Just when we thought it couldn’t get chicer, sleeker, or sexier, leather is indeed back this season in a humungous way. And leather pants are cropping up on all kinds of bodies. If you’re thinking of investing in a pair of leather pants, you’ll also be glad to know that leather—especially colourful leather—will be red hot for next spring, too. But the tendency of leather to look tough if not tempered with softer pieces or the right accessories could make leather pants questionable for some work environments. Still, I believe where there’s will there’s a way, and if you’re hell bent on wearing leather pants to the office this fall, I’d encourage you to do so, with a little restraint perhaps. Going for an all-leather look could definitely put you in the fetish department. So ditch your biker jacket when it comes to daywear, and try teaming your leather pants with feminine tops, in silk fabrics or fine knits. Even a soft chunky knit sweater would take the hard edge off your pants. If your pants are skin tight, you’ll want to go with a longer, looser top, maybe even a tunic. Or what about a great tweed, or colourful blazer? That would certainly tone the leather down. Choosing the right footwear is also essential. For example, I adore a spike-heeled bootie, but teamed with tight leather pants might not be the “daytime” look you’re after. Better to go with a low-heeled boot, or perhaps a classic riding boot. And simple ballet flats are always good for injecting an air of innocence to an outfit. But one of the hottest new trends is the mixing of leather and fabric within the same garment. There are some great leggings out there that combine wool or synthetic knit with stretchy leather (or faux leather), making for a interesting garment that has a bit of edge, but not too much. Still, you should take note that black leather does tend to look hard. What about looking for leather pants in burgundy or taupe? Even chocolate brown has a warmer feel. Or dare I suggest a demure shade of grey?
It is interesting to see that, despite the myriad labels available to women today, many of us still gravitate to the same old “tried and true” brands, and so many of the same pieces resonate with all of us. As a result, we’ve got a plethora of stylish women out there who look like multiple sets of The Bobsey Twins! Imagination is key as far as I’m concerned, and if the shops you frequent aren’t satisfying your needs with brands that are a little off the beaten track, you definitely should expand your retail horizons. I think one of the reasons that vintage shopping is so popular now is that we’re so bombarded with conventional “current” garments that we crave a bit of the exotic, and certainly, as you expressed, desire to look a little more original then the next gal. Of course, a lot of that has to do with cultivating a personal style for yourself that’s unique—whether it’s through the way you mix your pieces, or the unusual accessories you choose. As I often say, it’s not so much about the clothes we wear, but rather how we wear them. Still, it sounds to me like you need to think outside the style closet and start doing some research. There are a growing number of indie brands out there that might satiate your appetite for stuff that’s off the beaten track. And online shopping opens up a whole realm of possibilities. Good sites include www.etsy.com and www.modcloth.com But those are only a couple. Depending on your sensibility and price ranges, the sky is the limit. And don’t be shy when you do come across someone whose style you admire: Ask where they shop. They’ll undoubtedly be flattered. I’m always amazed when I travel across Canada to find charming boutiques stocked with like the spirited emporium in Halifax I just discovered called “Biscuit General Store”, with all sorts of new labels I’d never seen before, including some Canadian ones. Simply seek, and ye shall find.