How to wear summer leather

Jul 15, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. ET

From leather shorts to baby pink biker jackets, here's how to incorporate leather into your existing summer outfits without losing your cool (or your edge).

Kerry Washington wearing a red leather dress

Leather has more street cred than almost any other item in a cool girl's wardrobe. And as it starts to heat up, there's no need to abandon it.

Wear a summer-hued leather jacket

Forget boring black and go tropical with a biker jacket in your favorite gelato-hued shade. To make your jacket feel easy and breezy, team it with a cute bandage-style skirt in a geometric print, some rock 'n' roll shades and urban-inspired flats for a look that instantly says, “I'm in control.”

Summer leather jacket

Pink Balenciaga jacket (HGBagsonline.com, $1,886), Geometric striped skirt (bcbg.com, $107),
Retro shades (forever21.com, $6), Patent Blucher flats (zara.com, $90)

Slip on a leather dress

From Kate Bosworth to Angelina Jolie to Kerry Washington, there's no hotter celebrity look on the red carpet than a sleek, slim-line and oh-so-sexy leather dress. The secret is to stay away from anything too 1980s in favor of a simple, minimalist look with uber clean lines. Team it with sexy summer shoes, un-fussy hair and makeup and a single statement accessory like a cuff for a look that screams, “Look at me.”

Leather dress for summer

Leather dress by Rebecca Vallance (thegrandsocial.com.au, $205),
Yellow strappy heels (stevemadden.com, $80), Chained metal cuff (forever21.com, $6)

Squeeze into some leather shorts

Just because you're wearing summer shorts doesn't mean they can't have a little attitude. This summer, swap out your usual silk or linen shorts for a leather pair. The unexpected fabric choice gives you instant edge and brilliantly contrasts your usual summer classics like a breezy silky tank, open pastel blazer and stacked summer heel for a look that's perfect for day or night and declares, “expect the unexpected!”

Leather shorts for summer

Piper Gore cognac leather shorts (shopbop.com, $396), Pastel blue linen blazer (zara.com, $90), Cross-back tank (zara.com, $30), Brown platform sandal (ninewest.com, $60)

More style

The art of dressing cool
5 Cute leather jackets to add to your wardrobe
We're obsessed with Jennifer Aniston's leather dress

Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

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