How to Wear Leather Over 40

Leather pants, dresses, skirts, and jackets are fabulous clothing for women over 40. Don’t let the extreme versions that often come down the runways scare you.

Yes, you’ll see a lot of dramatic and sometimes wacky leather looks and a lot of head-to-toe black biker leather, but that doesn’t mean the runway matches the reality. There are many ways a grown-up gal can wear leather and not look over the top.

1. Opt for Colored Leather

When you think of leather, black leather is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But be careful here because black can often look harsh and too rocker chick on women over 40.


Why not try a caramel-colored one like I’m wearing here or some other colored leather?


Wine, Green, Navy, Teal, Royal Blue, Gold, and Marsala ( brown-red) are now famous.



Lauren Hutton’s soft, jade leather moto jacket is less harsh than a classic black one.

Pastel leather jackets are also in style and can work in winter and summer. If you are not into color, you can never go wrong with a neutral shade, the same color as your hair.

2. Buy Warm Weather Leather

Leather has become so popular we want to wear it year-round, so designers have responded with paper-thin leathers that are soft and buttery. These leathers are elegant and easy to wear, just like having a second skin.

3. Choose Feminine or Artsy Leather Pieces

Leather had dropped its tough guy image. Today’s ladylike leathers are light and supple, allowing them to be fitted and draped into the most feminine shapes. We’re seeing chic silhouettes like unfussy leather sheath dresses, flirty skirts, and asymmetrical jackets with precise detailing.

4. Try Fabric Blocking Leather

Pair leather with other non-leather pieces to make your look more classic than edgy. Pretty prints tone down leather too. For example, wear a printed skirt with a black leather jacket to soften the look. Fabric-blocked clothes like a cloth jacket with leather sleeves or knit pants with leather panels also help lift the dark mood.

5. Have Fun with Textured Leather

Quilted leather ( think Chanel) is hot. So is braided leather. Studs and metal on leather are another way to add texture and give you a fashion-forward edge.

6. Try On a Pair of Leather Leggings 

Often, our fear of something, such as being too young or fat, holds us back, and we limit our choices. Revisit the idea of leather leggings and see how they look and feel for you. They are not as hard to wear as you might think. (Don’t weather leather pants and a leather jacket together. That’s overkill)

Skinny leather or faux leather pants look chic if you dress them up with a silky blouse and heels or a chunky, oversized sweater. Leather leggings are super comfortable. You might be surprised how much you like them once you try them.


7. Mix Leather with a Floral Dress

Another way to ease into leather is to pair a light or bright-colored leather jacket with a pretty patterned dress.


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One thought on “How to Wear Leather Over 40

  1. Yes! I have a red leather jacket that I always pull out this time of year and I receive compliments every time I wear it. The jacket is a good color for me and the red aligns perfectly with the holiday season. I appreciate your words of caution about black leather–I think I’ll look for a better alternative for my next leather purchase. Thanks for the tip.

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