A really great, oh-so-soft, leather skirt is the type of piece you’ll have in your closet forever, so why did it take me so long to invest in a good quality one? I guess because, much like a good quality coat, the type of leather skirt you’ll wear for decades comes at a price. I guess I always wondered how much I would wear it. However, after finally adding one to my closet recently, I realised that they are investment piece, even more so than an IT handbag. A leather skirt makes even the most basic outfit feel dressed up, helping you take all your other clothes up a notch in the process. Knowing how hard it was to decide on the right skirt for me, we’ve put together some rules for you when picking out your leather skirt. With end of year sale season starting soon, now’s a great time to bookmark your favourite styles and snap up down the track!
Consider your lifestyle and pick a shape and fit that you’ll get the most wear out of. 18ths, 21sts, Uni parties and going ‘out-out’ twice a week? Go shorter and show off those sweet pins! Just be aware that they do ride up when you sit down, so don’t go too too short. If your weekend activities have moved on to wine bars and brunches, midi or knee length is probably a better option (trust me).
Hong Kong is 32degrees and 100% humidity. Not exactly ideal for wearing leather. But if the skirt is lined with a good quality breathable fabric (like silk, cotton, Lyocell or even a polyester blend) you can actually get away with wearing it in the warmer weather. I am pleasantly surprised how comfortable mine is and I love wearing it with a silk cami and high heels on warm summer nights.
Know your leather
Different types of leather will feel different when you wear them, for example cows leather is heavier and more durable, while lambskin leather will be more soft and supple but will require more looking after. The skirt I’m wearing above is lambs leather which makes it really comfortable to wear (but not cheap).
Snap up a deal
As I mentioned before, a good leather skirt is an investment, so decide on a budget that you are happy with and get searching – if you look hard and do your research it’s possible to find a great deal. Sign up for updates from discount sites like the Outnet and others where you may be able to get your hands on something better quality for less. Another fabulous option is… you guessed it… DIY! Amazing (real) leather skirts often pop up in vintage stores so check out your local and do a bit of an update.
Pleather is a-ok
In general I would say avoid faux leather, mainly because in the past it’s failed on hand feel and appearance, but they’re making surprising good pleather versions these days. Leather will last you longer, but if you want to dip your toe into the trend or have moral issues with leather, you’ll definitely be able to find a good pleather version out there. If you are going for the faux/vegan option make sure the pleather is thick and matte and avoid shiny patent ‘wet look’ fabrics and Lycra-blend bodycon numbers.
Buy for your Body
I chatted with the girls in the studio (all of us have v different body types!) and we pulled together some ideas for buying a leather skirt that you may be interested in, with a few suggestions according to different body types.
Go for a midi-length pencil skirt that will smooth (but not squash) your curves. High waisted (like mine) will define the waist and create an hourglass shape. Oh and fyi, splits are really important if you are going fitted and below the knee. Leather has no give so you won’t be able to walk otherwise. This Oasis one sits just below the knee, and this Asos style would transition perfectly between work and drinks, while this Monki style is tan, suede and mini – throwing all body shape rules to the wind but, who cares? 🙂
Choose a slightly shorter hemline (on or just above the knee rather than midi) to elongate your legs. This one from asos is gorgeous and it’s real leather without the panic inducing price tag. You would also look great in a tulip style or a wrap skirt – both of which suit a smaller frame This mini wrap-front from Mango is lovely and this BB Dakota one is a pretty good deal (may buy one myself!)
A pleated A-line style like this J-crew version works well. Fitted at the waist, swingy through the hips and sits on or below the knee. Super flattering and having seen it in person, it’s quite a good faux leather option!
Body hugging will create curves but you can also get away with a pleats, ruffles, quilting or even bows (just not all at once). Although remember this is an investment piece so avoid anything too fussy or ‘on trend’. I love this Topshop style, and this One Teaspoon number is great too. This whistles wrap style adds curves if that’s what you’re after.
Photos by Visala Wong