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A leather jacket has the incredible ability to tie any look together, whether it’s a top and ripped jeans, or a ladylike, floral dress. The 1980s was home to many iconic leather jackets, from Michael Jackson’s red and black wonder from “Thriller”, to the bomber jackets of “Top Gun”.
Forward to the current year and leather jackets are a staple street-style piece for every influencer, off-duty model, and actress working the red carpet.
You don’t need to live the biker lifestyle, own a motorcycle, or be an “it girl” to rock a leather jacket, as there’s a style to suit any outfit, any taste, any occasion. It goes without saying that if leather isn’t your thing, go for faux leather! Rock it the Micheal way!
Let’s get to it: our guide for how to style the classic, iconic, always-cool leather jacket…
Classic streetwear: biker jacket, blue jeans, plain tee, and boots
Celebrity inspiration: Kristen Stewart and Kate Moss are true connoisseurs of the easy-going yet painfully cool leather jacket and jeans look.
There’s something so effortless and ever so slightly masculine about the simple combo of leather and blue denim, pared back to suit the chic requirements of 2020.
- Wear your black leather jacket over a basic cotton t-shirt tucked into the band of your favourite blue jeans. Low V-necklines create a frame for the face and show a peep of skin to contrast the otherwise covered-up look
- For a vintage-inspired take, try a pair of high-waisted flared jeans with a cropped leather jacket in a structured cut
- Worn, lived-in denim always works best with leather, further pushing that “I’ve been up all night but I still look fabulous” look
- Mirror the leather jacket with a pair of heeled leather biker boots, or go the sleek route with slimline stiletto boots
- Add an extra layer of texture with a hint of gold jewellery such as a gold hoop in the ear, or a pair of moody black sunglasses
Earth-tones: tan-brown leather layered with white linen
Celebrity inspiration: Let’s shuffle back another decade and take inspiration from the earthy tones of the 1970s, with tan leather and creamy natural fibers. Supermodel Gigi Hadid perfects this easy look, complete with glowing skin, flowing hair, and carefree weekend vibes.
- Every wardrobe should have at least one white linen button-down shirt! Layer it under a fitted tan leather jacket, with the shirt collar popped out
- Play around with the look by trying different bottoms, from worn blue flares to embellished skirts. You’ll be surprised at how versatile the white linen and brown leather jacket combo really is amazing
Make it work-friendly by tucking the shirt into a pair of black cotton wide-leg or cigarette trousers, and wear your jacket over the shoulders like a cape
Play with proportions: oversized jacket layered over a crop top
Celebrity inspiration: The beautiful Hailey Bieber (and her gang of model friends) constantly show us ways to make the crop top trend look high-fashion and fresh.
Hailey has been snapped countless times with her perfect midriff peeping under a crop, with a black leather jacket slung over the top. Whether it’s on the streets with hubby, or posing on the carpet, Hailey’s the go-to leather jacket queen of 2020.
- Juxtapose a fitted crop with a baggy, roomy, 80s-style leather jacket with puffed sleeves and fringe
- Balance the cropped style with fuller-coverage bottoms. Think high-waisted wide-legged pants, a high-waisted midi skirt, or high-waisted shorts for the warmer season
- For winter-wear, try a cropped sweater in a cashmere or mohair knit, in a sweet tone of pale pink or yellow to offset the grunge attitude of the leather jacket
Soft meets hard: a feminine dress with a moto-jacket
Celebrity inspiration: a tried and true way to style a leather jacket is to layer an ultra-feminine dress in a floral or embellished pattern with the punk-like toughness of the leather.
Alexa Chung is a master of layering textures and making almost anything look chic, whether she’s supermarket shopping or being photographed.
- A cropped, structured leather jacket looks stunning over a 50s style fit-and-flare midi dress with a cinched waist
- Look out for a blazer-style leather jacket and wear over an embellished mini with heels for the ultimate going-out look
- A ditsy-print, 90s-style bias cut spaghetti strap midi dress looks incredible with a leather moto-jacket complete with studded details
- If dresses aren’t your thing, go for the ultimate mix-and-match with a floral skirt, graphic tee (tucked in), and a pair of strappy heels or heeled ankle boots
- Play up the feminine look with glowy, pink-hued makeup and soft curls