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How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

By Wardrobeoxygen @wardrobe_oxygen
How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

Faux leather leggings have been a fashion trend for several years (seriously I was discussing the style merits 0f faux leather leggings back in 2016) and they don't seem to be going away any time soon. But what to wear with leather leggings, be they real or faux? This post originally was published in 2018 but because this trend is so popular, I updated it with looks appropriate for thisyear. Below I share how to style faux leather leggings, with a focus on the styles of faux leather leggings from Spanx.

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How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

Faux leather leggings are a bold move, and not one that can be worn anywhere and with anything. One false move and you end up looking like Sandy at the end of "Grease" (no shade on "after" Sandy, that was my dream look for most of my tween and teen years). But let's focus on the everyday...

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

This is a classic way to style faux leather leggings - with booties and a sweater. What makes this look work is the details. The sweater is a chunky knit which balances the slick and fitted look of the leggings. The sweater has a high-low hem which provides coverage without having the sweater resemble a dress and the strategic knit flatters the figure. If ivory isn't your thing this sweater is available in five other colors and comes in plus sizes. Instead of trying to match the faux leather of the leggings, consider a print. Snakeskin is a hot trend this season and a way to add texture and trend to a simple ensemble. What makes these booties great is they're not only stylish but also waterproof! They too come in a variety of colors. Modern hoops add a bit of shine without competing with the other details of the look.

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings
leggings | blazer (available in extended sizes) | turtleneck (available up to size 40) | booties | laptop commuter tote | earrings

If you work in a creative office, you may be able to get away with leather leggings. The key is to ensure your rear is properly covered. Look for boyfriend-style blazers to cover beyond the waistband without adding bulk. Go sleek and sophisticated by pairing the blazer with a fitted stretchy turtleneck (wear untucked and ruched at the hips with the jacket open or buttoned up). Consider a sock bootie that will slide under the leggings to provide and unbroken body line.

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

Because faux leather leggings have such a trim fit, they're great to wear with longer tunics and shorter dresses. The black shine of the faux leather leggings can stand up to a bold color. A pair of flats with a pointed toe will elongate the look and keep it from looking like loungewear. A long necklace will break up the block of color and add a modern touch.

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

Skinny faux leggings are great for balancing out a top with plenty of volume. This blouse works because it is a lightweight fabric with layers that catch the breeze; a heavier fabric may cling to the leggings and feel weighed down. As for the boots, combat-inspired styles are very on trend this season and the little pop of color complements the blouse while also adding an element of style. Add gold accessories to complete the look.

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings

Faux or real leather leggings are so sleek and chic. Play up these characteristics with more of the same. A black cashmere turtleneck (again look for one that is a bit longer) pairs nicely with the shine and brings elegance to the leggings. For a downtown cool factor, pair with trendy sneakers, small yet sassy earrings, and switch out your handbag for a backpack. A look this chic can work with a fresh face and messy topknot, or maybe a swipe of red lipstick.

How to Style Faux Leather Leggings
leggings (plus size version) | sweater (straight sizes) | shoes | bag | necklace

This is what I'd consider the most everyday way to wear the and a pair of comfortable shoes in a material that contrasts with the leggings. Spanx faux leggings or any leather leggings. A longer sweater bootie/sneaker hybrid like the ones in the imageThis sweater comes in seven colors. I think sneakers are the best pairing, but a suede bootie or is a great alternative. Don't go crazy with the accessories; the shine of the leggings make so much of a statement that too much jewelry will veer into Las Vegas or evening territory. With colors, keep them simple. Primary colors can sometimes look too dressy or bold for casual situations. Soft pastels, neutrals, and muted shades will beautifully balance the sheen of faux or real leather leggings.

What Shoes to Wear with Faux Leather Leggings?

The best choice is a pair of sneakers. Whether they're trainers or a trendy pair, the juxtaposition of athletic gear with leather is quite chic and will steer you clear from "Sandy" territory.

If you're looking to dress up the leggings for work or evening, consider a pair of pointed-toe flats, or a boot with a bit of toughness.

Sleek ankle booties and pumps in black leather may be a safe bet, but the look can be too superhero. If you choose this kind of shoe, be sure to balance the look with a clearly professional and polished or relaxed and voluminous top.

What To Wear (and What Not to Wear) with Faux Leather Leggings

While you can wear whatever the heck you want and I will completely support you and root you on, if you're unsure how to style leather leggings here's some tips on what not to do to make them look as stylish as possible.

  • Don't pair your leather leggings with a leather jacket. This will take you from "Sandy" territory to Leather Tuscadero territory. If you need to wear a jacket, consider a cargo jacket in a neutral like olive or a denim jacket.
  • Balance the shine with other textures. Faux leather leggings with shiny satin or sequins is only appropriate in Vegas or on stage. For the everyday, you want to temper the shine of leather. Fleece, chunky knit sweaters, cashmere, denim, and angora are all great fabric to pair with the leggings to keep the look luxe yet relatable.
  • Keep Jewelry Delicate. Big, bold pieces paired with shiny black leggings can end up being too much of a look. Delicate chains, small rings, a single watch or chain bracelet, thin hoops or studs is often the best choice when styling leather leggings.
  • Don't Be a Trend Salad. Leather leggings are a lot of look, and usually look best with more subtle pairings. They're not the thing to wear with a cold shoulder or sheer blouse or statement shoes. If the rest of your outfit is a bit quieter your leather leggings then can sing.
  • Add Polish. While faux leather leggings look more refined than traditional leggings, they can easily veer into athleisure if styled with more relaxed pieces. Oversized sweatshirts, cocoon cardigans, and sweater coats can make you look as though you just rolled out of bed. Add a bit of tailoring or an accessory to make it clear this is not loungewear.
  • Think Contrasts Not Costume. Rocker leather leggings with a corporate blazer. Black leather with cashmere in a soft pastel color. The shine of the leggings paired with chambray or a plaid flannel. The way to make these leggings look great is to treat them as though they aren't leather; style them as you would a pair of skinny pants or ponte leggings and you'll have the best results and not look like you're wearing a costume.

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