Play hide and chic in leather

Published: Sunday 9th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Remember when the only dresses rendered in leather were either skin-tight or super-short – or both? Not any more.

A knee-length frock (whether straight cut or with a full 50s skirt) certainly shakes off the racy connotations that a leather pencil dress might have, even in black, and shades like caramel and plum soften the look even more.

Likewise, a leather or faux midi skirt is feminine but practical for winter. To offset the tough textile, pair it with a fine wool or cashmere rollneck and add court heels if you’re worried the midi length could be overwhelming on a petite figure. Alternatively, take a 60s-style tunic and wear with opaque tights and suede boots for a cool texture mix.

Try the PU Leather Look Illusion Dress, £55 (currently reduced from £69), AVA by Mark Heyes for Marisota (

How to dial up the fun factor with leather? Easy, go from matte to metallic with your accessories.

A shiny leather bag is like an instant dopamine hit on a wet day, plus it’s way more practical than all the faux-fur that’s in the shops this season. Silver is the most versatile choice, a great pairing with almost any outfit, but for a real feel-good treat, reach for rainbow hues like pink, purple or royal blue.

Think you won’t get enough wear out of a technicolour tote? Then grab a mirror-bright clutch or pair of heels, make them the focus of an all-black evening ensemble, and watch the compliments flood in.

Try the Taylor Tote, £310, Brix + Bailey (

And white leather in winter is not as unorthodox as you might think.

The counterpoint to rock chick black, matte leather in ivory or cream actually works well for evening. Take a pair of pale coordinates, like a boxy tee and matching skirt, and wear with dark strappy sandals, then separate and you’ve doubled your daywear options.

Think of a white leather shirt as you would its denim counterpart, pairing with black skinny jeans or tucking it into a midi skirt, or fake it with a detachable PU collar.

Switch out your black biker jacket for a dove grey version or bomber, choosing a loose, minimalist style that’s big enough to layer over a fluffy jumper for extra warmth.

Try the White Leather Shirt, £175, and Leather Pencil Skirt, £175, both Marques’Almeida X Topshop (

Leather doesn’t have to be minimalist to be modern – touch-me textures and flippy fringing add interest to monochrome pieces.

Laser-cut detailing tempers the gothic overtones of a leather LBD, making for a pretty cocktail frock. With such intricate detailing, it’s best to keep jewellery fuss-free – just a sleek gold necklace and cuff bracelet will do.

Same goes for prints and leather fringing. There’s something fun about a bag or jacket that swishes when you walk, but stick to one fringed piece to avoid edging overload, or pick one animal motif per outfit, rather than a jungle’s worth of hides.

Try the Dickins & Jones Cap Sleeve Leather Dress, £167.30 (currently reduced from £239), House of Fraser (

Copyright Press Association 2014

Published: Sunday 9th November 2014 by The News Editor

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