How to Wear Black Leather Over 40

Black leather has never been more popular, but if you wonder whether it’s too rock n’ roll for a grown-up gal, just look at Olivia Newton John.

oliva newton john black leggings

These days she’s rockin black leather just as well as she did when she starred in Grease, and she’s no spring chicken anymore!

Leather is stylish over 40, but how do you wear it without it looking like worn out biker chic? It boils down to a couple of things:

Confidence-  If  you don’t feel authentic in black leather, you’ll never look cool in it. It’s edgy. Be sure it suits your personality.


Who knew Olivia Newton John loved leather so much?  Suze Orman and Jacqueline Bisset look right at home wearing it head-to-toe.

Styling is key.  Most women can pull off black leather if they want to. It’s all in the way you wear it. For example:

black leather jacket

1. Be Careful Wearing Black Leather Near Your Face

Unfortunately, black leather  worn near the face can make mature women look harsh. The high contrast of leather against aging skin emphasizes imperfections and drains the complexion.

If you are gong to wear a black leather jacket, try adding a pretty scarf to soften things up. Otherwise, a touch of leather, elsewhere is all most women need to get that edgy vibe.

Choose black leather leggings or  a skirt etc. to be your focal point and mix it up with another piece of clothing in a different material. You’ll look softer and classier when you combine black leather with varying textures and patterns. For example, black leather with silk, black leather with tweed, black leather with lace.

Other good ways to wear black leather over 40?

2. Choose Classic Shapes and Styles:

This leather pencil skirt from Mugler is perfect for the office. Pair it with a sweater or blouse  for a feminine touch.
3. Try Ruffles

If wearing leather makes you feel too tough, then find a leather coat with feminine details like a small ruffle or a subtle peplum detail.  This jacket is edgy and feminine at the same time.
4. Pair Leather with a Silky Blouse

A soft, flowing blouse in silk or chiffon creates a modern contrast and adds softness to this hard-edged, woman’s black leather jacket.
5. Use Leather as an Accent

If you just can’t get your head around leather, but want to look fashionable, why not use it to accent a part of your body such as your waist? This belted leather dress  is a great example of that.
6. Go Easy on the Hardware

Studs, chains and zippers on leather may be fun, but a cleaner look is classier after 40. Don’t go overboard with shiny hardware that makes you look like you belong to a motorcycle gang.Think elegant, not rock and roll and you’ll get it right. This beautiful quilted, women’s black leather biker jacket from Via Spiga is classy, but still very cool.
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  1. How about a leather skirt that is not a mini (just above the knees) when softened as explained above and not worn with other leather?

    • Hi Mary,
      Sure Leather skirts are fabulous…just not a mini. At the knee or just above the knee is best, and try wearing your leather skirt with with black tights and tall boots for a great look. Above the waist you can wear a silky blouse to soften things up, or a jacket, or top that is not leather. You’ve got the right idea!!