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A black leather jacket is practically a wardrobe essential. It makes everyone, regardless of age, size and shape, feel rock-star cool. Slip it on and your confidence soars. But don’t be a snob and get stuck on real leather. Try faux leather, or eco-friendly “vegan,” as it’s often called, which is newer, lighter, more supple (requiring no break-in period, unlike the real stuff), easier to wear and a lot less costly. At the same time, leather can send the wrong message and make women look harsh, not stylish. Here’s how to walk on the wild side.
1. Get the right kind of edge
A black leather jacket feels sexy, but finding one that’s not too tough is tough. It must hit the sweet spot between cool, classy and stylish, with a buttery soft texture and a fit that’s not too tight, too loose, oversized or bulky. Choose one that suits your taste. Biker styles with an asymmetric zip are the edgiest; moto styles with a band collar are still racy but not as rowdy; draped-collar jackets are subtly glam; and blazers have a don’t-mess-with-me style that’s classic and professional. Avoid a too-aggressive look by focusing on a sleek design that’s minus extra studs, fringe or quilting, and by pairing it with streamlined pieces like wide-leg pants, a skirt (pencil, pleated or midi) and your favorite jeans — never with other leather pieces.
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2. Buy tailored leather basics
Another solution is to skip the jacket dilemma and head for faux leather dresses and skirts that look more fashionable, less fierce. Select neutrals like black, brown, caramel and beige that will mix and match easily with your existing wardrobe. Since faux leather is virtually season-less, stay with streamlined shifts and A-line dresses and midi skirts that will look as stylish with mules and sandals as they do with boots and booties now.