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Fashion Link: How to Style The Leather Pant Trend

While leather pants are hardly new to the fashion scene, they’ve become bigger than ever in the last few months. We had our first hint that leather pants would soon be trending in a major way when we saw them all over the fall/winter 2020 runways. Then, at the tail end of 2020, fashion-forward celebs and style influencers really started embracing the trend-- and, suddenly, the leather pant was everywhere, announcing itself as one of the most dominant trends of 2021.

An interesting development in the world of leather pants is the sheer variety of styles we’ve seen recently. During the last notable surge in leather pant popularity, the skin-tight black leather legging was essentially the only trending style. But in 2021, style-setters have branched out in their leather looks. We’re seeing leather pants that feature wide legs, straight legs, bootcut legs, tailoring, various colorways, unique finishes, sporty details, and more.

With so much variation within the 2021 leather pant trend, there’s truly something for everyone. If you’re wondering which of these ultra cool leather pant styles is right for you-- or how you can pull one of these styles off-- read on. Ahead, we’re going over all the trending leather pants of 2021, as well as giving some tips on how you can style them.


Trouser-Style Leather Pants

image of women posing with black leather pants

Image Courtesy Aritzia

Let’s start with the biggest trend in leather pants for 2021: the leather trouser. This leather pant style adds some edge to the classic trouser silhouette and provides a refreshing alternative to the hyper form-fitting leather pant styles of years past. It’s worth noting that the rise of the leather trouser comes alongside an overall fashion trend that marks a shift in how we’re wearing pants. People are veering away from skinny pants and toward looser pants in every pant category, and the leather category is no exception.

There are so many ways to style a pair of leather trousers, as they have a classic and simple shape that pairs well with clothes all across the style spectrum. Wearing leather trousers with a fitted knit top, a button up, a turtleneck, or a structured jacket would provide an elegant take on the trend. You could also go more casual and pair your leather trousers with a t-shirt, sneakers, or an oversized sweater. Or, if you like a more bold look, you could complement your trousers with a lingerie bodysuit, a boxy jacket, a brightly colored statement top, or a full length coat. Leather trousers really lend themselves to experimentation, so the sky’s the limit in terms of styling possibilities.


Paperbag Leather Pants

image of paperbag leather pants
Image Courtesy of ASOS

While paperbag leather pants are closely related to trouser-style leather pants, they’re distinct enough to be their own unique subset in the leather category. Like the season’s trouser-style leather pants, paperbag leather pants tend to have relaxed legs and a high waist. But then, of course, they also have their style-defining cinched paperbag waist detailing. A paperbag waist is always flattering, chic, and feminine. The look of a paperbag waist adds a romantic quality to a pair of leather pants, so paperbag leather pants offer a softer, more playful take on the leather look.

The key to styling paperbag pants is to pair them with something that can be tucked in, which will allow the paperbag element of your look to take focus and make a statement. Anything from a loosely tucked plain white t-shirt to a finely knit sweater that hugs your figure will look fantastic alongside a pair of paperbag leather pants. As far as shoes go, the best choice will generally depend on leg cut. Paperbag leather pants can feature a jogger style cut with a cinched ankle. The jogger style has a versatile casual-cool look, so it looks good with anything from stilettos to sneakers. Paperbag leather pants can also feature wide legs or straight legs, both of which look more inherently upscale than the jogger leg. For a wide or straight leg paperbag style, consider pairing your pants with a shoe that’s neat and sleek, like a fitted bootie or a classic loafer.


Faux Leather Leggings

image of women wearing a white sweater and faux leather leggings

Image Courtesy of Anthropologie

While skin-tight faux leather leggings aren’t at the top of the leather pant trend ranking for 2021, they’re definitely still in style. So, if you love the sleek, stylish, and sexy look of leather leggings, you have plenty of on-trend outfit options to choose from.

In the leather legging category, we’re seeing an uptick in the popularity of shinier styles, including latex-effect styles. An on-trend way to rock the latex faux leather pant look is to juxtapose your bolder bottoms with classic pieces in softer colors. For example, you could pair a shinier pair of high rise leather leggings with a white cashmere sweater, a pussybow blouse, or a classic blazer in a pastel hue. Another option for styling faux leather leggings this season is to lean into their edgy look by pairing them with combat boots, a vintage graphic tee, or an oversized leather biker jacket. Then, you could also go for a sporty activewear look by pairing your faux leather leggings with a ribcage grazing crop top, a cute sports bra, or a puffer vest and long sleeve tee.


Leather Cargo Pants

image of women in cargo pants

Image Courtesy of Hailey Bieber

One of the year’s more unexpected leather trends is the leather cargo pant. This sporty take on leather pants feels like an updated version of the moto leather pants we’ve seen in recent years, which gave us exposed zipper pockets and race-ready linear detailing. Leather cargo pants have a similar feel, yet lean more casual, thanks to their highly functional pockets and looser, sweatpants adjacent fit. 

Leather cargo pants have a distinctly outdoorsy vibe, so you can go one of two ways when styling them. You can lean into their sportiness and pair your pants with pieces that are ready for the hiking trail, such as sneakers and a fleece jacket. Or, you can play with juxtaposition and pair your leather cargo pants with upscale pieces, like stilettos and pearl-adorned top.


Chocolate Brown Leather Pants

image of a women wearing chocolate brown leather pants

Image Courtesy of Kim Kardashian

Black leather tends to dominate the leather fashion trend, but brown leather is also having a moment in 2021. And, actually, a variety of non-black leather pants have popped up on celebs, runways, and influencers. We’re also seeing a good amount of khaki leather pants, tan leather pants (including luxe suede varieties), and some brightly colored faux leather pants. However, out of all the non-black leather pant options, chocolate brown leather pants are the clear winner in terms of popularity. 

There are so many ways to style a pair of chocolate brown leather pants. One of our absolute favorites, however, is to go monochrome. By pairing a chocolate brown leather pants with a brown or tan top and heels, you’ll create a chic and striking look that calls attention to the uniquely beautiful color of your leather pants.



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