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The 20 Best Leather Pants That Will Make You Feel Impossibly Chic

WWD 10/26/2022 Aemilia Madden

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Trends come and go, but timeless wardrobe staples, like jeans, sneakers, white tank tops, and the best leather pants for women, can last for years. Women’s leather pants have a kind of staying power — hard to find elsewhere in your closet — proven by the attention they’ve held by fashion’s rule breakers. They’re the chosen uniform of early Rock and Roll stars like Jim Morrison and Elvis Presley. Later in the 1999’s cyberpunk saga, they were embraced by The Matrix — a reference recently resurrected at fashion houses like Balenciaga and Ann Demeulemeester.

But, despite their longstanding ties to those pushing trends on the punk end of the fashion spectrum, the best women’s leather pants are a crucial staple in even the most minimalist wardrobes. Thanks to the diversity of options on the market these days — whatever color, rise, or leg silhouette fits your desire, it’s out there — embracing the soft, buttery feel of leather on your legs is easier than ever. “Someone with a more classic style might stick with a standard black pant option,” Shopbop fashion director Caroline Maguire tells WWD. “A customer who wants to go outside their comfort zone may go for a bolder leather pant option, head-to-toe leather look, or style an outfit with bold accessories or jewelry.”

With so many options on the market — from leather pants that are as clean as they come to ones that add a subtle yet unexpected edge to the classic style — we did that hard work for you and curated a concise shopping guide to the best leather pants for women. We even dive into the difference between faux leather pants and real leather pants, the best practices for cleaning and taking care of your bottoms, stylist-beloved picks, and expert-approved ways to style them. So read ahead and shop the best leather pants for women that we’re eyeing for the season ahead.

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Good American Faux Leather Good Icon Pants

  • Size range: 00-10
  • Colorways: Bone, Sorority Pink, Black Eel, Key Lime
  • Material: Polyester
  • Closure type: Zip fly with button closure
  • Pros: Heavy-weight, durable material
  • Cons: Long

Loose, ‘90s-inspired silhouettes are back in style, and these pants from Good American are the best vegan leather trousers for anyone seeking a throwback. To nail a winter white look, pair your looser bottoms with a crop top or sheer cardigan.

What Reviewers Say: “Awesome pants! So cute! Look and feel high quality! So happy with my purchase!”

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Good American Faux Leather Good Icon Pants $175 Buy Now

Good American Faux Leather Good Icon Pants $175 Buy Now

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

  • Size range: XS-3X
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: Nylon, Elastane With Polyurethane Coating
  • Closure type: Pull-on style
  • Pros: Inclusive size range, affordable, comfortable
  • Cons: Some reviewers note that the top of the pant can roll while sitting down

For faux leather leggings that do it all, look no further than Spanx. Since the early 2000s, the brand has helped women feel comfortable in their bodies, whether at the gym or at the office. Their leather leggings are just one of the many classic styles that women come back to time and time again. They have a wide waistband, elasticity that lifts the butt and allows for more mobility, and diverse sizing options. You can treat them as workout leggings and style them with a sports bra or as regular leggings and pair them with a sweater and boots.

What Reviewers Say: “These are everything I was hoping they would be! They’re comfortable so flattering slightly compressive (perfect to support my postpartum core!) and edgy. Just so happy with them!”

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings $98 Buy Now

Open Edit Wide Leg Leather Pants

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Best Wide-Leg Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: XXS-XL
  • Colorways: Black, Brown Pinecone
  • Material: Polyester, spandex, polyurethane coating
  • Closure type: Drawstring
  • Pros: They have the look and feel of real leather
  • Cons: Better for taller individuals

Nordstrom’s label Open Edit has a knack for nailing classic staples with a bit of downtown edge. Their wide-leg leather pant has a loose silhouette without being overwhelming, a medium weight, a cozy lining to keep you warm, a wide elastic waistband with a drawstring, two pockets, and a center seam down both legs for a sleek finish. For the city dweller, make these your go-to with a bodysuit and ankle boots.

What Reviewers Say: “These faux leather pants are gorgeous on! The color does it for me! The fit looks great on my curvy figure! This style pant is so versatile! And you can’t beat the price! So happy I took a chance on these and tried them on. These fit true to size as I am always a medium 8-10.”

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Open Edit Wide Leg Leather Pants $59 Buy Now

Paige Hoxton Pant

Best Brown Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: 23-32
  • Colorways: Dark Argan
  • Material: 100% Genuine Leather
  • Closure type: Zip fly with button closure
  • Pros: Second-skin fit
  • Cons: Investment piece

If you’re hoping to integrate more color into your closet but aren’t drawn to highly-saturated, maximalist shades, opt for hues you’d find in nature, like a rich distressed brown. Start with Paige’s genuine leather pants with a high-rise design, buttery soft 100% leather bonded with stretch cotton, and an overall vintage appeal from the slightly wrinkled texture. Swap your go-to black trousers for these, and you’ll be surprised at how much they level up your style.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Paige Hoxton Pant $950 Buy Now

Altuzarra Serge Pant

  • Size range: 36-44
  • Colorways: Chianti
  • Material: 100% lamb
  • Closure type:
  • Pros: Elongate your legs
  • Cons: Expensive

Burgundy is the new black, so add these pants from Altuzarra to your rotation. The slight flair makes them an ideal choice to pair with ankle boots in a coordinated hue. Finish with a beige or off-white sweater for an effortless yet thought-out look that doesn’t feel too over the top.

Altuzarra Serge Pant © Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD) Altuzarra Serge Pant

Altuzarra Serge Pant $1,695 Buy Now

Nanushka Odessa Cropped Wide Leg Pants

Best Cropped Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: XS-XL
  • Colorways: Vanilla
  • Material: Polyester, polyurethane
  • Closure type: Pull-on style
  • Pros: Great for in and out of the workplace
  • Cons: May be too cropped for tall people

Nanushka is one of the best labels for vegan leather pant styles because they offer silhouettes that balance retro flair with timeless minimalism. Opting for these ivory pants will mean you’re sticking to neutral territory while pushing the envelope a bit. Try a silk top for an overall sleek appearance that doesn’t feel too matchy-matchy.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Nanushka Odessa Cropped Wide-Leg Pants $575 Buy Now

Brochu Walker Stone Pants

Best Women’s Leather Pants for Work

  • Size range: XS-L
  • Colorways: Timber
  • Material: Polyester, polyurethane, elastane
  • Closure type: Hook-and-eye closures at waist, zip fly
  • Pros: Luxury at an attainable price point
  • Cons: Low-stretch

Brochu Walker is a well-known women’s label for its refined, alluring, and personal garments. Each piece is timeless, carefully constructed, and inspired by laidback California coastal living, from its leather pants to its sweaters. The Stone Pant is an elevated take on the classic work trouser with a covered elastic back panel, jersey backing, and cropped hem. They’re sure to elicit a compliment, especially when paired with a trendy ballet flat.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Brochu Walker Stone Pants $398 Buy Now

Max Mara Ornella Faux Leather Leggings

Best Faux Leather Leggings for Women

  • Size range: XS-XL
  • Colorways: Oliva
  • Material: Polyester
  • Closure type: Pull-on style
  • Pros: Elastic waistband, legging style that isn’t too tight, high-rise
  • Cons: One colorway

If you’re looking for elevated faux leather leggings that look just as good as the real thing, these are the pants for you. They’re a feel-good choice that is made from leatherette-coated jersey and shaped with a high-rise elasticated waist and slim-leg silhouette. They’ll be your new go-to pants, especially since the olive-green hue will look aesthetically pleasing next to the fallen leaves. If you’re still not sold, just know you can never go wrong with anything from Max Mara. Wear yours with a matching-colored top for a head-to-toe look.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Max Mara Ornella Faux Leather Leggings $225 Buy Now

Theory Adbelle Leggings

Best Leather Leggings for Women

  • Size range: 00-12
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: 100% leather
  • Closure type: Pull-on
  • Pros: Versatile
  • Cons: Thin waistband

Leather leggings are a sophisticated alternative to their spandex counterparts and what most would consider a wardrobe staple. This pair from Theory tops the competition thanks to its snug, sleek fit. Choose a classic black option with an elastic waistband to serve as the base of your winter outfits. Even if you add a number of bulky layers on top, your ensemble will appear balanced.

Theory Adbelle Leggings © Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD) Theory Adbelle Leggings

Theory Adbelle Leggings $995 Buy Now

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Rag & Bone Icons Alex Leather Pants

Best High-Waisted Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: 00-10
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: 100% Lamb Leather
  • Closure type: Zip fly and button closure
  • Pros: Timeless and versatile
  • Cons: Expensive

Some may know Rag & Bone for its high-quality leather accessories, but we’re here to confirm that its premium craftsmanship is applied to its ready-to-wear offerings, too. We recommend these straight-leg high-waisted leather pants if you’re in need of simple black leather pants that will stick around for many years. They may be a bit pricey, but after you wear them to the office, dinner, brunch, and even a cocktail party, you’ll understand why they were worth your dollars. These are the best luxury leather pants out there for those desiring a designer option.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Rag & Bone Icons Alex Leather Pants $1105 Buy Now

Commando Faux Leather Splitfront Pants

Best Flared Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: XS-XL
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: Polyurethane, viscose, elastane
  • Closure type: Pull-on style
  • Pros: Jersey backing, easy to style
  • Cons: Thin waistband

These pants from Commando have a flared ‘70s-inspired hem, making them the perfect option for pairing with a playful heel. Finish off the look with a sequin top, and you’ll be ready to hit the dance floor — these are the best leather pants for the life of the party.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Commando Faux Leather Splitfront Pants $168 Buy Now

BLANKNYC Black Widow Faux Leather Joggers

Best Sweats Alternative for Women

  • Size range: 24-31
  • Colorways: Black Widow
  • Material: Cotton, polyurethane
  • Closure type: Drawstring tie
  • Pros: Comfortable and warm
  • Cons: Not for formal occasions

If you’ve had difficulty parting with sweats, the best leather pants to shop for are those with a jogger silhouette. The elastic ankles and waistband on this BLANKNYC pair keep you comfortable, while the supple black leather lends a sophisticated touch. Throw them over your workout leggings for weekend pilates to brunch plans or with a cashmere sweater and boots for a casual Friday in the office.

What Reviewers Say: “I am 5′ 6″. and 125 lbs and ordered these in size 27. They fit well, very comfortable. I get cold on airplanes, and these seem like they will keep me warm. They look cute with sneakers and an oversized t-shirt. Plus, pockets!”

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

BLANKNYC Black Widow Faux Leather Joggers $98 Buy Now

Agolde Detox Criss Cross Leather Jeans

Best Under-$500 Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: 00-12
  • Colorways: Detox Black
  • Material: Leather, polyurethane, viscose, polyester
  • Closure type: Zip and button closure
  • Pros: On-trend and affordable
  • Cons: Doesn’t hold your waist in

I’ve been seeing wide-leg pants and trousers all over this season,” Maguire says. “[One of] my favorites right now is this vegan leather pair from Agolde.” These faux leather pants feature belt tabs at the hip that allow for easy adjusting, an asymmetric crisscross waist, and a tapered silhouette that hits just at the ankle. Since vegan leather tends to have a lower price tag than traditional leather, these pants are a solid under-$500 option. Tuck in a classic button-down for a look that works for a coffee catch-up with friends or an in-person work meeting.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Agolde Detox Criss Cross Leather Jeanss $378 Buy Now

Wolford Jo Leggings

Best Practical Leather Pants for Women

  • Size range: 34-44
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: Polyurethane, polyamide, elastane
  • Closure type: Pull-on
  • Pros: Flexible
  • Cons: May have to replace after a few years

Practical may not be the first word that comes to mind when you’re in the market for leather pants, but the legging silhouette and jersey panels at the back of these Wolford pants place them squarely in the category. A great casual option that you can style with loafers and a white T-shirt for an easy weekend look, these are your go-to off-duty pick.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Wolford Jo Leggings $285 Buy Now

Rotate Birger Christensen Rotie High-Rise Faux Leather Pants

Best Colorful Leather Pants

  • Size range: 2-12
  • Colorways: Pink
  • Material: Polyurethane
  • Closure type: Zip and button closure
  • Pros: Subtle, raised embossed logo throughout
  • Cons: Not minimalist-friendly

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and add a little color to your day-to-day wardrobe. “These leather pants are awesome for someone who loves to wear color,” Theodora explains. In fact, choosing leather pants like this Barbiecore-inspired style ensures that your outfit will always stand out from the crowd. Courtesy of one of fashion’s buzziest labels, this Rotate Birger Christensen’s take is the best trend-forward option of the bunch. Try contrasting with other trending hues if your style skews bold, or pair it with classic black pieces for a simpler look.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Rotate Birger Christensen Rotie High-Rise Faux Leather Pants $195 Buy Now

Alberta Ferretti Leather Balloon Pants

Best Luxury Leather Pants

  • Size range: 0-8
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: 100% Lamb Leather
  • Closure type: Front button and concealed zip closure
  • Pros: Cinches your waist
  • Cons: Expensive

If we’re going to share a luxury leather pant option, you better believe they’re investment worthy. These leather pants by Alberta Ferretti are ones you will have forever because they transcend trends and get comfier with each wear. They have a high waist, belt loops, two front flap pockets, and a tapered leg and master the elevated basic look no matter what you throw on your top or on your feet. We wouldn’t be surprised if you reach for these every time you get dressed for date night.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Alberta Ferretti Leather Baloon Pants $1560 Buy Now

Aritzia Melina Pants

Best Straight-Leg Leather Pants

  • Size range: 00-16
  • Colorways: Available in 27 colors
  • Material: Polyurethane, polyester
  • Closure type: Zip fly with tack-button closure
  • Pros: Available in short, regular, and tall sizes
  • Cons: Material can wrinkle easily

After Artizia’s Melina pants went viral on TikTok, the brand couldn’t keep the high-rise style in stock. Luckily, you can once again pick up a pair in a range of colors and in short, regular, and tall sizes. If you lean towards wearing jeans daily, these pants have a similar silhouette and will be an easy alternative to your usual denim.

What Reviewers Say: “SO HAPPY TO HAVE FOUND THESE. I have short torso and have been searching high and low for pants I can wear to work (everything is high-waisted now except jeans!). These in the Short length are PERFECT if you size up – you can pull them lower to work as a mid-rise. They end exactly at my ankle which is perfect because I never wear heels.”

Aritzia Melina Pants © Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD) Aritzia Melina Pants

Aritzia Melina Pants $148 Buy Now

Frame Long Leather Barrel Pants

  • Size range: 23-34
  • Colorways: Noir
  • Material: 100% lamb leather
  • Closure type: Zip fly with button closure
  • Pros: Loose through the thighs
  • Cons: May not be best for those who are petite

If you’re looking to elevate your off-duty weekend style, denim brand Frame has the leather pants that will do the trick. These are similar in silhouette to your favorite baggy jeans but assert more fashion know-how with their real leather material and noir color. Wear them for a chic errand run or for a girl’s night out with a blazer, belt, and stilettos.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Frame Long Leather Barrel Pants $1198 Buy Now

Young & Fabulous Priscilla Vegan Leather Joggers

Best Leather Cargo Pants

  • Size range: XS-L
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: Polyurethane
  • Closure type: Snap closure at waist, zip fly
  • Pros: Lightweight and stretchy
  • Cons: Trendy silhouette

Y2K influence is still at its peak, bringing with it a revival of the glam-utility trend and these Priscilla Vegan Leather pants are proof of that. They feature a fleece backing, seamed front, gathered snap cuffs, and a cropped profile, all adding to their dressed-up, elevated, chic, and sophisticated aesthetic. To enhance the Y2K aesthetic, pair them with a fitted tank top and platform heels.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Young & Fabulous Priscilla Vegan Leather Joggers $128 Buy Now

Khaite Hewey Leather Pants

  • Size range: 4-8
  • Colorways: Black
  • Material: 100% Lambskin
  • Closure type: Snap closure at waist, zip fly
  • Pros: Timeless design, enlarged pockets
  • Cons: Expensive, cropped length may be harder to style with certain boots

After popping up on countless runways, cropped pants are one of the season’s top trends to note — especially on a leather silhouette. Easy for dressing up or down, cropped leather pants have an added styling versatility that can take them from casual weekend plans to the office. Khaite’s Hewey Pants feature a high waist, extended pockets, and curved legs that taper to a cropped hem. Offering a bit of a stretch, this wide-leg style from the brand’s Resort 2023 collection is an investment-worthy piece for all types of dressers.

© Provided by Women's Wear Daily (WWD)

Khaite Hewey Leather Pants $2,800 Buy Now

Types of Women’s Leather Pants

As you embark on your shopping journey, prioritize finding the silhouette that best suits your needs. 

  • Leather Trousers: Wide-leg or leather trousers with pleated details and even paper bag waists can offer a dressier look for work or more formal occasions. They’re available in a variety of colors, but the beauty lies in their versatility — how you can dress the piece up and down, depending on the occasion. 
  • Leather Leggings: Leather leggings may be It-girl-approved, but it’s the comfort factor that pulls us in. The elegance of leather juxtaposed with the practicality, versatility, and longevity of leggings is a win-win situation. Plus, they’re a casual choice, often suitable for layering. So embrace the layered look by styling your leather leggings with a relaxed button-down shirt, oversized sweater, and trench coat.
  • Leather Skinny Pants: Neither skinny jeans nor skinny leather pants are dead. As a matter of fact, they’re one of the best building blocks of a well-rounded wardrobe. They’re flattering on all body types and are designed to sculpt and mold your body’s natural shape. Ideal for tucking into boots and pairing with flats or heels, skinny leather pants are a no-fuss silhouette that’s easy to dress.
  • Leather Cargo Pants: Tap into the Y2K era with trendy cargo pants. Frequently worn by style icons like Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber, cargo leather pants are an easy way to create a relaxed look all autumn long. With their utilitarian design and simple hues, these are the type of trousers you can match with sneakers or combat boots and sport to weekend plans in style. 
  • Mix-Material Leather Pants: This style of leather pant is distinguished by its contrasting leather and denim materials. Most of the time, they combine the traditional blue denim five-pocket jeans with supple leather details on the legs. Whether they sit high on your waist or low on your hips, we suggest keeping your top simple to let the pants do the talking.

Vegan Faux Leather Pants vs. Genuine Leather Pants for Women

From catering to punk rockers to making their way down almost every F/W catwalk, there’s no doubt that leather pants have come very far in the fashion cycle. Nowadays, not only do you have to decide between the many types of leather pants for your different needs and activities, but also have to decide whether vegan or genuine leather is best for your demands.

While faux leather isn’t new, it became trendy when Nanushka and Stella McCartney entered the scene with animal-free, sustainably produced options that were just as luxe and durable as the real thing. If you’re interested in going this route, celebrity stylist Britt Theodora suggests honing in on “designers who are mastering vegan leather tailoring.” Or, she adds, “since leather lasts for so long, another option is to shop for vintage leather.” But besides being more eco-friendly and animal-free, there are many differences and characteristics to consider when weighing the pros and cons of real leather and vegan leather pants.

  • Breathability: While vegan leather is often thinner and more lightweight than real leather, it is actually less breathable. This is because vegan leather is synthetic and doesn’t have pores for the skin to breathe — as real leather does. So when worn for long periods or in warm environments, vegan leather pants may be uncomfortable.
  • Longevity: Longevity is one of the most popular factors that come to mind when deciding between genuine leather and vegan leather pants. When comparing how long the two will each last, it’s clear that vegan leather, which tends to be less durable, requires more care to last longer. While the most well-known kinds of vegan leather — PU and PVC — still have a significant lifespan lasting up to five years, real leather, when well cared for, can potentially last for generations. 
  • Maintenance: As mentioned, vegan leather is considerably thinner than real leather, which also means it is less durable and requires proper maintenance. For vegan leather, you can use a wide range of cleaning solutions to remove unwanted dirt, such as a mild detergent or simply wiping your pants with a damp cloth. For real leather pants, it’s important to take them for the proper cleaning because, if not done correctly, it can lead to unwanted stiffness and even brittleness.
  • Price: Price and practicality are among the most distinct differences between the two materials. It’s apparent that real leather is more costly than faux leather, but if you need to get your faux leather trousers tailored or dry-cleaned often, those smaller bills can add to the low cost of your faux leather pant purchase. 

Leather Pants Outfits – What to Wear With Leather Pants

While we’ve seen leather-pant outfits on the streets and runways, the question of how to style leather pants still lingers. Whether it’s because they’re one of the most versatile bottoms or because there are many styles and colors available, we’re lending a helping hand and breaking it down for you. Whether you want black leather pants outfit inspiration or brown leather pants outfit ideas, get encouraged to create your own leather pants outfit.

  • Leather Leggings Outfit: Vegan or real leather leggings are just as much of unsung heroes as cotton or spandex leggings. From brunch with friends to meetings in the office, this style comes back each season with labels like Spanx and Wolford leading the way. “For the more classic look, I would style a black pair of leather leggings with a white tee and some gold jewelry with a pair of ankle boots,” Theodora suggests. “For a trendier look, I would style leather leggings in a fun color like purple or green with a printed bodysuit and patterned jacket. This works for those who love to layer textures and patterns. ”Maguire adds that if you’re looking for leather pants that can easily transition from relaxed daytime settings to more formal events, the key is versatility. “I love layering knits to add texture to a look and keep me cozy,” she explains. “Sometimes, I’ll even pair a dress over leather bottoms — like leggings — to completely switch up my style.”
  • Leather Jogger Pants Outfit: If comfort is your love language, experiment with leather jogger pants. They’re an elevated loungewear option that embodies luxurious travel since they feel like sweatpants. Take inspiration from many street style stars and follow the cocktail of joggers, knits, and boots for running errands or a down jacket, sweatshirt, and chunky sneakers for mixed-weather days.
  • High-Waisted Leather Pants Outfit: Similar to high-waisted jeans, there are many different styles of high-waisted leather pants. However, you can’t go wrong if you opt for green leather pants, red leather pants, or high-waisted white leather pants. As for the top to wear with leather pants, pair it with a cropped or tucked-in style. That’s because the garment will hit close to or above the navel, so you want to ensure you are showing off the top of the pants and your figure. Perfect pairings include a bodysuit, blazer, and booties. To finish? Minimalist jewels.
  • Straight-Leg Leather Pants Outfit: Achieve modernity with roomy leather pants that have a sporty feel. Many of these options — from the likes of Agolde, Frame, and Good American — are reminiscent of the iconic 90’s style that exudes an effortless-cool aesthetic. You can rotate them between casual and fancy ensembles and finish with ankle boots or stilettos — the options are endless.  
  • Trouser Leather Pants Outfit: As trousers and looser-fitting jeans have come back in style, leather pants have similarly taken a turn towards the relaxed, with many runways offering wide-leg trouser silhouettes for spring ’22, including those of Bottega Veneta and Hermes. Theodora also points to Prada’s most recent menswear collection for inspiration. “It showcased some iconic styling of leather pants and even a Veri Peri-colored leather jumpsuit,” she says. “I love the play of jewel-toned leather pants with oversized jackets layered over.” 
  • All Leather Outfit:  If your style skews towards a more directional aesthetic, opting for a leather-on-leather look guarantees maximum sartorial impact with minimal effort. You can opt for loose-fitting jackets and straight-leg pants; the oversized proportions are an essential styling trick to ensure the final look comes off carefree.

How to Clean Leather Pants

Leather can withstand more wear and tear than more delicate options like silk or cotton, but there are still actions you can take to ensure that your leather pants — faux or genuine — stay pristine over time. Since you can’t throw them in the laundry as you would with a pair of jeans, you’ll want to ensure you stay ahead of upkeep.

Firstly, if you trust yourself to clean your real leather pants at home, start by spot-testing. Next, dab the pants with a damp cloth in a more discreet location — inside of a pocket or inside the waistband. You can move on to more visible areas if the water dries without discoloring the pants. For any spills or stains, spot clean with water and let the pants air dry, keeping them away from direct heat. Finally, you can apply a leather protectant as an added level of security against spots (again, being sure to spot-test first) and a leather conditioner to keep the pants supple and soft. On the other hand, if you feel more comfortable taking your pants to the dry cleaner, make sure to find one that specializes in leather cleaning.

Since most faux leather is made from plastic or vinyl, this type can easily be washed on your own at home. However, it’s important to read the care label on the garment to see if the tag says you can throw the pants in the washing machine or not. If the latter, use mild soap and water and clean them by hand.

Altering Leather Pants

While all pants can be altered to fit and shape your body, it’s important to remember that all leather pants aren’t created equal, including leather and genuine leather pants. That’s why when shopping for the best leather pants for women, think about if the pair you’re interested in buying will need to be altered or not. 

Tailoring genuine leather pants can be difficult because leather is a tough material to work with, requiring more precise measurements and a skilled tailor. That’s why you should look for a master tailor or leather specialist with technical machines that work for heavy-duty materials. It’s also important to remember that because leather is a natural material, it can stretch, so when making changes to your leather pants, err on the side of tightness. Likewise, you can alter faux leather pants, but remember that they can be pricey, adding to the cost of your jeans. If you still choose to tailor them, we recommend finding a seamstress or tailor who specializes in faux leather.

Meet the Authors

Aemilia Madden is a writer, editor, and brand consultant who has worked in the fashion industry for over eight years. She’s an Oakland, California native and Brooklyn resident. When she’s not writing about the latest fashion trends, including women’s leather pants,  Aemilia is running in Prospect Park, testing new recipes on her friends, and trying to keep up with her New Yorker subscription.

Nikki Chwatt is the Style Commerce Editor for Footwear News and WWD, where she writes and edits stories on the latest clothing and shoe trends. She is at the forefront of all consumer trends with a keen eye for the latest, greatest, and classics of what people wear, buy and love. With the change of season in New York City, Chwatt is always searching for the best new leather pants for women.

Meet the Experts

Britt Theodora is a New York City-based fashion stylist with Southern California roots. She works with high-profile celebrities and specializes in dressing up-and-coming talent while creating relationships with both emerging and high-fashion designers. Britt’s work has been featured and seen in Vogue, the Today Show, WWD, Who What Where, Footwear News, the Oscars, and the Met Gala.

Caroline Maguire is the Fashion Director at Shopbop. She has over 15 years of industry experience. Her duties include working with buyers, as well as the public relations and marketing teams, to figure out what direction to take the company. That being said, she sees a lot of trends, emerging brands, and designers.

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