Forget about biker jackets and tall oxfords – men’s leather pants are a must-have item.
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Don’t believe me? You might not see men traipsing around in polished leather trousers at the grocery store, but it’s a trend that’s been bubbling under the radar – thanks to a fascination with western wear and motocross over the past few years – and gracing the runways in a few forms.
Fondly, I remember that back in 2019, Rick Owens introduced the “Why not?” concept of leather puff-sleeve jackets, looking like something Lady Gaga might have donned during her “Bad Romance” era. So pants, slim to regular in silhouette, don’t seem like that far of a stretch.
Yet, while men’s leather pants might seem strangely absent from our daily outings, they were a fixture of Fashion Week presentations. I spotted them among high-fashion brands Celine, AMI, Hermes, Lanvin, Loewe, and Versace. And, signaling the imminent adoption by the everyday consumer, luxury streetwear brands like AMIRI and Fear of God dabbled with them at the same time.
Leather’s a curious material – one that’s simultaneously practical yet riddled with a sense of the forbidden. It reflects a cowboy on the plains dressing for the weather and his long trek – and well as protective clothing for motorcycle riders to avoid road rash and more serious injuries.
At the same time, pants, more so than a leather jacket, seem stolen from fetish culture, perhaps borrowed from or taking a too-obvious influence from 1970s movie Cruising. As such, anything leather beyond an overshirt seems to be approached with a degree of trepidation.
Still, red carpet trends can make something complicated or too out of social bounds become more accessible. Indicating the average man could try out leather trousers, they’ve been spotted on Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, Rami Malek, Timothée Chalamet, Jeff Goldblum, and Joe Jonas, to name a few.
So, if you’re contemplating this trend but aren’t sure about how to start, begin with my following tips:
Choosing a Pair of Leather Pants
- Despite their rockstar implications, don’t treat leather trousers as an oddity – the material makes them a statement piece by default. Instead, avoid the bright shades for something versatile, like solid black or brown.
- Understand the materials out there. Not all leathers are the same – especially if you opt for faux leather over the real thing. Suede, while the most neutral, tends to require a greater degree of care. Lamb leather, by contrast, provides the most accessibility, with a matte, almost denim-like appearance.
- Pay attention to the lining. Yes, a Friends episode shows what happens when you don’t wear talcum powder under a pair of real or faux men’s leather pants. Today, though, brands seem to know better, and have been outfitting their styles with lightweight cotton lining.
- Don’t ignore the fit. These aren’t the skin-tight pants of ’90s and ‘00s rockstars – nor are they the pleather leggings occasionally emerging from the womenswear world. Instead, you’ll notice a skinny to regular fit among offerings, so understand what best fits your body, both getting on and off.
- Be adventurous. Think a skinny cut’s right for you? Go for it. Beyond the fit, leather’s making its way among other trouser silhouettes, adding a degree of weight and luxury to track pants and joggers.
- Think about the rest of your outfit. In general, keep it all low key, in neutral hues and materials. Avoid the loud prints or shimmering rayons and silks. Instead, pair this style experimentation with quality knits, simple button-downs, a fitted T-shirt, or a denim jacket. Footwear wise, it’s the same deal: forego the campy-leaning cowboy boots for leather dress boots or sneakers.
- Give them a break-in period. For many guys, your leather pants might feel stiff initially. But, just as with a jacket, a break-in period allows the material to conform to your body, thus improving the fit and feel.
Looking to try out men’s leather pants yourself? Maybe you can try one from my list of favorites:
Design wise, these are stylishly slim tapered trousers in a soft calf leather. I found that this pair isn’t only soft on the outside but lined with cupro on the inside for your comfort.
This skinny, alternative-styled version stands out from the pack with a vertical striped blend. Unlike other faux leather offerings, these pants start with polyester to provide a greater degree of comfort and flexibility.
If this is your first time even considering men’s leather pants, start with the brands that have found success in the leather goods market.
Start simple with this pair lambskin leather pants. Personally, I think that a regular fit and classic five-pocket design set an accessible stage for solid black leather, but the crinkled texture gives it a more unique look.
For a ‘90s denim interpretation done in leather, this design captures the vibe precisely. Made in Italy, this pair will not disappoint even those with luxurious tastes.
Athletic accents add character to this slim-cut pair of men’s leather pants, including a drawstring waist and elastic drawcord cuffs.
Over the past few years, Anthony Vaccarello’s vision for Saint Laurent menswear has involved skin-tight silhouettes and heavy contrasts. These pants capture that with solid-black lamb leather yet keep the wearer’s comfort in mind with a breathable cotton blend lining.
Other doesn’t shy away from its significant rock ‘n’ roll influences. That comes through in this leather construction with a slim yet tapered fit and lightly textured appearance.
The “it” menswear silhouette – skinny but not tight, with almost a tapered leg. The Italian, made in lamb leather, gets a leather-based interpretation from BLK DNM.
Sacai lives up to its increasingly gender-neutral reputation with a straight cut in jet-black leather, capturing the perceived rockstar lifestyle across eras and genres.
What Men’s Underwear Should You Wear Under Leather Pants?
Most men’s leather pants feature linings these days, meaning that it’s possible to go commando. You should probably opt for tight-fitting boxer briefs, though. Wearing underwear keeps things much more hygienic. Considering you should only wash your leather pants when necessary, that’s a good thing.
What Men’s Shoes Should You Wear With Tight Leather Pants?
Sneakers, boots, and loafers all look great with tight leather pants. Sneakers give a hip and casual feel without being showy. Plain black boots can lend an austere, minimalistic vibe, while pointed toe boots are great for a night out.
Who Makes the Best Men’s Leather Pants?
All the brands on this list make fabulous leather pants. If price is no object, I recommend the effortlessly cool styles of Saint Laurent. Milwaukee Leather is a good choice if you’re new to leather pants and looking for a good value.
Should You Wear Tight or Loose Leather Pants?
You want a reasonably snug fit for leather pants – too loose risks cracking the leather. Remember when trying on leather pants that they will stretch and become looser the longer you wear them, which will affect how they hang on your body.
When Is It Appropriate to Wear Leather Pants?
You probably shouldn’t wear them to your cousin’s wedding or when giving an important work presentation, but leather pants are surprisingly versatile.
With a plain t-shirt and plain boots, leather pants really work as a weekend casual look, even in the summer.