Treasured as it may be, leather’s gotten a reputation for being a winter fabric, and as temperatures rise and coats are peeled off, you can begin to understand why. But this year, consider spring 2011 to be a reclamation of leather: with designers infusing the fabric into their seasonal staples, it’s safe to say we’ve come a long way from bombers or heavy pants a la Ross Geller.
It’s safe to assume that you’ll need a jacket off-and-on until at least Victoria Day, so for the two months in between, you can invest in a leather jacket that – we promise – differs from the bomber you’ve associated with snowsqualls since November. Designers like Burberry Prorsum showcased quilted biker jackets in their spring 2011 collection (in shades like black and silver) while the likes of Joseph Altuzarra combined the season’s love of white with the practicality of leather. Rest assured that the days of stereotypical are through: with fringe, cropped sleeves and sharp, clean lines, leather jackets are limitless for 2011.
True, donning leather shorts can be risky. But provided you abide by the same rules that you do when wearing the standard thing, you can boast the season’s denim alternative with serious confidence. Designers like Chloe and Chanel – so you know this is a look you can get behind – showcased flat front styles with relatively high waists and minimal length (so you may want to opt for tights), while Ralph Lauren maintained his season’s cowboy aesthetic with longer, fringed styles in neutral tones. The moral of the story? Hot pants may be over – but worn with button-ups, blazers and even tucked-in, oversize plaid, leather shorts are far from it.
Rest assured that spring 2011’s leather skirts are a far cry from their short, near-scandalous mid-90s counterparts – especially since this season’s skirt and dress lengths are found on the other side of the knee. Michael Kors proved that pairing a loose-fitting t-shirt with a brown midi-pencil skirt further removes leather from its harsh, winter connotations, while Ralph Lauren maintained the rodeo spirit with fringed, knee-length styles that, despite their embellishments, could easily be office appropriate – especially when paired with a crisp white button-up blouse and wood-and-leather platform shoes.
Of course, the simplest way to wear leather into spring is to start small. While you can count on Ralph Lauren for leather belts and necklaces, it’s the season’s bags that deliver a profound leather statement without needing you to break too far out of your comfort zone. Satchels inspired by the late 1970s and early 1980s are innately structured and bold, while cross-body bags can boast various shades and colours in addition to embellishments like fringe and metallics. Thus, if you’re not willing to don a jacket, skirt or shorts, let bags be your escape: with so many available styles, you can take countless risks without re-vamping your wardrobe.