Living Life/Loving Leather

zarahusainileatherjacketstatementscenePETA probably hates me because of my all-consuming leather obsession. I mean, if you look at the search history on my computer you’ll find the following: “leather jacket,” “vince leather,” “leather pants,” and “boxy black leather tee.” Notice a trend?

Every time I go shopping – which, let’s be real, is kind of often – I find myself giving every item made from leather a rubdown that would be a TSA security worker’s pat to shame. Some people love the feel of cashmere; for me, nothing beats a soft, buttery leather. And while I’ve seen some gorgeous faux leather renditions, you just can’t get the same feel from the fake stuff.

The problem with real leather, of course, is that it’s really expensive. All things leather are investment pieces – and while I believe in investing in leather, I know you have to pick and choose your splurges. With that being said, here’s a simple guide to determining whether you should go for the real deal or settle for the replica.

Shoes: Definitely go real. The difference in comfort between real leather shoes vs. their faux counterparts is huge. Obviously buying real leather  every time you need to satisfy your shoe fix may not be feasible, but a pair or two of authetic heels probably belong in your closet. I remember when I was in college I needed a pair of nude pumps. I bought a man-made pair and wore them out one night…and I wanted to kill myself the entire time. I am really good in heels (seriously, it’s my talent) but I just couldn’t deal with the pain these inflicted. For some strange reason  I still have them in my closet and I cringe every time I see them because they’re not only uncomfortable, they’re also horrendously shiny and cheap-looking. Moral of the story? Invest in solid, well-made pairs of black and nude heels in whatever height works for you. Your feet will thank you. Trust.

Tops: Nine times out ten my answer to this one is faux. I’ve been loving the boxy leather tee thing I’ve seen on girls everywhere, but it just didn’t seem like a great idea to drop $500 on something that essentially looks like a tee shirt, isn’t particularly figure-flattering and won’t make it onto my list of everyday items. I almost jumped for joy when I saw an amazing 100% leather Phillip Lim top down from $615 to $119, (and you can bet I bought that REAL fast) but unfortunately steals like that don’t come around often. It’s a shame because real leather falls so well, whereas faux can look a bit too stiff in that boxy shape, but what can you do?

Bags: Invest in a great real leather for your everyday bag. It’ll really stand the test of time – actually, if you invest in real leather, it’ll just keep looking better and better. I really believe in buying a few high-end bags (or at least one) which will stay with you for years and years.

Pants: Leather pants are cool but I’m not sure if I’d drop major dough on a real pair. I mean, they’re not the most versatile item (I’d probably reserve them for nights out) so they may not be worth the splurge. Coated jeans are a great option for a similarly sleek look and faux leather leggings can actually look pretty great if you find the right pair (and style them probably. Long, simple tunics in matte fabrics only, please.)

Small accessories: We’re talking cuffs, wallets, hats, that kind of thing. I say go faux for these. The leather baseball cap thing looks really cool, but how often are you going to wear something like that? I do own a real leather wallet, but if you’d rather save some cash, buy fake. I mean, who really cares how your wallet feels?

And the holy grail of leather items…

Jackets: This is tricky. I really, truly believe that every woman should own one amazing, authentic leather jacket. BUT – there’s a caveat: Don’t buy a leather jacket until you find one you’re totally and completely in love with – everything should be just as you want it, from fit to style to color. I own a genuine leather jacket in a gorgeous tan color but I’m still on a perpetual hunt for the perfect black one. I’ve been biding my time alternating between one faux number for the kids’ section of Zara and another inexpensive real one from ASOS (purchased years ago and just not quite what I want.) Don’t settle for anything less the leather jacket of your dreams since it’s a big-ticket item that you’ll find yourself reaching for all the time and for years to come.


What are some of your favorite leather items? Do you agree with this guide to splurging vs stealing?

Image via Modelina


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