Style

Can I Pull Off Leather Pants?

Over the summer, I was at dinner in Berlin with an eclectic group that included stylist and fashion director of 032c Marc Goehring. I was expressing my newly discovered interest in leather pants when he, an experienced wearer, offered to take me to the local fetish store, well known for its custom made leather pants. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time, but that conversation planted a seed that grew quickly. The signs continued—my fashion-forward friend Michael Martin-del-Campo bought an incredibly chic Helmut Lang pair that fit him perfectly. District Vision co-founder and known hunk Tom Daly strolled into Dig Inn on Prince Street (whatever) one night wearing a vintage black leather pair with a denim shirt and an old North Face. They all wore leather pants in different ways, but they looked great.

I desperately wanted to dip my toe in the water, but it felt a bit out of reach. My style was a little more simple, dad-like, and decidedly not flashy. Still, I rushed home and fired up eBay to start trawling the world wide web. I needed a pair.

Although I consider myself to be an understated dresser, I often find myself attracted to statement pants: orange single-pleat chinos from Noah, Realtree Camouflage track pants from Stussy, even a pair of custom floral double knee work pants from Pentimento Shop. The more I scrolled through eBay and looked at #inspo online, the more leather pants began to feel truly approachable. If there is a will, there is a way. I didn’t want to look like an auxiliary musician hired for a Sex Pistols Vegas residency starring a hologram version of Sid Vicious, or even worse, Jeff Goldblum trying to stay relevant. I wanted to look like myself, but with a cool new twist. I am not Iggy Pop.

A man in a crosswalk wearing leather pants a puffer jacket and sunglasses

Spoiler alert: Chris found his pants and liked them.

Eric Chakeen

I decided that if I wore black leather pants in place of my usual Levi’s 501s that they would work. I would look like myself—maybe slightly more fashion-forward, but not like a ’60s Jim Morrison or an ’80s Joan Collins. In my mind, I would be a slightly preppy coastal elite New York City transplant combined with just a pinch of New Romanticism. Like: imagine if Malcolm McLaren had starred in School Ties.

After weeks of searching, I found a pair in an odd place. Like Lindsay Lohan, I had not thought about the premium denim category since 2006. But one evening while scrolling through Google search results, I found a simple pair made by Joe’s Jeans. No logos, no weird buckles; just plain black, unadorned leather pants. It felt strange, but on screen they looked right. I took the plunge.

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