The Leather Outfits Every Stylish Woman Will Wear This Fall

From iconic leather pieces like pants, jackets, and trench coats to modern must-haves, including dresses, shorts, and two-piece sets, we’re entering into a leather-centric season. Ahead, your guide to the season’s top leather trends. Plus, outfits to inspire your fall and winter wardrobe.  

As hard as it is to let summer go, fall’s fresh trends and luxe textures always have us eager to transition seasons. A perennial favorite in terms of stylish outfits and hero pieces in our wardrobe, leather has become a year-round staple in recent seasons despite once being associated with the cold weather months alone. From iconic leather pieces like pants, jackets, and trench coats to modern must-haves, including dresses, shorts, and two-piece sets, we’re now entering into a leather-centric season, which means investing in leather outfits aplenty for the next several months and beyond. 

For the fall/winter 2020 season, designers not only delivered on new leather pieces but proved that the luxurious fabric is now more essential than ever. Designers from Saint Laurent to Tom Ford and Louis Vuitton all put a decidedly fresh spin on timeless leather staples like blazers, biker jackets, trousers, and trench coats. At the same time, a new class of leather essentials emerged from the fall/winter collections. For day and evening, sophisticated leather dresses stood out on the Valentino, Proenza Schouler, and Versace runways. Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Longchamp proved the new-season power of long leather shorts—to pair with tall boots, plush knits, and feminine blouses in the crisp autumn air. However, the most significant leather trend to emerge was wearing the luxe texture from head-to-toe, as demonstrated by the polished top-and-skirt pairings and sharp suits shown at Fendi, Hermès, and Gabriela Hearst to name a few. 

Vegan leather also proved to be another seasonal essential, as designers and the fashion industry at large continue to embrace a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to design. Stella McCartney, Jonathan Simkhai, and Nanushka are leaders in this category, not only by elevating the concept of faux but also by establishing it as a thoughtfully fashionable choice in dresses, coats, shirting, and beyond.

Ahead, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to wearing leather throughout the fall/winter 2020 season. Not only will you discover the top 11 trends that highlight the best designer pieces of the season, but also outfit inspiration for every occasion as inspired by the runways and the street style circuit alike.

Leather Blazer

Leather Outfits
Valentino FW20 | Saint Laurent FW20 | On The Street | Louis Vuitton FW20 | Khaite FW20

The leather blazer is one of the season’s most versatile pieces from classically tailored to exaggerated silhouettes with modern details. Whether you choose a single or double-breasted shape, you can style your leather blazer for countless occasions, with the runway and street style circuit as inspiration. A trim blazer with sharp lapels—like from Gucci or Alexander Wang—reads smart and stylish with tailoring and feminine pieces. For an edgier vibe, oversize blazer silhouettes with boxier fits are essential, of which both Khaite and Saint Laurent delivered on this season.  

Leather Biker Jacket

Leather Outfits
Celine FW20 | Versace FW20 | On The Street | Brandon Maxwell FW20 | Louis Vuitton FW20

When it comes to leather, there’s no piece as iconic as the biker jacket. For fall/winter 2020, designers from Celine and Versace to Louis Vuitton and Brandon Maxwell gave the wardrobe staple new life through shrunken fits, exaggerated collars, and elegant hardware, all with a modern edge. Whether you choose a cropped or hip-skimming length, a biker jacket makes for a quintessential leather outfit. Dolce & Gabbana’s minimalist silhouette is flawless with a ’90s-inspired slip skirt and heels while a zipper or stud-adorned style—like Celine, Versace, and Givenchy’s luxe versions—will bring an attitude to effortless basics like tees and jeans.

Leather Trench Coat

Leather Outfits
Saint Laurent FW20 | Khaite FW20 | On The Street | Bottega Veneta FW20 | Gabriela Hearst FW20

The trench coat will forever be iconic, but leather instantly ups the ante for a more contemporary look. Whether in black, brown, or an Earthy tone like rust, this leather topper makes the most significant statement at a floor-sweeping length. Sharp, minimal trench coat designs appear the most elevated for maximum versatility. At the same time, luxe details like a shearling-trimmed collar, zippered seams, and patent accents create alluring focal points for a bit of added texture and visual intrigue.

Leather Top

Leather Outfits
Dion Lee FW20 | Tod’s FW20 | On the Street | Isabel Marant FW20 | Salvatore Ferragamo FW20

A leather top is a perfect piece to enhance your look with a subtle note of luxury, as evidenced by the Salvatore Ferragamo, Isabel Marant, Tod’s, and Dion Lee fall/winter runways. When choosing a leather top, look to sophisticated and timeless silhouettes like a button-down shirt, simple turtleneck, or round-neck blouse to ensure a sophisticated style. Fresh updates like gently puffed shoulders, billowing sleeves, or a cinched waist will provide modernity to every outfit, be it for work, an event, or dinner date—virtual or otherwise.

Leather Day Dress

Leather Outfits
Alejandra Alonso Rojas FW20 | Gabriela Hearst FW20 | On The Street | Isabel Marant FW20 | Salvatore Ferragamo FW20

One of the most striking yet effortless-looking leather outfits to emerge from the designer runways for fall/winter 2020 was undoubtedly the leather dress. What particularly struck a chord was daytime iterations in soft colors and rich jewel tones from ivory to camel and garnet. A midi day dress silhouette instantly achieves modern sophistication, as does design details like voluminous sleeves, plissé pleats, and defined waistlines. Whether paired with tall boots or flat loafers, the polished day dress is the leather piece to invest in if you choose just one.

Leather Evening Dress

Leather Outfits
Jonathan Simkhai FW20 | Versace FW20 | On The Street | Valentino FW20 | Proenza Schouler FW20

From above-the-knee cuts to full-length gowns, black leather dresses were a unanimous choice among designers from Valentino to Proenza Schouler and Versace—think of it as an edgier and luxe update to your little black dress. In stark contrast to the leather day dress, evening iterations come with a bite, though not without sophistication. Everything from strapless to one-shoulder and long-sleeve designs befits a bolder mood, but with elegant extras like pumps and pared-back jewels.

Leather Pants

Leather Outfits
Tom Ford FW20 | Brandon Maxwell FW20 | On The Street | Khaite FW20 | Versace FW20

Another iconic leather staple is the pant, whether your preferred silhouette is a skinny fit, high-rise trouser, or cropped length. We suggest owning a few versions for every occasion and mood—a straight-leg trouser, a pleated high-waist design, and roomy pants with a sporty feel are among our favorites for achieving modernity. Owning leather pants in a range of finishes is ideal, too, for maximum versatility. Think butter-soft leather to glossy patent. Bottega Veneta, Tom Ford, Khaite, and Gabriela Hearst make some of the season’s best.

Leather Shorts

Leather Outfits
Longchamp FW20 | Saint Laurent FW20 | On The Street | Balenciaga FW20 | Rag & Bone FW20

An essential silhouette for fall/winter 2020 is the long short, with leather iterations proving the most necessary for modern style. We witnessed long leather shorts mostly in black on the runway, though deeper jewel tones like mahogany similarly stood out. To master this trend, seek out styles that hit just above the knee or slightly lower and pair with tall boots for a winning formula. On top, style them with plush knits, tailored blazers, or silk blouses à la Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Longchamp, and Rag & Bone.

Leather Skirts

Leather Outfits
Miu Miu FW20 | Hermès FW20 | On The Street | Jonathan Simkhai FW20 | Gabriela Hearst FW20

For a sophisticated look that reads both feminine and edgy, look no further than the leather midi skirt. Designers from Hermès to Miu Miu and Gabriela Hearst showcased the most refined renditions on the runway, from tailored pencil skirts to A-line shapes with beautiful pleats. To tastefully highlight your figure, opt for a waist-skimming leather skirt and tuck in a blouse or fitted knit for a polished look. You can try a floatier design for more fluidity, but keep your waist cinched with a belted jacket or nipped-in sweater for the most flattering finish.

Head-To-Toe Leather

Leather Outfits
Gabriela Hearst FW20 | Fendi FW20 | On The Street | A.W.A.K.E. Mode FW20 | Hermès FW20

In the case of leather this season, more is more. Per the Fendi, Hermès, and Gabriela Hearst runways, the luxe fabrication worn head-to-toe equates to a supremely modern look, whether in the form of a tailored suit, coordinating jacket and skirt, or a shirt-and-midi set. The best part about investing in this leather trend is the versatility of owning multiple leather pieces. You can, of course, style them together for a runway-informed look. On other occasions, break the pieces up for myriad outfits that range from elegant to casual. Neutral colors like black, caramel and wheat will guarantee an elevated feel when buying into this trend and last in your wardrobe for years to come.

Vegan Leather

Leather Outfits
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini PF20 | Jonathan Simkhai FW20 | On The Street | Stella McCartney FW20 | Nanushka FW20

The fashion industry is ever-evolving, with sustainable and ethical practices as a primary focus for many designers—it’s a core value that’s been at the crux of Stella McCartney’s brand since inception, with many luxury labels prioritizing similar practices. Vegan and faux leathers are crucial to conscious design, with a look and feel that’s supremely luxe. For fall, sophisticated staples like midi dresses, tailored shirts, and trousers abound, all of which are winning investments when building a faux-leather collection with style.

How To Style Leather Outfits

Leather Outfits
New York Str / Paris Str/ Milano Str / London Str / Copenhagen Str

The street style circuit is a prime source of inspiration when it comes to styling your leather pieces. Some of our favorite modern styling cues are outfits with an inherent simplicity. 

With a leather blazer, keep things classic with jeans and a blouse, though we love a peek of lingerie like Moda Operandi’s Fashion and Buying Director, Lisa Aiken’s subtle reveal. To keep a pair of leather pants looking timeless yet forward, try a beige turtleneck as your base with a slightly oversize black peacoat and colorful mini-bag à la Danish influencer, Tine Andrea.

If a warmer palette suits you, take a cue from model Imaan Hammam and pair a brown utility shirt with cinnamon-colored leather trousers tucked into tonal boots. A logo bag makes for a playful finish. To instantly modernize your leather trench, cinch it over a fitted turtleneck and tights with heels like shoe designer Amina Muaddi—it’s a look you can wear for the evening in place of a dress.

When embracing the long shorts trend, we love a smart blazer on top with heels or tall boots to elongate your line. In warm weather, we’re all for a bralette underneath as worn by stylist and influencer, Ellie Delphine, but consider a bodysuit for a similarly fitted look in autumnal weather. 

About the Author
Laura Lajiness is a freelance writer and editor covering fashion, accessories, fine jewelry, and lifestyle topics, including fitness, beauty, home, and travel. You can see her work across various outlets, including ELLE, InStyle, Glamour, Brides, Women's Health, The Zoe Report, Popsugar, Refinery 29, and Well+Good, among other titles and brands. She's held senior fashion editor positions at Popsugar and The Zoe Report, with additional experience as a stylist, brand consultant, copywriter, and fashion publicist.
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