frank,

How does one pull off leather pants? What shoes and bag go with them? Is it possible to be all "Oh hey, just wearing my leather pants today" or do you have to commit to a major look every time you put them on? I'm afraid that if I wear leather pants, a leather bag and leather shoes, I'll look like a car seat.

Lily-Livered Leather Lover

Dear LLLL,

Leather pants, huh?

I don't have leather pants and don't really ever intend to own leather pants.

The very notion, as applied to me, conjures images of Ross Geller in a veritable stranger's bathroom unintentionally creating a paste out of moisturizer and baby powder in an effort to get his brand new pair of too tight, too sweaty leather pants up over his ass. Rather than, you know, skinny-sexy-edgy-downtown-fabulousness (say, Iggy Pop).

That said, I have harbored fantasies of a pair of leather shorts—in some slightly off color like British racing green.

But I digress—I think if you want to start wearing leather pants you should just go for it. Mix them into the clothes you're already wearing. Treat them like you would your favorite jeans (not your going-out-to-get-a-bagel Sunday jeans, your perfectly-fitting going-out jeans).

In short, yes: You can be all "oh hey, just wearing my leather pants today!"

Try them with a crisp white tee (not Hanes, of course, maybe James Perse) or easy-fitting white blouse. Try them with a jean jacket. Try them with an unstructured sweater or a loose henley or a soft chambray or a deconstructed, slouchy blazer.

As for a leather bag leather shoes—those are both a non-issue. What are you going to wear with leather pants? Hemp earth shoes? No, you're going to wear a boot, or a leather pump. That's allowed—you won't look like the interior of a Lexus. It's fine.

Now that we've established that, I think it is important that you don't just start pairing your leather pants with the types of garments people who, like, really wear leather pants wear. For example: Other leather things, faded denim things, vests, Motörhead tee shirts, bandanas, fringe—you're just going to look like a person who wears a lot of leather things. I'm only guessing here, but if you're asking how to test drive leather pants you're probably not a hogs-and-heifers type who is already wearing a lot of said leather things.

Of course, you can always start small and safe—you can get a really fabulous leather moto by Schott or Acne or AllSaints or Marc by Marc Jacobs. Or, go one step further and pick up a great leather skirt. Searches on eBay pull up vintage options in genuine leather starting at only $30 or $40.

I'm also a fan of the leather high-waisted short for ladies—over woolly winter tights and paired with a crisp blouse and a shrunken blazer for work; with a denim shirt and boots for drinks.

So, go for it, leather boots and all—but do proceed with caution. And without your Blue Oyster Cult tee.

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
· All Love, Frank posts [Racked]