The Fashion Memo

The Chicest Ways To Wear Leather Pants

Synonymous with rock legends and the punk scene, leather pants are a stylish way to toughen up any outfit. But reimagined, tailored silhouettes have lent this rebellious closet icon a modern refinement. Read on for the most coveted cuts and ultimate styling tips…

Words Kara KiaFashion assistant Nell Turner

Few pieces of clothing can claim to have the same enduring appeal as a great pair of leather pants. Of course, there are closet staples such as classic blue jeans or a structured blazer that every woman ought to have in her arsenal, but leather pants somehow feel both essential and exciting. They were a core part of the greaser uniform in the 1950s before being co-opted by rock ’n’ roll and punk royalty in the ’70s and ’80s. Fast-forward to 2023 and they’re as relevant as ever – a testament to their transcendence and timeless design.

In recent seasons, designers have been moving away from more body-conscious cuts in favor of straight- and wide-leg styles with an inherent sense of ease. Crucially, these updated leather pants are also even easier to style than their predecessors. Take your cues from the street-style set and complement classic black leather with brightly colored knitwear; or try the double-leather look with a matching jacket and glossy boots. For an elevated casual look, pair leather pants with a tonal tank top, camel-colored trench and sunglasses.

It’s also worth noting that, while black is still the de facto shade when it comes to leather pants, increasingly, more designers are playing with neutral tones, too. Wandler’s ‘Chamomile’ pants are cut from versatile cream-colored leather that has a dressed-up feel to it. For an effortless desk-to-dinner look, style with a silk camisole, wool jacket and mules. Meanwhile, Alessandra Rich’s version is inspired by the free-spirited energy of summer music festivals, with a love-worn finish and tonal brown flames along the hems. Wear with a halter top in a bold hue, platform sandals and oversized sunglasses to complete the look.

Elsewhere, pioneering labels are offering rich, inky shades in a variety of vintage cuts. Agolde’s sleek, ’90s-inspired straight-leg pants are sure to become a go-to in your closet for date nights or dancing until dawn. Pair yours with a second-skin sweater, metallic sandals and statement rings for a night out.

Meanwhile, Interior’s ‘Marlowe’ style – which is a NET-A-PORTER exclusive – comes in a patent-leather finish that feels distinctly rock ’n’ roll. Wear yours with a graphic-print top, leather jacket and combat boots. And for a piece with an air of contemporary minimalism, look no further than Khaite. The label’s supple, straight-leg ‘Hewey’ pants have an understated textured finish that can easily be dressed up or down. Style with a crisp shirt and white sneakers for a chic casual look, or wear with a bustier and colorful strappy sandals after dark.

How to care for leather clothing

Here’s how to cherish your pieces for longer, according to Layla Sargent, founder & CEO of repair-and-alterations service The Seam:

“Leather garments should never be placed in a regular wash. Leather is essentially a skin, and so its porous nature must be treated carefully to avoid distorting the texture or cracking the finish. Laundry detergents can remove the finishing from the hide, so, instead, choose natural leather conditioners and apply with a damp cloth or sponge. After cleaning the surface, it’s important to add a leather moisturizer or balm to prevent cracking, as the item can dry out.

“Synthetic leathers behave very differently from genuine ones, as they are typically made from plastics or more innovative plant fibers, and sealed with a coating to give them a leather-like surface. These synthetic coatings lack the self-healing properties of true leather, so it’s important to take extra care in avoiding scuffs and snags. Don’t wear sharp jewelry around synthetic-leather clothes, and take care to store away from jagged zippers or sharp corners. If synthetic-leather items show signs of dirt, attempt to wipe it away with a damp cloth, and turn to a dry cleaner or specialist when in doubt.”

Find out how to extend the life of your clothes with our Repair & Rewear service, powered by The Seam


The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown