10 April 2007

Leather -- for accessories ONLY.

I'm probably going to incur some leather-loving wrath for this statement, but I strongly stand by my belief that unless we're talking about a slim cropped bomber like Rachel Bilson's, unless you're willing and able to spend the money on a high-quality, properly fitting leather blazer, or unless you're Angelina Jolie at the Mr. and Mrs. Smith premiere, large swaths of leather on your person are about as force-me-to-turn-my-head-the-other-way as an ugly couple canoodling in public -- both of which I had the misfortune to witness during my lunch break this afternoon.

Leather shoes and boots? Sure.

Leather handbags and wallets? Without a doubt.

Leather Louis Vuitton "LV" keychain? Pretentious but fine.

Small accessories aside, no matter how hard I try (which, admittedly, isn't that hard) I just can't find it in me to look at a pair of leather pants, a leather skirt, a leather vest or especially a full or mid-length leather coat and think of anything positive to say. This is more often than not true when I see a coat like the one pictured above. Its butterfly collar, its shoulder pads and the sad attempt to bring the boxiness in at the waist with a cinch smacks much more of those women who model elastic-waistbanded stretch sweats on the Home Shopping Network than of a DC sophisticate.

Unlike a cheap wool coat, a cheap or even middle-of-the-road leather coat cannot easily "blend in" with the crowd. Even if you haven't committed the most egregious (and common) offense - i.e. buying a size too large - the cobbled-together-swatches of fabric held together by conspicuous contrast stitching, the stiffness that makes for an improper fit, and in those most tragic cases, the multicolored swirls, patterns and team logos quite simply tumble the wearer from wherever they were, Armani suit, Carolina Herrera shift, Bruno Frisoni heels notwithstanding, to the depths of unrecoverable territory.

If you're truly looking to shed that size M leather barn-coat for a less Mom-at-Kroger's Winter-to-Spring transition coat, please read my post on the subject and think seriously about taking the twill, shantung, poplin, linen, cotton, or canvas plunge. And remember, place primacy on the fit and the quality of the material, not the price and certainly not the brand. If you need proof, please refer to this $5,740 striped Missoni mess.

Ladies, don't get me wrong, I have this gripe with men, too, but frankly, there are so many of them out there proudly wearing their Wilson's Leather 'hipsters' that I'm afraid, like the we-only-have-passionless-sex-once-a-month relationship, it's a lost cause from which I have no choice but to steal away in the night.

With the dog. And the Tivo.


bff in chicago said...

Male leather 'hipster' -- dumpable offense #3 (after pleated khakis and denim on denim)

Anónimo No Mas said...

I have a chocolate brown knee length leather skirt that I will never give up. I get compliments from men and women when I wear it (and my dog can't stop sniffing me!)

It is classy enough to wear to the office and sexy enough to wear on a date. When I get home, I will make you eat your words Jo.

In fact, I think the night we met I was wearing my leather skirt!

(Full disclosure: I have great suede pant too...)

Johanna said...

Leather skirt? Sounds questionable, Ms. Anónimo No Mas, but I'm willing to be proven wrong upon your return...

Suede pants? Yeah, you're not gonna get very far with me on those :-)

Anónimo No Mas said...

You know my look...the skirt is very classic looking. Between the length and color it doesn't have an ounce of cheap trashy whore in it.

And the pants, I wear them with boots and a brown or cream sweater, and not often partly because they are a bitch to dry clean but also because that would take some of the fun out of wearing them.

We'll see. Whoever is right buys drinks at the Mayflower.

Johanna said...

As I said in my post-"Factory Girl" piece, I much prefer vulgar over boring. My disdain for leather skirts isn't that they're trashy, it's more that they're a bit boring. When was the last time you saw a leather skirt with a cool hemline or with a non straight-up-and-down silhouette?

If I had to rock a leather skirt, you better believe it'd be two inches long, fluorescent pink and NOT on Halloween.

Mayflower drinks? You're on, missy.

Anónimo No Mas said...

Right, I agree on that fact. But I take baby steps in fashion, and to add a little spice to my work wardrobe I think there is a place for a good looking leather skirt in my closet.

We can fight about this over drinks.

Johanna said...


Can't wait 'til you come home! Our dogs still need to go on that blind date we've been teasing them about for months.


Brooke said...

I have never agreed with a post more.

knew you as hannie, too said...

It's SUCH a turnoff to see a guy in one of those. It must work both ways and that's why I don't own one.

Wilson's? My gosh, that certainly brings back memories of Meridian Mall!