I’ve always had a thing for leather — it has the power to take almost any look from ho-hum to rock star in an instant. I was 13 when I wore it for the first time. My mom loaned me her worn-in brown leather coat, which I’d always admired, to wear to the movies. I felt like a true badass walking into the Bowmanville Cineplex that night. Leather can be timeless (a tailored jacket) or trendy (a fringed mini skirt). From blazers to bomber jackets, fitted pants to leggings, trimmed dresses to pencil skirts; there’s a perfect leather (or faux leather, depending on your preference) piece out there for everyone.
When I was 19, Mom passed down another leather number — this time, a snug moto jacket that looked great with everything from skinny jeans to maxi dresses. My weight has fluctuated since she gave it to me, but I could still make it work by not zipping it up until last month (ugh). I was in a Forever 21 fitting room when I could not get my beloved leather jacket off. I was warm from walking around the mall and the leather was sticking to my bare arms. I was in a full-on Ross Geller meltdown. I started to panic under the hot lights, only making it worse, and I was not about to ask the 16-year-old sales guy for assistance. Finally, after what felt like a 5-minute struggle, I was able to shimmy out of it. I haven’t worn it since, and I miss its presence in my wardrobe. Which means that at age of 29, it’s time for me to purchase my very own leather jacket.
I’m starting the search by finding the proper fit — no more change room incidents. Real leather will stretch a little after several wears, so I recommend purchasing it snug (not tight). Faux-leather options tend to stay true to size. If you have a larger bustline, look for silhouettes that nip in around the waist (either with a belt or just strategically cut) to create an hourglass line. That said, try on a variety of tops to make sure you can comfortably wear a chunky knit underneath. There’s nothing worse than bringing home a chic new coat to find it won’t fit over your favourite sweater.
Another element to remember is the quality. Real leather is pricey, but typically outlasts faux-leather. There are also some very well-made vegan leather options. If you’re looking for longevity, stick with super-versatile neutral shades like black, charcoal or deep jewel tones over a print or metallic.
I’m still on the hunt for my new jacket, but I have picked up a few pieces. In the meantime, I’m getting lots of wear (and compliments) out of my faux-leather leggings. Best of all, I feel like my badass self again.
The coolest (faux and real) leather to love right now