I’m not a heavy metal chick. I’m not punk, I’m not goth, hardly a rebel without a cause. Thus, when I wear leather, I feel a bit like an imposter—the material seems meant for rockers, groupies, Marlon Brando, aviation pilots, The Fonz: cool people. And as much as I’d like to convince myself otherwise, I am incontrovertibly nerdy: a girl who would much rather curl up to a book at 11pm than set out for a night on the town. I prefer tea to lattes, enjoy unwinding my day over a Vogue Paris and a lit Baies candle, feel a jolt of excitement when I hear about the latest skincare miracle, make a trip to Pierre Hermé for a box of macarons on every visit to Paris, and schedule early morning yoga classes every Sunday: in today’s vocabulary I am quintessentially basic.
But I like to think that I have a streak of roughness in me. For starters, I hated ballet as a little girl—and while hardly the ’toughest’ sport out there—became a figure skater, who, to the chagrin of her coach, focused far too much on landing double and triple jumps instead of learning the artistry to become the perfect ice princess. I prefer taking a hike in the hills than sitting down for a pedi.* And though I hate to admit, I’m pretty independent, hate asking for help, and get fairly angry when any boy expects me to clean their dishes, was their laundry, or cook their food.
And so leather. I cannot get enough of leather—biker jackets and matte leather pants, sleek shorts.. and this skirt. Like those women finally expressing their "inner goddess" through Fifty Shades, I want to express that inner tough girl through this sartorial vehicle.*
Frankly, I’m surprised this skirt wasn’t my gateway drug into the world of leather garments. With pleated flounces, leather softens its hard-core look and shows its girlier side, looking wholly more appropriate on someone like me. When a garment is generally associated with subcultures in which you definitely do not belong, you need to find a way to integrate that item into your wardrobe. I generally pair my leather jackets with silks and soft cotton pieces, but this skirt seems to avoid that foregone conclusion. While I chose to pair it with floral footwear here (which deserve their own post, in my opinion), I will be wearing this with sneakers and boots… and dare I say, even a masculine leather jacket that will still be softened by the skirt’s girlish adornment.
While I may not be a regular of those grungy yet uber-cool clubs of the Lower East Side, I think I’ve found the perfect way to hint at my sassier side without jolting my friends with a seemingly incongruous ensemble.
Now, how to reimagine the western/cowboy trend without making me look like a troubled extra from The Lone Ranger...
My question to you is: are there some trends you find off-limits? Or can any trend be refashioned and appropriated into anyone’s sartorial lexicon?
* Though I can still appreciate a good foot massage.
Self-photographed with a Canon 6D and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4