One of my all-time favorite combinations to wear in the Fall and Winter are leopard print and leather. They are like the PB&J of style, for an edgier minimalist like myself. Plus when I slip on a sleek leather jacket or don a pop of fierce leopard print, I find they give me an instant confidence boost like I am queen of my very own concrete jungle.
That being said, I tend to be really picky about the colors, prints, cut and fabrics I choose when adding either to my collection.
Leopard print in particular can be tricky. Too revealing and you can look like a high-class call girl, pick the wrong print and you end up looking like you escaped from the set of the Flintstones. I also have found that some synthetic fabrics, while more affordable, can end up looking really cheap (and are not very eco-friendly).
Personally, when it comes to leopard print, I like to stick to the traditional color palette and opt for classic pieces like outerwear, pencil skirts, wrap dresses or accessories like a handbag, clutch or scarf. But that’s just me, there really are no rules anymore.
Before, wearing any more than one leopard print piece was seen as a MAH-jor faux-paw (see what I did there?), but these days I have seen some killer leopard on leopard print mixing action that is making me want to take a walk on the wild side (okay, okay I’ll stop).
It really boils down to your personal style and what you feel comfortable in. I mean, just ask Lil’ Kim who infamously rocked a leopard print thong in a spread eagle squat for her debut cover album, Hard Core, in 1996.
When it comes to buying a leather jacket (real or faux), it also is a matter of personal taste. I would argue every woman needs at least one well made black leather jacket in her closet because they go with everything from jeans and a t-shirt, to a sequin covered cocktail dress.
Also, like a fine wine they just get so much better with age. I still own and wear the first leather jacket I ever purchased which was from Express back in High School. It fits like a glove and feels so good when I put it on. I also love that it has lasted for so long which is why I tend to lean towards finding a higher quality option if you can afford it.
That’s not to say that faux leather, or vegan leather jackets are not a great option. The hand-painted leather jacket I am wearing in this post is actually vegan leather, and from Forever 21. I have owned it for at least 3 years and it still looks brand new. In fact, I love it so much that my girlfriend Ashley and I hand painted it for my wedding day (more on that later).
Again, it boils down to a matter of personal style. I tend to avoid vinyl leather jackets and go more for a soft, smooth buttery feel regardless of if the jacket is genuine leather or not. I have found that I like quilted shoulder details over moto jacket detailing, and I like there to be some hardware or detailing (like embroidery), but not too much or I feel like it limits the wearability and can look really dated after a few seasons.
Not sure where to start? No worries, I have found some puuuuurfect options for you below to get you started (last one, I swear). Happy hunting!
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Photography by John Cobabe
Location: Springville, Utah