How to make leather at work powerful, not provocative

Teresa championing leather at work

Teresa championing leather at work

For the fuss it caused, you would have thought Theresa May had been spotted wearing crotch-less knickers.  The British Prime Minister recently wore  a pair of £995 Amanda Wakely trousers for a magazine photoshoot and the media went crazy. 

 Whatever you think of her taste in allies, May’s taste in trousers is perfect.  Comfortable and practical, leather is a surprising new trend in workwear. New technologies like laser cutting create delicate detail and super-soft textures, meaning that the new leather styles are subtle and great for smart wear.  Try these 6 tips to integrate leather at work.

6 tips to intergrate leather at work


1) FIT

leather dress

Leather has zero stretch, so getting the right fit is crucial.  Aim for something that’s slightly fitted but not tight – leather sags where it’s stretched, so the looser the clothing the longer it will last.



Black is usually the easiest colour to style, but that’s not true with leather.  Black leather clothing looks cool and edgy, which is great if you’re an up-and-coming graffiti artist but not suitable for a conservative workplace. 
Brown leather works with everything.  Other dark colours, like oxblood and aubergine, are eye-catching but still simple enough to work as a staple.  Beige and putty shades look beautiful – but check that the colour isn’t too close to your skin tone, or at first glance people will think you’re naked.


Leather is always eye-catching.  Simpler cuts work best for work: add embroidery, stitching, or rivets, and you’ll start to resemble a Siouxie Sioux tribute act.  Keep your leather at work clothing plain and style it with the most conservative items in your wardrobe, for a look that’s more office and less night club.



If your workplace isn’t yet ready for leather trousers, use smaller items as a nod to the trend.  Leather headbands look great with sleek hair, or try a wide obi belt over a plain shift dress.


In terms of upkeep, a leather jacket is more like a pet than an item of clothing.  It needs regular feeding with polish, or the finish will scuff away and the skin will crack.  Leather clothing needs to be cleaned by a specialist, at extortionate cost.  To extend the time between trips to the cleaner, spritz the fabric lining with an unscented freshener.  It feels a bit unhygienic to Febreze your clothing instead of washing it, but it’ll save you hundreds in dry-cleaning bills across the lifetime of your favourite jacket.



Finally, a rather unladylike point: it can get steamy inside an all-leather outfit.  If your thighs chafe under your leather skirt, or your leather dress rubs at the armholes, use a glossing solution containing silicone to stop the discomfort.

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Alice Bell

About Alice Bell

"Alice writes online about business, popular science, and women's lifestyle. After a few years working her way around the world, she has settled in the north of England and taken a day job as a maths teacher. Her life's ambition is to earn enough money to start repaying her student debt."