You Can Do: Ladylike Leather

Ladylike Leather - Club Monaco
Photo: Time Inc Digital Studio

If the very idea of rocking leather skinnies or a biker jacket makes you shudder—you're not that kind of girl!—you will be pleased to know there are many luxe options now with a more elegant, decorous appeal. Designers are using soft skins to create curvy peplums, waist-nipping dresses, and midcalf skirts that come off as sensuous, not sex-kittenish.

It's really quite simple to take on the leather trend. Just follow these three style rules from Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary and then click through our gallery for some inspiration.

1. Stick to classic shapes and muted colors. Nothing revealing, super-tight, studded, or distressed.

2. Team a leather piece with a contrasting texture for instant visual interest. A leather pencil skirt, for example, could conceivably be worn to the office with a boxy tweed jacket as long as your workplace isn't ultra-conservative.

3. If you're still nervous, choose a soft color instead of black or a leather accessory such as a pair of glamorous gloves or a slender bow belt. These won't raise any eyebrows but will still deliver a little stylish frisson.

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01 of 08

Timex

Ladylike Leather - Timex
Time Inc Digital Studio

Gold-toned watch with leather strap, Timex, $45; timex.com

02 of 08

Portolano

Ladylike Leather - Portolano
Time Inc Digital Studio

Napa leather gloves, Portolano Products, $210; at Portolano Products, 212-719-4403

03 of 08

Frances Heffernan

Ladylike Leather - Frances Heffernan
Time Inc Digital Studio

Napa leather and merino wool top, Svee, $255; at Frances Heffernan, 847-446-2112

04 of 08

Lisa Freede

Ladylike Leather - Lisa Freede
Time Inc Digital Studio

Leather and gold-plated cuff, Lisa Freede Jewelry, $95; lisafreede.com

05 of 08

Iris & Ink

Ladylike Leather - Iris & Ink
Time Inc Digital Studio

Why Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary loves this look: "The contrast of a demure silhouette (such as this full-skirted dress) with a material with such sexy connotations (black leather) is the height of allure. It makes the wearer more intriguing."

Leather dress, Iris amp Ink, $475;

theoutnet.com

06 of 08

Calvin Klein

Ladylike Leather - Calvin Klein
Time Inc Digital Studio

Style Secret from Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary: "Reach into your shoe stash for a pair of pointy-toe pumps, which will complete the slightly retro mood."

Faux-leather skirt, Calvin Klein, $110; at

macys.com

07 of 08

Skinny

Ladylike Leather - Skinny
Time Inc Digital Studio

Faux-leather belt, Skinny, $42; skinnystyle.com

08 of 08

Club Monaco

Ladylike Leather - Club Monaco
Time Inc Digital Studio

Lambskin and rayon-blend dress, Club Monaco, $698; 212-462-4390

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