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10 Leather Pants Styles All Leather Pant Aficionados Should Know

Leather pants are kind of universal. They’re worn by the world’s greatest musical performers, leading style mavens and by more everyday folks of all kinds They look sexy, stylish and sleek. They fit all body types. They create an instantly cool, rock and roll sort of look any time you slip them on. But you may not know that there are many different types of leather pants, including faux leather pants and vegan leather designs. Your leather pants options are much bigger than you may realize. Start trying different leather pants styles and see how sexy, stylish and sleek you look while wearing them. 

Wearing leather pants and a red jacket

History of Leather Pants

The first pants ever made were a type of leather pant, probably. Humans were wearing pants in the ancient Stone Age, in the days where everyone was hunting and gathering simply to survive. Back then, clothing was made of animal hide. Essentially, leather. Fur, also made from animal hide, was also extremely common. Leather is durable and it looks good. It keeps legs warm even in harsh conditions and it wears well even against vigorous activity.

It was the perfect material in the ancient world and today it’s considered to be perfectly stylish and fashionable. This is how leather pant designs have continued to be on the style scene for 50,000 years. There are many different leather pants styles to choose from because there are lots of different ways you can wear leather.

Woman on laptop wearing leather pants

Types of Leather Pants

Try different types of leather pant styles, also known as leather trousers, to see which ones you like best and see how you like wearing this edgy, cool pants style. Once you start playing around with different leather looks, you’ll wonder why you haven’t added these pants to your style rotation before now.

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1. Bell / Flare

Bell bottom pants, or flared pants, get very wide at the bottom hems. Flared designs are made to be very wide at the bottom. These pants fit through the hips, thighs and seat, usually fitting rather close to the skin. At the knees, the wide flare adds a distinct touch to the design. This silhouette works well for women who have more ample hips, such as those with an hourglass or pear body shape. The flaring legs create a nice balance with the hips and help to emphasize and show off that natural figure.

Women's Junior Plus J2 Love Faux Leather Bell Botom Flare Pants, 1X, Black

2. Bootcut

A classic cut, bootcut pant styles fit through the hips and thigh but widen somewhat from the knee to the hem. This creates a comfortable fit. Boot cut pants are made in low-rise, mid-rise and hi-rise syles. This pant style dates to the 1950s so it has a vintage look. It’s flattering on all body types and it looks good in any outfit. Boot cut pants do not flare out as wide as bell bottom designs. This cut of pants earned its name by being wide enough at the bottom to fit over most pairs of boots. These may be the best leather trousers to wear if you plan on styling an outfit with boots.

Women's Faux Black PU Leather Pants High Waist Straight Wide Leg Punk Casual Trousers with Pockets (Black, Small)

3. Jogger

Athleisure is everywhere these days, even in leather pant styles. This trend of wearing athletic clothing as everyday wear isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, you can even get a leather pants version. Leather joggers have the look of sweatpants with a somewhat loose fit. They’re casual and highly stylish. This is a comfortable leather pant style to wear because it is baggy, so the fit is very flexible and forgiving. However, leather isn’t really the material you want to wear if you’re actually going to be running or engaging in athletics. Leather jogger pants are really all about style and not about function. You wear this style of pants to look good, not to go work out.

[BLANKNYC] womens Patch Pocket Jogger Pants, Black Widow, 25 US

4. Leather jeans

Some leather pants are made to look just like jeans, with classic five-pocket styling and belt loops, a button closure and a standard zipper fly. These leather pants are made in the same wide variety of styles you can find in blue jeans. They’re made to fit and look like jeans but in sleek leather. These pants come in all standard jeans styles, including low rise designs. If you want to feel like you’re wearing jeans and you like classic jeans styling, these are the best leather trousers designs to choose. Leather jeans are a good “starter” set of leather pants. After you find you love wearing these, you can venture into bolder leather styles…like leather leggings.

Balleay Art Faux Leather Pants for Women, Straight Leg Mid Waist Butt Lift Elastic Black Pants with 5 Pockets (Black, Large)

5. Leggings

Leggings are one of the more recognizable types of leather pants. Leather leggings are the close-fitting leather pants that hug you like a second skin, fitting close to every single curve and line of the body. These tight-fitting pants will show off every part of your legs, hips and seat. You won’t even be able to hide a set of keys in these pants! Whether you get genuine leather or faux leather leggings, they will be very form-fitting and hug your skin very well. When you want to try a pair of classic black leather pants, leggings are a great option because they have that skintight, sexy, sleek look.

Retro Gong Black Womens Faux Leather Leggings Stretch High Waisted Pleather Pants Medium

6. Skinny

Skinny leather pant styles are not as tight as leather leggings but they are close-fitting from waist to ankle, hugging the body quite closely. These jeans leave very little room between the skin and the material, so make sure you’ve got the right fit or you’ll have a pretty uncomfortable time. Skinny pant designs are definitely here to stay, fashion-wise, and they look great in leather and faux leather pants styles.

WAYRUNZ Womens High Waisted Stretch Faux Leather Pants PU Coated Legging Juniors (13) Black

7. Straight leg

Straight leg pant styles are meant to fit in a straight, clean sweep from the waist all the way down the leg through to the hem. This is a comfortable fit that gives you a little bit of room. The somewhat loose fit feels good and the straight leg styling looks good, so you can’t go wrong with these. This style look great as a pair of classic black leather pants.

Faux Leather Pants for Women Solid Color High Waist Straight Leg Trousers Vintage 90s Streetwear Pant with Pockets (Black, XL)

8. Track

Leather track pants are styled to look like athletic pants. They are somewhat baggy and typically have an elastic or drawstring waist that creates a comfortable fit. Many leather pants styles are designed in classic colors like black or red. Black leather pants are, of course, a very classic look. But if you want to mix it up and infuse a little color into your look, leather track pants are an amazing option. Leather track pants come in a huge variety of colors, everything from pink to yellow and many hues in-between. 

Andongnywell Women's High Waist PU Faux Leather Pants Tied Front Paperbag Leggings Skinny Trousers with Belt (Black,Medium)

9. Vinyl pants

Vinyl can be a bit confusing. Consider it leather’s animal-free cousin. Vinyl is a synthetic material that is not harvested from nature. It’s best known for its glossy, reflective shine. Vinyl pants are made in all the same styles as leather pants. Some people prefer vinyl faux leather pants and faux leather leggings over the real thing because genuine leather is genuinely harvested from an animal, while vinyl is made in a factory. Real leather is not all that popular with animal rights activists, so faux leather like vinyl is a good option. Shiny vinyl pants look great when paired against a leather jacket.

Idopy Men`s Slim Fit Party Performance Biker Faux Leather Jeans Pants Blue 36

10. Wide leg

Wide leg pants are made to fit wide and loose around the leg. These pants actually get a little wider from the waist, creating a roomy fit over the hips and seat and all down the legs. This is a very comfortable design that’s easy to wear. Pair wide-leg styles with more close-fitting, structured tops and jackets to balance out the look and create great style. Good balance between pieces is the best starting place for all good outfit ideas.

Nihsatin Women's Black PU Leather Wide Leg Pants High Waist Button Front Faux Leather Pants

FAQs

There’s a lot to know about wearing leather pants. How do you keep them fitting well and looking good? How do you know when and where you can wear them? How do you know the answers to all your questions? No problem! We’ve found the most frequently asked questions about leather pants. Get the answers you need and you can start wearing leather pants just like a style expert. 

Woman in leather pants walking across street

Are leather pants still fashionable?

Sure they were big in the 1980s and in previous decades…but are leather pants even in style anymore? Leather pants are now considered to be a classic and even a vintage look. Considering that the first pants ever worn were made with leather, these pants are definitely more than classic. They’re historic! leather pants will always look good and sexy in the right circumstances, so you can always find ways to wear them and look totally on trend. And if you need outfit ideas for your pants, you can pull inspiration from several previous decades to look for new ways to style your look.

Can you wear leather pants to work?

Leather pants look pretty great in a lot of situations but the workplace probably isn’t one of them. Unless you do something for work that requires you to look extremely cool, such as working in a tattoo parlor or at a trendy boutique store, you probably shouldn’t wear leather pants to work. You definitely can’t wear leather pants in any type of office environment, no matter how casual your casual Fridays might get. It’s just not a professional look unless your job is highly creative or involves nightlife. Save the creative leather outfit ideas for your after-work hours and you won’t go wrong.

Can leather pants be tailored?

Leather is a material that is unlike any other material. It functions a lot like cloth but leather is something different. That’s why it’s not so easy to tailor or alter leather clothing. Leather items can be hemmed to be shorter and they can even be shrunk down, though results with this will be inconsistent. But actually altering leather items is very tricky and in some cases, may not be possible. If your leather pants are too tight, try wearing them in private for a few hours. Move around in them and see if you can get them to stretch. Leather is skin, after all, and it does have natural stretch to it. 

You can also take your pants to a leatherworker. They will know all the tricks of shrinking, stretching and changing your leather. If your pants can be altered, a leatherworker is probably your best bet for achieving your goals. 

When can you wear leather pants?

Leather pants look great in almost all casual situations. You can look super trendy while you shop or run errands while wearing these pants. They’re cute for a day out with the girls or a day date, though leather pants aren’t going to be amazing in any outdoor or nature-friendly situation. You might not want to wear them for hiking, picnicking or any kind of athletic activity. 

You can also wear leather pants to many evening occasions. They are a good item for any party outfit, they’re sexy on a date and they’re stunning for girls’ night out. Leather pants are probably best avoided in any type of professional situation. You shouldn’t wear them to work or to a job interview, in other words. 

You also shouldn’t wear leather pants to any kind of formal or dressy event. Don’t wear leather pants to church, no matter how progressive the church, or to a wedding with even an extremely casual dress code. Look for another outfit idea and save the leather pants for the after party.

Will leather pants stretch?

Leather is a naturally stretchy material. In time, leather pants will stretch out a little the more you wear them. They will also stretch a little if your body gets bigger, such as if you gain weight or muscle. You can intentionally stretch leather by getting it thoroughly wet first and then putting it on. Yes, this is as uncomfortable as it sounds. However, this is an effective way to stretch the material. 

What does wearing leather pants feel like?

Leather pants look like they’d be uncomfortable. They can be quite form-fitting, after all. But when it comes to softness and flexibility, leather pants are actually pretty comfortable. They move and stretch with your body very well. However, leather pants are warmer than jeans and other types of pants. Leather isn’t as breathable as some types of cloth. This is why people avoid wearing leather on hot, humid days. Even leather shorts can feel hot, as compared to shorts made of cloth.

What goes with leather pants?

Leather pants can be styled in many different ways to create a lot of chic outfits. Try pairing leather pants with soft, silky blouses. This creates a nice contrast between the edgy, rock and roll vibe of leather and the elegant, delicate silk. 

You can always wear a leather-on-leather look by putting on a leather top. Leather is one of the few materials that you can wear all over and still look like you’re well-styled.

Pair leather pants with denim. Leather and denim seem to naturally go together. This creates a great pairing, whether you put on a denim button-up shirt or top a tank top with a cropped denim jacket. 

Style leather pants with knits. Sweaters add a soft, touchable texture to your look that complements the leather nicely. Sweaters are a great cold weather choice when you want to wear your leather pants. An oversized sweater is a great match for a pair of form-fitting leather leggings or pants.

For more leather pant outfit ideas, turn to social media sites. Stylish celebs are always posting pics of their outfits, so it’s a great way to get some fashion inspiration.

How should leather pants fit?

Most leather pants styles are designed to fit close to the body. They are form-fitting and closely follow the curves of your high, seat and legs. However, some leather pants styles are intentionally designed with a much looser fit. Wide leg and straight leg styles for example, fit primarily at the wait and have a looser fit everywhere else. Start by making sure your leather pants feel good in the waist, hips and seat. If the pants fit here, then it’s likely that you have the right fit. You also want to be sure that your pants are long enough. Test to make sure you can freely move your legs. That includes squatting, sitting and walking. If you can do all of this and the pants feel good, then you’ve got the right fit. Fashion isn’t worth it if you can’t freely move around.

What shoes do you wear with leather pants?

Leather pants look great with a variety of footwear. Try wearing some cool cowboy boots, strappy sandals or fierce fashion high heels to complete your look. Short ankle boots are a good match for leather pants because they won’t create a lot of heat on the lower legs.

How do you break in leather pants?

Your new leather pants should already fit your body well. The leather may feel a little sitff at first but you don’t really have to “break in” your leather pants. If they feel somewhat stiff, wear your pants. Move around in them a little for an hour or two and they should feel much more flexible and less stiff. This quality isn’t unique to genuine leather. Because of the way they’re made, even faux leather trousers may feel a bit stiff the first time you wear them.

Why do rock stars wear leather pants?

Leather became a big part of fashion in the 1950s, though it was strongly associated with jackets first. Wearing leather became a visible symbol of rebellion, youth and coolness. Icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando wore leather pants, which made all young people want to wear them, too. Movie stars brought leather pants into mainstream fashion but it was the rock stars who really made the look sing…pun intended.

It was Eddie Cochran who was the first rock and roller to wear leather pants on television for the first time. After he performed in leather pants in 1960, they practically became the fashion symbol of rock and roll coolness. Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, wore tight-fitting leather pants for a TV appearance. Elvis slipped into a pair for his 1968 Christmas special, setting hearts aflame around the world. Leather pants and musicians have gone hand-in-hand (or leg-in-leg) ever since. 

Can you wear leather pants in summer?

Leather is stylish and it looks good all the time. It even looks good in summer. However, leather can be hot to wear, especially in humid conditions. While you can wear a leather pants outfit in summer, you definitely shouldn’t. You will get hot and sweaty and when you go to take the pants off later, you’re going to be uncomfortable peeling it off your wet skin. Even a loose-fitting casual leather pant can get hot and sticky in summer and skinny pants are really going to make you sweat if you end up outside on a hot, sticky day. Even great fashion isn’t worth all that!

Will leather pants shrink?

Leather pants will shrink if you aren’t careful with them. Washing them with hot water or putting them in a dryer with hot air will absolutely cause your leather pants to shrink and get smaller. 

How do you wash leather pants?

Styling leather pants is fun and that’s good news because keeping leather clean definitely isn’t easy. This material is tough and strong in so many ways but when it comes to water, not so much. Check the label on your leather pants and on any leather garment you want to clean. If the instructions say do not wash or dry clean only, don’t go rogue and try to wash them anyway. They will get ruined. Otherwise, wash your leather pants on cold using the gentle cycle. DOn’t ever put your leather pants in the dryer. Lay them flat and let them air dry.

Even if your pants are made with synthetic or vegan leather, you should check the labels and avoid hot water and hot air at all times when it comes to washing your pants.

Fashion can be fragile, sometimes.

For the most part, you can wipe down leather to keep it looking nice. Wipe down your leather using leather cleaner. Patent leather and vinyl can be cleaned with glass cleaner.

 

Sources:

Byrdie – Hands Down, These Are the 22 Best Leather Pants That Money Can Buy

Fashionista – What Do I Need to Know Before Investing ina Pair of Leather Pants?

Glamour – The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing Leather Pants

Land’s End – Why I Love My Boot Cut Jeans

LeatherCult – 10 Undeniable Benefits of Wearing Leather Pants

Liberty Leather Goods – Leather Jeans – Your Guide to Styles, Materials, and Fit

Marie Claire – Leather Trousers: A Brief History Of Fashion’s Most Rock ‘n’ Roll Staple

Pure Wow – 10 Cute Ways to Wear Leather Pants This Fall (& One That Makes You Look Like a Biker Wannabe)

Refinery29 – How To Clean All Kinds Of Leather

Who What Wear – Vinyl Pants: Will You Go There This Winter?

WikiHow – How to Stretch Leather