12 On-Trend Ways to Wear Leather Pants (Plus One Look to Definitely Avoid)

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When we think of leather pants, the very first images that pop into our head are of rock stars like Mick Jagger and Joan Jett, quickly followed by the head-to-toe leather uniforms of hard-core bikers. But the luxe material doesn’t have to give you such a rough-and-tumble edge and can, in fact, look incredibly posh. According to data from the shopping platforms Lyst and Klarna, shoppers are stocking up on real and faux leather pants for winter in lots of different colors and cuts. So if you too were hoping to hop on this sleek trend, we’ve pulled together 12 stylish outfits to wear on repeat (plus advice on one look that’s best avoided for now), whether you’re headed to work, date night or just running some weekend errands.

How to Clean a Leather Jacket (Because You Probably Haven’t Since You Bought Yours)

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1. Button-Down Shirt + Straight-Leg Trousers + Ankle Boots

One of the easiest and most foolproof ways to rock leather pants is to pair straight-leg styles of any color with a classic white button-down and some sleek ankle boots. Even better if your boots are also in a contrasting hue, like the white snakeskin booties and black pants above.

Shop similar styles: Good American Good Icon Faux-Leather Pants ($180); Ever New Belted Trench Coat ($182; $146); J.Crew Cotton-Poplin Button-Up Shirt ($90); INC International Concepts Floriann Boots ($100; $45)

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2. Denim Shirt + Dark Leather Trousers

We love this combo because it will keep you nice and warm without piling on too many layers or thick materials. The denim also helps balance any potential rock star vibes leather may give off, especially if you’re wearing a patent finish. Keep your accessories simple and err on the side of casual over glamorous and you’ll be good to go.

Shop similar styles: Alexia Admor Faux-Leather Pants ($179; $70); Madewell Denim Button-Up Shirt ($85); Mix No. 6 Danyah Heels ($40)

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3. Blazer + T-shirt + High-Waist Pants

Another way to ground glam leather is with a tailored black or navy blazer for a more professional finish. A button-down or blouse and heels can amp up the office vibes, while a T-shirt and sneakers give you a more weekend-ready look.

Shop similar styles: Commando Paperbag Waist Faux-Leather Pants ($198); Topshop Oversize Twill Blazer ($84); Everlane Organic Cotton Box-Cut T-shirt ($30); Koio Retro Runners Sneakers ($295)

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4. Sporty Jacket or Fleece + Classic Black Leather

This combo works particularly well with straight-leg, flared or other loose pant silhouettes (rather than leather leggings or slim cuts). We also prefer opting for color-block fleeces or zip-ups over sweatshirts, which can feel a bit too random a pairing. Finish with a pointy-toe shoe or clean white sneaker and maybe a pop of color in the form of a crossbody bag or clutch.

Shop similar styles: Agolde ’90s Recycled Leather Pants ($348); Z Supply Fleece Jacket ($120); Nine West Workin Heels ($95)

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5. Colorful Leather + Matching Sweater

Green, red or purple leathers (or other even other hues) can feel really bold—especially for those who stick to more muted palettes—but you can easily tone them down by wearing them with matching knitwear or even a plain tee. If your pant legs fit more loosely, try tucking in your top to maintain some shape. On the flip side, if they’re slimmer in cut try a French tuck or just leave it loose for a better balance.

Shop similar styles: L’Academie Madi Leather Pants ($578); English Factory Cable-Knit Sweater ($90); Franco Sarto Pisa Square-Toe Boots ($150); Oroton Margot Mini Day Bag ($349)

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6. Solid Pastels or Bright Shades + Dark-Hued Leather

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the colors above, dark neutrals—like black, brown or navy—serve as a perfect base to highlight brighter tops, shoes and accessories. We love this unexpected combo of chocolate brown, pistachio green and hot pink, which helps the heavy leather fabric feel much more appropriate for spring or even summer.

Shop similar styles: Citizens of Humanity Jolene Leather Pants ($448); TnaButter Muscle Top ($40); J.Crew Cashmere Sweater ($128); True Decadence Mini Bag ($44); Jimmy Choo Maelie 70 Heels ($595)

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7. Textured Knit and Pants + Patterned Shoes

If your leather has some texture to it, opt for a textured sweater as well to really amp up the effect of each. Patterned shoes in a leopard print, stripe or floral will also help emphasize a rib knit or croc-embossed trouser.

Shop similar styles: Wolf & Badger Embossed Faux-Leather Pants ($148); Abercrombie & Fitch LuxeLoft Sweater ($70); Larroudé Erin Clutch ($325); Cole Haan Vandam Slingback Heels ($150)

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8. Oversize Sweater + Jogger-Style Pants + Loafers

We wouldn’t typically recommend wearing multiple oversize pieces at once, but if you opt for luxe materials like leather and cashmere, the look can actually be incredibly chic. Two caveats: First, make sure you show either a little ankle with a cropped hem or roll your sleeves above your wrists to show some skin and maintain some semblance of your figure; and second, opt for a structured shoe, like penny loafers, to add some polish to the look.

Shop similar styles: Abercrombie & Fitch Sunday Faux-Leather Joggers ($90); Totême Wool-Cashmere Sweater ($650); The Drop Addison Bag ($40); Reformation Agathea Chunky Loafers ($248)

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9. Colorful Leather + White and Beige Basics

Give your olive green or lilac purple pants room to really shine by keeping all the other elements of your outfit super simple in light, solid hues. We also suggest sticking to more tailored silhouettes—trench coats, crewneck tees, simple flats—rather than loose boho styles or overly tight pieces.

Shop similar styles: Show Me Your Mumu Tribeca Faux-Leather Pants ($158); GAP Mac Trench Coat ($128); Madewell Brightside Cotton T-shirt ($42); Rothy’s The Point Flats ($149)

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10. Cropped Grunge Sweater + Leather Pants + Sneakers

Like lots of ’90s trends, grunge is having something of a comeback, albeit with a more polished edge this time around. Rather than rock a truly disheveled sweater or flannel, try an artfully distressed knit in a cropped cut. As for footwear, swap the Dr. Martens for sporty sneakers to complete your look.

Shop similar styles: Madewell The Perfect Vintage Faux-Leather Pants ($138); Pistola Eva Sweater ($188); Nike Court Vision Sneakers ($75)

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11. Y2K Top + Leather Trousers

Y2K styles are also having a moment, with funky little cut-out sweaters, cropped sweater sets and slim-fit baby tees popping up everywhere we look. Rather than wear them with other 2000s-era staples, like low-rise jeans, upgrade these throwback styles with a pair of tailored leather trousers in a dark neutral hue. Be sure to accessorize with other refined pieces, like a sleek shoulder bag or minimalist sandals, to keep things looking modern and grown-up.

Shop similar styles: Banana Republic Faux-Leather Pants ($90; $45); Lapointe Cut-Out Sweater ($750); Tory Burch Kira Crossbody Bag ($348); Steve Madden Lilah Sandals ($70; $48)

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12. Tailored Black from Head to Toe

When in doubt, simply grab all the poshest black pieces in your wardrobe, tie your hair back in a slick bun and prepare to channel your inner Olsen twin.

Shop similar styles: Pistola Stevie Faux-Leather Pants ($158); Naadam Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater ($350); Little Liffner Tulip Tote ($538); Jack Rogers Jacks Sandals ($128)

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Don’t: Leather Moto Jacket + Leather Pants

We’ve seen versions of this work, but overall, it’s just too difficult to get that perfect match without veering into full biker mode or like you’re the Cruella De Vil of cattle. Leather blazers, pants, trench coats and midi skirts are all trending this fall, but we highly suggest picking just one leather piece to wear at a time rather than attempting to pair them together. If you really want to try head-to-toe leather, choose a jacket with a much less expected design, like a shacket, blazer or even a safari jacket.