Here’s a question we haven’t discussed in far too long: When can you wear leather jackets to work? I’ve been thinking about this since Fortune had a big article about how women CEOs are often adding leather jackets for speaking engagements (or congressional testimony!) to add a bit of a youthful edge — but how does it translate if you’re on the younger/less established side of things?
I’m curious to hear what you guys think here, and what you think the boundaries are. Is a drapey leather jacket in a pastel color different than a moto jacket in a shiny black? If the leather has a worn look to it, does that push it to the more casual end of the spectrum?
I don’t think we’ve ever talked about leather jackets specifically, although we discussed leather skirts and the office a loooong time ago…
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Some specific leather jackets to consider for the discussion, including a reader favorite (the pink one, now down to $38 in some colors!):
Pictured: pink / black / white / black
For my $.02, I would advise anyone starting a new job to wait at least 2–3 weeks to get a sense of the office culture before you wear a leather jacket to work — and even then I’d probably only wear it after I saw another midlevel/junior person do so. (As readers have pointed out in the past, that’s the best gauge for how to determine what to wear to work — not by looking at the CEO/senior partner/other senior VIP.)
That said, I think it can be a fabulous look for a lot of workwear staples — adding a leather jacket adds polish and personality to a sheath dress, trousers, or (know your office!) jumpsuits.
Readers, how about you — what is your office like (conservative, business casual, very casual), and would you wear leather jackets to work the way you would a blazer or sweater? Do you think “any leather jacket goes,” or are there style boundaries you adhere to? When can you wear a leather jacket to work?
Photo via Deposit Photos / xcai.
I wear a faux leather moto jacket to work basically every day it’s temperature appropriate… east coast mid size law firm, most junior associate in my group. It’s not like I’m wearing it around the office – I wear business casual once I’m in the office. (dress or slacks with a blazer most of the time).
Our company/location is business casual, with most people leaning way to the casual side (jeans and tennis shoes are common, as are cold shoulder tops). I lean to the business side as the law department tends to dress that way as a group. I have a blush-colored jacket that is similar to the one on the left, but a touch more structured and I wear it during the spring a lot, as I would a blazer. It’s not out of place here at all.
I don’t want to wear leather (or fur) for ethical reasons. I like vegan leather in theory…but won’t it make you sweat?
I have a vegan leather jacket and can confirm that I get sweaty after awhile. :(
I have a cotton jacket from Anthropologie that is cut and styled exactly like a leather jacket (so it looks a little bit edgy). I don’t like wearing leather, either, and this has been a great compromise!
I wear an LJ to work with such regularity that my Kiddo calls them “Lawyer Jackets” (and pointy-toed heels in dark colors are Lawyer Shoes)!
The rest of my style is pretty sedate — black or jewel toned sheath dresses with sleeves, maybe a floral or plaid if I’m feeling wild, and on Fridays black or grey slacks with a company tee — so the LJ doesn’t make me look like a biker, just like me, but a little edgier.
The only people at my office who wear leather (or faux) as part of their day outfit are the fashionistas who have their own offices, so mid-level execs and above. Not sure if it’s about having the spare cash at that salary, having the ability to control the thermostat via their solo office, or something else. Lots of people wear leather (or faux) coats, though.
I’m a little confused – why not look at the C suite for fashion advice, particularly if you’re C-suite yourself?
Wearing a super-well tailored leather jacket is pretty much the power Silicon Valley look for women execs in Tech these days. It’s a thing.
I think a leather jacket is acceptable when the cut is clean and there is no embroidery or embellishments. Or else it feels too flashy.