September 26, 2022

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Best women’s leather clothing 2020: Skirts, blazers, trousers and shirts

Never underestimate the power of leather – it’s long since been associated with pop culture rebels, James Dean and Danny Zucko included, it’s a fabric for cool kids; think Kate Moss in those skin tight leather trousers in the mid Noughties.  

And while leather’s clearly been a key fabric across the decades, it heavily dominated the autumn/winter 20 catwalks, making it a stand out wardrobe mainstay.  

From fashion heavyweights, the likes of Balenciaga, Versace and Fendi, to emerging labels, such as Petar Petrov, the message from the runway was that when it comes to leather, more is more, and designers heavily championed the “Matrix” movement.  

Saint Laurent served vinyl across tailored suits and dresses, while Stella McCartney brought more fluidity to her silhouettes, sending faux leather tracksuits down the catwalk.  

Leather can seem a little daunting at first. But, playing with the trend needn’t be difficult. If you’re looking for a starting point that you can build on, try adding just one statement piece to you A/W wardrobe – we’d advise turning to a classic over shirt or a great pair of leather trousers. If you’re a seasoned pro, direct your energy towards mini dresses with fine line details, or go for leather for a Keanu Reeves-inspired look.  

With an array of covetable pieces on offer – from faux designs to real styles – there’s a lot to play with. And while real leather is often expensive, and perhaps not to your taste, there are plenty of high-quality faux leather options that feel just as luxurious and soft as the real thing. 

It is worth noting that while vegan leather is more ethical, it is created with PU – a type of plastic. However, many brands are sourcing new ways to craft it in a more sustainable way.  

The pieces within this round-up were chosen and tested based on looking and feeling high quality, the material being soft and supple, and the clothing items being versatile. 

From transitional skirts and dresses, to trousers, shirts and blazers, each of these will steal the show – go bold and conquer.  

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Topshop black faux leather tie shirt

You’ll see all sorts of variations of this leather overshirt this season. For an inherently cool look, wear with a white body and light wash jeans. Or, wear this oversized jacket over a fancy midi dress to make the look instantly more casual. A sturdy, yet soft material that will wear well.  If you’re looking for something other than black, give the tan colour a whirl.  

Pull & Bear faux leather shirt dress

This is everything you’d want from a leather dress and more; the affordable price point makes this an instant favourite and the cut makes for a great fit. A perfect transitional piece that will also see you through winter – when there’s a real chill in the air, wear a polo neck underneath and add a gold chain to break up the monotone. The buttery soft fabric felt high quality, and the fit is true to size.  

Monki faux leather shirt

The ultimate in elevated staples, this is a premium, yet affordable way to make your autumn outfits look more expensive; the supple fabric felt high-quality and the boxy cut was oversized. Perfect for tricky trans-seasonal dressing, but it will also be a trusty piece when the winter hits. When it comes to styling, it’s as versatile as it gets; throw on over a midi dress or an oversized white T-shirt and jeans. If you’re feeling adventurous, give double leather a go and pair with buttery soft leather trousers.  

M&S leather straight leg cropped trousers

Don’t let the scene from Friends when Ross gets stuck in a pair of leather trousers deter you from these. While a solid pair of leather trousers is a difficult thing to find, it may also be one that you feel intimidated to wear. But you shouldn’t. This pair from Marks & Spencer is made from 100 per cent leather, meaning they’re buttery soft and high quality. A class straight leg style – that is true to fit – we’d advise wearing these with a relaxed white T-shirt or earthy toned knits, and just about any shoe – plain white trainer, mules, or ankle boots. 

Reiss Eliza leather mini skirt

If you think your leather mini skirt wearing days should be left in the Eighties, think again. It is a wardrobe essential that can work at any age. This one from Reiss is crafted from 100 per cent and we did find the waist a little roomy, so you could try sizing down should you want a tighter fit. If you’re after an alternative to black, this one also comes in a dark brown colour.  The style would work well for the office – wear with a plain black T-shirt and throw on a white blazer for a pulled together look. Alternatively, dress up for a Friday night with a pair of strappy heels and slinky top. Versatility that we love.  

Mango leather effect straight trousers

If you’re after a more relaxed fit look no further. These affordable, yet cool-girl faux leather trousers are high quality, yet comfortable. While the fit is true to size, our 5”6 tester found that they were slightly long on the leg, and did require folding – but we liked how this looked too. We’d dress these up with a pair of strappy heels, or down with a pair of white trainers, and wear with an oversized linen shirt, or blue poplin blouse. 

& Other Stories front slit leather midi skirt

The style set has gone big for leather midis in the past, and they’re here to stay. While they’re a tad less practical than your other winter wardrobe essentials, they’re still every bit as necessary. The slight A-line cut is fitted at the waist and skims the silhouette, while the front slit works to balance out the structure and adds something a little different. Made from 100 per cent leather, this is an investment piece that will age well. The easiest way to wear this is to keep things polished and paired back,  throw on an oversized chunky knit, which you could loosely tuck in, and a pair of heeled boots – a shoe trend that is in this season.    

Ganni lamb leather dress in black

It’s likely that you will have seen iterations of this dress adorning your social media feeds during Copenhagen fashion week. The material felt soft, yet sturdy, and of a high quality. The wrap design accentuated the silhouette, and the length means it grazes the thigh. A nice change to “jeans and a nice top”, but also, it’ll slot nicely into your workwear wardrobe – wear with tights and biker boots, and you’re dressed for a day at the office. Pair with a candy coloured bag for a pop of colour and contrast.  It’s currently not available on the website, but keep your eyes peeled because it’s a beauty. 

The verdict: Leather clothing

Choosing an item from within this round-up is no mean feat – each piece was chosen based on its high quality, buttery soft fabric, and versatility. For an easy and affordable way to tap into the trend though we love the Topshop black faux tie shirt, which works well when tied or left open. We equally love the Pull & Bear faux leather shirt dress for a transitional autumn/winter essential.  

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.