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How to Wear… Leather + Florals

March 8, 2010

I’m currently attempting to add a little androgyny to my wardrobe (read: not emulating Blair 24/7) I’ve taken out my leather jacket again. I bought it two summers ago at a fast fashion store in Cannes when the leather jacket was the hottest item of the season. Fast forward two years and the trend is still going strong. My favorite way to wear this trend is with florals. (At my last count, I own one floral cocktail dress, two vintage floral dresses, three floral day dresses, five floral skirts, a floral tank top, and a floral cardigan – I believe that qualifies as a certifiable obsession!) The combination of leather and florals is the perfect way to transition to spring. The two trends are complete opposites – one is rock-‘n-roll-inspired, tough, and edgy; the other is soft, feminine, and sweet. When paired together, they result in a chic, laid-back style that doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard. Here’s my take:

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Leather + Florals
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Outfit #1: Go for a girly update on leather with this coral lambskin leather studded jacket. The jacket brings out the gorgeous coral hue in this floral camisole. Additionally, the lace trim on the cami emphasizes the femininity of the look, adding to the theme of hard versus soft. Finish the outfit with a pair of classic skinny jeans and bright flats to keep warm on chilly March days.
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Outfit #2: This asymmetrical yellow motorcycle jacket is undoubtedly the most original take on leather I’ve seen! Let the jacket be the focal point of the outfit and pair it with a simple white pocket tee. To add a sweet factor to the look, go for a floral mini in a contrasting color. Finally, opt for leather espadrilles to match the blue skirt.
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Outfit #3: If you prefer a sophisticated monochromatic palette, this outfit is for you. This basic Topshop dress is kicked up a notch with a pale gray leather jacket. A pair of perfectly worn in cowboy boots with zig-zag embroidery add a slight country feel, diffusing the girly details – floaty skirt, floral print, crocheted belt – on the dress.
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Here are a few tips on how and how not to wear leather and florals:
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Do find the right proportions for your body – this includes the correct fit of the jacket as well as the size of the floral print. When purchasing a jacket, check to make sure the sleeves are long enough, the shoulder seams cover your entire shoulder, and that you can zip it up without any pulling or gaping across the chest. As a general rule, large-scale prints emphasize and small-scale prints hide minimize, so choose your florals wisely.
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Don’t be afraid of color! Leather jackets don’t have to be just black or brown. I chose to feature coral, yellow, and pale gray because they feel especially appropriate for spring. However, if you are planning on splurging, make sure to get a color you know you will wear often.
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Do experiment with a variety of styles. Pair your jacket with dresses, skirts, tees and tanks, rompers, shorts, jeans, or leggings – the possibilities are endless. One jacket can create dozens of looks using pieces you already own!
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Don’t forget about shoes! Shoes can make or break an outfit. With such a fun combination of leather and florals, you have the liberty to play up the girly side of your outfit with sweet flats or go edgy with Doc Martens. Try to maintain a balance between tough and sweet.
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The key to wearing leather with florals is to create an unexpected look. The contrast between the super-feminine floral print and the tough, edgy leather is visually interesting. Furthermore, the connotations of each – “good girl” versus “bad boy”, if you will – are intriguing to explore and play with.
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What are your thoughts on this trend? Do you like leather? Florals? Do you like them together?
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– Mademoiselle Hannah
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