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Leather For Summer? Yes, You Can.

Can leather and suede clothes really work for summer? The Fashion Mailbag says, yes, sometimes.

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Leather and suede for summer: yay or nay?

I say yay only because they make so much summer leather and suede stuff nowadays, and if you're the type who likes to experiment with clothes you shouldn't NOT wear something because it's unconventional and silly. Without fashion experimentation we wouldn't have Lady Gaga, Jersey Shore, Vineyard Vines, pajama pants for day, Kim Kardashian's Sears line — the list would go on longer than her 15 minutes. (ZINGITY ZING!)

However, as with all fashion experimentation you should consider your circumstances. If you're making a cameo on Real Housewives, for instance, stretch, rouched satin is the way to go for any and all things you might do on the program, from the pinot grigio party to the fight with bitches at lunch to the 80s-themed Scrabble/fighting party. But stretch satin for the office on any old Tuesday? Most likely inappropriate. So let's look at leather and suede: If you're Kim Kardashian going on Jimmy Kimmel's talk show, yes, you will wear your totally out-of-season-looking long sleeved black leather dress. It was a hot piece, but this is Kim K and outfits are like condoms for her: use once and discard. Besides, this was probably a fall item that her stylist got to borrow for her before it hit stores, because celebrities are special like that. And if she sweats she probably has a production assistant out of screen carrying a portable A/C with a holster of spray foundation in his belt to make sure she doesn't end up with shiny face. So what I'm really trying to say is, a long-sleeved black leather dress makes sense for her.

But a normal person? I'd suggest leather or suede shorts or a skirt if you want to really go for it. Or, if you're somewhere with cool evenings, maaayyyybe leather-paneled leggings to pair with a breezy blouse. Or if you have somewhere dressy to go that isn't a rager at a nightclub or something in that genre of sexy wasted activity, maybe a dress in a sweet color like this Porter Gray number would work (if you can spend $995 on a dress):

This dress is even perforated for ventilation to keep your outfit from doubling as a steam room (mm!):

The de facto nightclub outfit worn by 20-something girls in New York who aren't hipsters but want to look like them for a few hours when they're out dancing on booths — you know, seducing people and getting stared at — is a pair of super-short high-waisted (p)leather shorts with a loose white top (often cropped) and a long pendant necklace. Like this, but without the sweater:

Or this with more jewelry:

If you want to execute such a look for your drunken, LOOK IT'S ME, nighttime escapades (or dayscapades, which I guess might work with flats?), you really might want to go for the pleather. And I'm a materials snob so this is the only time I will probably suggest pleather. Because why go to the expense of real leather shorts that you're going to wear out partying where a) no one can see you in the dim lighting, and b) you're going to get spilled on? Besides, summer leather is a trend that will die, just like all these fads do. Remember when we all thought it was cool to wear Balmain outfits that cost thousands of dollars and looked like they'd been dug up from the dump?

An actual Balmain runway look. The tee-shirt was sold in stores for $1,625.

An actual Balmain runway look. The tee-shirt was sold in stores for $1,625.

Anyway, if you're in a situation that rules out real leather, it probably also rules out suede. Suede is really hard to keep clean and just seems sweatier and grosser for some reason. If you want to go there, I suggest a loose, low-back thing like this See by Chloe dress (on sale for $535.50 at Shopbop):


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