Iconic skirt sheds its bad-girl image and heads to the office
By JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Published: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Leather skirts were all the rage on the fashion runways, and the trend is reaching women's wardrobes for the office.
“The leather skirt is perfect for fall, and with so many choices, from embellishments to lengths to colors, it is a must-have for every woman,” says Josh Saterman, Macy's fashion director. “It doesn't have to be real leather, either, because a lot of the newer materials look like the real thing. It is a piece that is appropriate to wear to the office and can be the perfect day-to-night piece.”
Start with a blazer and boots for work, and switch to an embellished top and pumps for the evening, Saterman says. Try a skirt with mixed materials, such as suede or a stretch fabric, he says.
One of the best aspects of a leather skirt is its versatility, says Suzanne Mauro, a stylist accredited by the Association of Image Consultants International and host of “Style Everyday with Suz” on PCTV. The key is to buy one that flatters your figure and is appropriate for multiple occasions, she says.
“Leather naturally hugs your body, so if you're fuller-figured, you might look better in an A-line or pleated style rather than a classic pencil style,” Mauro says. “A tight mini isn't your only option for leather or pleather skirts anymore. Pick a slightly longer or fuller shape.”
A leather skirt is a timeless piece of clothing, says Roberta Weissburg, owner of Roberta Weissburg Leathers in Shadyside and SouthSide Works.
“You can go short or long, full or straight, and leather skirts are available in many colors,” she says. “If you are buying your first one, go for a basic color and style. Leather skirts can come in everything from a clean cut to rough edges. They can be quilted or rustic looking.”
A high-end leather skirt is worth the investment, Weissburg says. A lesser-quality skirt might tear or stretch out of shape, she adds.
The leather skirt is an instant update to any wardrobe, says Gwendolyn Covington, Zappos style editor of women's fashion and casual. She agrees a leather skirt can and should be worn to the office this fall. However, be mindful of length. Keeping it right above or at the knee is work-appropriate.
Because leather skirts are trending, they are a great way to wake up your 9-to-5 wardrobe. Pair one with a soft, printed blouse in a neutral tone, and throw on pearls and pumps.
“A leather skirt screams ‘effortless fashionista' in every way and has evolved into the iconic item of the season,” Covington says. “The color palette of leather ranges from butter-soft pinks and nudes to strong and serious navy and deep forest green. Leather skirt treatments and textures have also been upgraded and are now perforated, have fun cutouts or unfinished hems for a raw, edgier look. Styling around your leather skirt is where all the fun starts.”
She suggests pairing a skirt with a classic white, button-up shirt and blazer for day, and switching to a strapless, sparkly number to go out at night.
Leather was once considered luxurious and for special occasions, says Kate Dimmock, People Style Watch fashion director, but now is as common as jeans.
“It used to be super-edgy and not worn all the time, but now it is so much more common to see leather everywhere you go,” she says. “Try a leather skirt in a pink hue as a way to brighten up those dreary weather days ahead.”
Make sure to balance the sweetness of the pink with a darker color. Pair a leather skirt with something more basic to take some of the edge off, she says.
“There is just something so nice about wearing leather in how it molds to your body, and it can become a special piece in your wardrobe,” Dimmock says. “Part of its appeal is that it is durable. If you can only buy one, opt for a leather pencil skirt.”
Wearing leather used to have a stigma, but not anymore, she says.
“Color, color, color,” says Lindsay Huggins, senior fashion market editor for Self magazine. “We have seen so much color in leather on the runways, starting with pinks in summer that carried over into forest greens and oxbloods for fall. There are a variety of silhouettes from the pencil skirt to a fuller skirt with loose pleats. Leather looks upscale and sophisticated and is a must-have item for fall,” she says.
“It is kind of a seasonless piece,” Huggins says. “Just don't overdo it and pair it with a leather jacket, unless you are going to a rock concert.”
Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director, says skirts that are available in “vegan leather” — imitation leather — usually have more embroidery and detail.
“The beauty of the leather skirt is it has become a traditional piece in a woman's wardrobe,” he says. “It is not just for the biker-girl look or the bad-girl look. It can work for most women.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.
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