DO THIS DON’T: Wear Leather Shorts in the Summer

What's so hot that it's cool? LEATHER SHORTS IN THE DEAD OF SUMMER!
Publish date:
July 25, 2012
shoppables, jewelry, fashion, leather, rock tees, shorts, style

Let me tell you the story of how I fell in love with a pair leather shorts. I originally purchased them from Free People for a tiny little actress on a pilot I was doing. It turns out that I had read the size tag as “zero” when it was really an “8.”

I put them on in the wardrobe room as a joke one day, and one of our costumers said, “Hey, those are kind of cute on you.”

I don’t need much more encouragement than that to wear something weird, so the leather shorts came home with me. I put them on for a dinner date with one of my girlfriends and instantly fell in love. I almost haven’t taken them off since.

Pro style, obviously.

This is how I garnered the courage to wear the leather shorts out of the house in the beginning: I texted the above picture to the friend I was meeting and asked, "Will you still sit next to me at dinner if I am wearing leather shorts and a Slayer T-shirt?" She laughed, positive I was joking. When I arrived at the restaurant, she looked me right in the eye and said, "Very Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages".

I didn’t come to the realization that these shorts were technically fake leather until I researched to see if they were still available for this post, and saw that they were listed as "vegan."

Vegan Leather Shorts, $98.00, Free People.

They look pretty realistic, but are actually made of pleather. They totally fooled me! I can already hear your cries of "swamp ass" and other lovely descriptive terms in reaction to the idea of wearing hot leather shorts in the summer. I hear you -- it’s completely counterintuitive.

The key to making a pair of leather anything work in the dead of summer is a sense of casualness. I love a pair of leather shorts when they are styled with a simple T-shirt, a pair of Converse and a chunky, sparkly necklace to add some fanciness back in to the mix. You can also wear platforms or ankle boots. Spindly heels or strappy sandals somehow cheapen the look. You need a shoe that has some heft to it to make such an inherently ridiculous item as pair of leather shorts look polished yet somehow totally rock & roll.

Here are some examples styled from my own closet:

It's my kitchen table! It's a photo studio!

Have a peek at these celebs & style bloggers successfully pulling off the summer leather shorts look I'm preaching if you don't believe me:

Celebs & Bloggers

Bloggers & Celebs

It helps to save them for when the sun goes down. I can’t imagine wearing leather shorts in the middle of the day, unless you are on a sitcom about your own life and want to get heatstroke so you can flirt with the cute doctor at the ER. But they are perfect for wearing to a casual dinner, movies in the park, or a bar. The trick is to wear them a little loose, not skin tight. I got mine a size up from what I would normally buy.

Clockwise from top left: Red vegan leather shorts, $98.00, Free People. Custom leather shorts in 36 colors, $75.00. Camel fringed leather shorts, $165.00. Purple leopard leather shorts, $330.00.

Clockwise from top left:Oxblood quilted leather shorts, $269.00. Pink leather cuffed shorts, $220.00. Black leather shorts, $82.85. Red suede shorts, $98.00.

I love wearing mine with rock T-shirts. I have been paying through the nose for them on eBay and at specialty second hand stores, but I was in JC Penney over the weekend buying my dad some socks when I stumbled across their insane collection of $10 rock tees! I love the way a rock tee looks with black leather shorts, so I of course bought both of these:

Left: Guns N' Roses tee, $10.00. Right: AC/DC tee, $10.00. Both, JC Penney.

Chop the sleeves off and the neck out of these for instant sex appeal. I am so over the baby doll tee with its form-fitting silhouette. Boyfriend tees are where it’s at right now.

I also really am digging these 80's vibe Wildfox Couture tees. They remind me so much of those Wham! "Choose Life" T-shirts that made a comeback a few years ago. Trends never die, they just hibernate.

Left: Pink "Never Ending Fun" tee, $59.00 Middle: Black "Take Me to the Sea" tee, $97.00. Both, Wildfox Couture. Right: Wham!

Some sparkly jewels are the other part of making this look work: I say pick one giant, eye-catching, whimsical piece and let it do all the work for you. The more sparkly the better. Think of yourself as a member of Judas Priest, but bejeweled instead of spiked.

Judas Priest, kids.

This reminds me of how much I miss the great LA cover band Nudist Priest, a Judas Priest cover band that played in the nude. Read that last sentence again. They broke up in 2007 and I still think about them at least once a month. The moral of this story is to wear some sparkly jewelry with your leather, hot stuff!

Rhinestone crystal bamboo hoop earrings, $35.00.

Blue rhinestone pretzel bracelet, $14.50.

Layered bubble pearl necklace in white or pink, $49.99 each at GirlProps.

Would you wear leather shorts in the summer? Or have I completely lost my mind? And don't you sort of miss Nudist Priest too, now that you know about them?


Alison (@IveyAlison if you exclusively like to read tweets about helicopters)