So I’ve just been taking a look at some of the trend updates for A/W, you know, the sort of magazine websites that claim to provide the top 10 inclinations of this season’s catwalk shows. Imagine my surprise to find that leather is “in”… again. It seems to be that every time the weather changes for the gloomy I can’t move for a barrage of leather shorts, skirts and trousers.
Now I like lederhosen as much as the next girl; sure at some points in history leather shorts have suffered from a bad name but fundamentally they’re harmless. The problem is that this image is so culturally specific in my mind that whenever I see a girl in leather shorts it just seems so out of place. I find that I increasingly have the same difficulty with animal print clothes and accessories, firmly believing that only the leopard can quite wear its print to best advantage.
No matter, people should wear what they wish of course; and at least leather makes sense for this season, being as it is waterproof and, presumably, therefore also warm. Both stand as valuable assets when facing British weather and yet I continue to hold some reservations.
I haven’t really ever owned leather, or leather imitation clothing, at least not for a long time. The image never felt particularly me; indeed when it comes to winter I’m more the ridiculous printed jumper kind of girl (think Colin Firth in Bridget Jones but, worryingly, more so). Now tight leather and baggy jumpers don’t really get on and so I avoid the former, nonetheless I suspect that the real reason for this aversion may actually predate my current tastes in Christmas apparel.
Let us go back, if we may, to my childhood. I believe the singularly worst item of clothing I have ever owned took the form of a pair of imitation leather purple trousers. Now I believe that I wanted them 1) because they were purple and 2) because I was, at the time, only eight years old. A bit of harmless fun then, and all is forgiven, except even at the age of eight I seem to recall that I found that particular style to be exceedingly uncomfortable. Squeaky, tight and frankly prone to a sort of sauna effect I always felt incredibly self-conscious despite the frankly irresistible color of said pant.
Then there’s another con, which I find has stuck in my head. Tight leather just doesn’t seem appropriate in many occasions, does it? The fact is that once you’ve reached adulthood such aggressive dressing can have certain drawbacks, and you owe it to yourself not to have to endure attracting the “wrong” sort of attention. It pays to be aware of this subtext, especially in the workplace, and I’m always alarmed to read articles that present leather as a salvageable form of work-wear. If you’ve shelled out money for tight leather skirts and dresses then you may simply have to resign yourself to wearing these on only a few select, and appropriate occasions.
The morale of the story, if you want to play with leather this season then play it safe. Think subtle and classy, and avoid leaving too much uncovered (remember baby, it will be cold outside). Oh and don’t buy leather trousers just because they’re bright purple. I mean you’ll look amazing obviously, but at what cost? This season the focus is definitely on black.