Add a lick of leather

Johannesburg - Everyone loves a little leather, and it happens to be one of the hottest trends for this year’s winter season. But how do you wear it without looking like your alter ego is a dominatrix or you’ve just joined a biker gang?

The key to looking stylish in leather is to consider the detail and the cut, say the fashionistas. If worn correctly, leather can look sexy and sophisticated, never trashy.

A model wears a leather embellished outfit by Thula Sinddi. Picture: Simon Deiner / SDR PhotoDetachable leather peplum nelt, R490, Errol Arendz DuSud winter collectionPeplum Leather Trim Dress, R2200, Errol Arendz DuSud winter collectionDouble zip knit skirt, R1100, Errol Arendz DuSud winter collectionCocoon coat with leather sleeves R3200, Errol Arendz DuSud winter collectionSissy Boy cream leather jacket, R1199.00

“Less is more,” says designer Errol Arendz, the name behind the ready-to-wear collection, DuSud. “A touch of leather adds that chic edge to your outfit. You can achieve this by investing in items of clothing that have leather trimmings or accents.”

The pencil skirt, a winter staple, has been glammed up this season with leather trimmings, for instance. “Team it up with a crisp white shirt and a fitted blazer and you have a work-ready outfit,” says Arendz.

Candice-Lee Kannemeyer, stylist and author of the fashion blog, says a leather pencil skirt doesn’t have to be black. “It can be a burgundy or tobacco colour, but avoid bright tones. And avoid leather pants. That’s just not office-appropriate,” she says.

Arendz says a great investment piece this winter is a trench coat with leather arms. “It’s on-trend this season, and will also last you for seasons to come. Another winter essential is the classic leather jacket. Opt for a well-tailored and fitted leather jacket.”

Kannemeyer, too, likes a simple leather jacket, “or a top with a leather pocket or trim, in faux leather that’s washable”.

At Topshop, popular choices are leggings panelled with faux leather, and faux leather skater skirts. “The leather look is doing well, but it’s about complementing an outfit, not defining it,” says Topshop brand manager Lauren Avgitidis.

If you want to go with a bold leather piece, Arendz suggests you team it with simpler garments to make sure your leather item is the star of the show. “And don’t be afraid to play with colours. A black tailored leather jacket over a hot poppy-pink shirt gives it that wow factor, or pair the jacket up with a pair of cobalt blue pants for a more sophisticated look.”

Kannemeyer is more classic in her approach. “You want to pair leather with soft fabrics, to achieve a glamorous yet modern look. I like a classic silk white shirt with a leather skirt,” she says.

As for accessories, Arendz is a fan of a classic leather belt to cinch in the waist, “or if you want to make more of a style statement, then something like the bold detachable leather peplum belt”.

Kannemeyer adds that a good pair of leather boots is always worth the investment, as is a “beautiful red leather bag”. “A red leather bag really lifts a classic outfit, and it works beautifully with blue or green. A must in every woman’s wardrobe.”

Leather is an investment, so take care of your clothes. “Treat leather items with a leather and suede protectant and spray your clothing before going out, especially on a cold, wet and windy day,” says Arendz. If it does get wet, hang it up on a hanger to dry naturally at room temperature.

“There is no age limit to wearing leather. Leather can be worn at virtually any age, as long as the cut is tailored and accentuates your features instead of hiding them.” - The Star