Leather is a big trend for the fall season—leather skirts, jackets, even dresses. So the question is, is wearing leather (or faux leather) work appropriate?
There is no argument that context, preferences and goals play a huge role in ALL our clothing choices. At work, context plays a significant role, so any fashion trend should be incorporated into one’s wardrobe judiciously, whether it is leather or polka dots. Each professional has to understand their position, career goals, professional context, and industry and make smart choices about how “outside the box” they can take their style.
Great leather jacket from Hinge that can be paired with skirts or slacks
What I am pleased to see as an image consultant, with the new leather designs is their versatility– there are so many great options available this season to suit many tastes and preferences. This is the case in small doses, such as leather accents in a jacket (collar, sleeve, waistband etc.) which I believe for women with a more dramatic flair can be so on point. It is also the case with a tailored leather (or faux leather) jacket paired with a coordinating skirt or slacks. This type of ensemble is great for the non-conformist, and those looking for an edgier, more provocative style statement. I see no reason why a female CEO of a company who matches this style profile, cannot rock such a look.
Pair this Lafeyette 148 banded leather skirt with a peplum jacket and stand out!
After all, I for one do not want to look like a clone of hundreds of women. I want to stand out and project attributes that match my specific persona and goals. If I am going to wear a coordinated suit, it better have something very distinctive and unique about it–which might include leather, but could also include other fabrics, textures, colors, prints, design. The point is, it is in these very details that we project our individual personal brand, even in a suit. In my work with women, I take such pleasure in finding those signature pieces that reflect a professional woman’s singular taste and love the obvious positive response she gets when she dresses authentically to who she is. There is no more power than that!
Great professional ensemble for the woman with more unique style sensibilities
So when is wearing leather to work appropriate? I think it’s important to note that many women are employed in a vast array of fields and positions that are not that “formal”. Women are artists, entrepreneurs, store owners, realtors, coaches, CEOs of traditional and non-traditional companies, architects, consultants, graphic designers, advertising directors, technology gurus etc…We are industry rock stars! Looking at it from that perspective, leather and its derivatives are not so outside the box when the field is so wide open. I think the more important question if you work in a creative field or are your own boss is whether an edgy style statement reflects you. If it reinforces your personal brand, I say rock on!
Have fun with fashion trends, be appropriate, be professional but most importantly be true to yourself!