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Leather pants are synonymous with rock stars, supermodels, bikers, and sex appeal. However, they’ve been seen on the legs of actresses and fashion icons stomping the streets, proving they can be casual-cool no matter your star status. 

The 1980s saw many leather and leather-like pants, often paired with bulky leather jackets and questionable hairstyles. Jump forward a few decades and the leather pant trend is far more flattering, cool, and chic (no Axl Rose bandanas in sight!).

If leather pants are calling your name but you’re at a loss for how to style them, we’ve answered your call. Welcome to our guide for how to make leather pants work for you. 


Cheat with leggings

Okay, if you were to go out and buy a pair of genuine leather pants, you’d be laying down a major chunk of cash. A great way to cheat is by opting for leather-style leggings, or coated jeggings. 

You can find some awesome options for a small cost, with various styles from high-waisted skinnies to mid-rise boot-cut. Look for a pair with a high-quality lining for comfort, and thick material to keep you locked in tight and avoid the “leggings as pants” look. 

The menswear shirt 

Celebrity inspiration: In the year 1980, Farrah Fawcett starred in a movie called ‘Saturn 3’ (we haven’t seen it either!). However, she wore a killer look consisting of high-waisted brown leather trousers, boots, and a loose-fitting menswear shirt rolled up to the elbow.  


  • Trawl the thrift shop to find men’s cotton shirts in crisp white, with a baggy, oversized fit you can roll, tie, and tuck easily 
  • Depending on the waistband of your leather pants, wear the shirt fully tucked (great for mid-rise pants), French tucked on one side, or left loose (great for high-waisted skinnies)
  • Roll up the shirt sleeves and wear the top few buttons undone for a slouchy, carefree, androgynous look 
  • Keep the look clean and chic by choosing sleek black leather heeled boots and keep the jewelry minimal or non-existent 

The slouchy sweater and heels 

Celebrity inspiration: A slouchy sweater is a magical piece of fashion. It has the power to make any outfit casual-yet-chic, carefree, and beautifully balanced when paired with high-end bottoms such as embellished skirts, luxury denim, and yes, leather pants.  

Olivia Palermo is the master of streetwear, styling her outfits with the right balance of “thrown together” and perfectly curated. 

Olivia has been seen wearing leather pants and sweaters multiple times.

For example, she paired straight-leg, cropped leather pants with a slouchy black knit sweater and snakeskin heels. She also rocked a pair of leather skinnies with a roll-neck sweater and pink strappy heels. Three items from totally different style backgrounds, but fusing perfectly. 


  • If your leather pants are high-waisted and wide or straight-leg, wear with a cropped, boxy sweater to balance out the proportions 
  • For tight, skinny leather pants or leggings, try an oversized, slouchy knit sweater (borrow one from a man in your life!), and don’t be afraid to go grungy with stylish holes and frayed edges
  • Juxtapose the tough leather and rugged sweater with a sweet pair of strappy heels in a feminine hue 


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The sheer blouse and blazer or jacket 

Celebrity inspiration: Jennifer Aniston, Beyonce, and Kim Kardashian have all worn leather pants with a sheer black blouse. The look is daring yet demure, and edgy yet feminine.

Let’s take it up another notch and add a blazer or jacket to make it a little smarter and potentially office-appropriate (if your workplace is awesome and accepts leather and sheerness!). 


  • Look for a slightly baggy blouse with a full button down so you can customize the neckline. Puffy sleeves and tie-style necklines give a vintage softness to contrast with the tough leather
  • Wear a long-line lace bralette under the sheer top for an extra level of texture
  • High-waisted leather pants work great for this look as they add extra coverage to the torso 
  • Double-up on leather by adding a leather biker jacket or even a leather-look blazer
  • To soften the leather and explore different textures, pick a tweed or knit blazer 

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

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