TZR Editors Are Reimagining Leather For Fall

Think outside the boot.

TZR, Getty Images

Just like lace to spring and linen to summer, leather is synonymous with fall, commanding all manner of fashion essentials from head to toe. And while classic buttery trench coats and sleek knee-high riding boots will always have their place, this season, designers are taking the staple fabric and elevating it to interesting new heights. Yes, fall 2023’s iteration of leather must-haves are stepping outside the box like never before.

Take for instance, the crayon-colored leather jackets seen at Miu Miu. The soft, lived-in outerwear was set against shades of goldenrod, olive, rich teal, and raspberry. And then there’s the ode to the early aughts indie punk scene at Celine’s Fall/Winter 2023 presentation. Hedi Slimane sent models down the stage-turned-runway at Los Angeles’ Wiltern theater in stovepipe trousers and glittering blazers to Jack White’s blaring guitar riff.

For those interested in dressier takes on leather goods, try going Coperni’s route and reach for a ripped-up mini dress for your next fall soirée. Or, if you’re still stuck on a classic longline coat, Gabriela Hearst’s black patchwork-inspired silhouette could be a great way to embrace a traditional style in a fresh and unexpected way.

The world truly is your oyster when it comes to fall leather. If you’re not quite sure where to start on your search, let TZR editors guide you in the myriad ways to embrace the fabric this season.

In Color

“Although my favorite season is summer, there’s something about getting dressed for fall and the shopping that comes with it that makes it more fun than any other time of the year. Perhaps it’s the temperate climate that allows for full sartorial expression (no puffers in my rotation yet!), the warmer colors I gravitate toward, or simply that it feels like a new beginning. For this start of the ‘new’ year, I’m investing in a boxy leather jacket in a deep hue like this dark yellow mustard piece from Miu Miu’s Fall/Winter 2023 runway. The blazer-like silhouette and slightly oversize fit offers a polished and warm outerwear option beyond the traditional peacoat or the edgier moto jacket. I’ll layer a jewel-toned knit underneath and a neutral bottom to balance out the rest of the colors. To dress up, I’ll style with a pair of ladylike kitten heels, but most likely I’ll be sporting a trusted pair of loafers with the preppy leather jacket.” — Kathy Lee, editor-in-chief

So Dressy

“Considering it only gets moderately chilly in Los Angeles in the fall, I can’t in good conscience justify investing in a heavy leather coat at the moment. That said, a more breathable sleeveless dress in the same material? Totally practical. I loved the fun and flirty tiered trapeze dress that floated down the Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter 2023 runway earlier this year. It feels both fresh and fun for any West Coast affair this coming months, especially when paired with equally playful accessories. I also love the idea of juxtaposing the frilly silhouette with Western-style footwear to balance out the look a bit.” — Angela Melero, executive editor

Soft & Suede

“I’ve always had a thing for the kind of oversize, artfully beat up jackets that you could’ve borrowed from your 11th grade crush and never given back — or perhaps lifted from your grandfather’s wardrobe. But what makes this Prada style so special to me in particular (besides, you know, the luscious cocoa color and the sumptuous way it hangs) is the pitch-perfect contrast it offers against a floaty white mini skirt and matching optic pumps. Cozy cashmere ties the whole thing together, making for the ultimate option for a crisp fall evening with more than on social engagement. My personal touch? Adding in a flash of sparkle via this Dorsey diamond necklace.” — Alison Syrett, deputy fashion editor

Maxxed Out

“I’ve always been fond of midlength skirts because they give me the illusion of height. But seeing this leather maxi saunter down the runway at Coach’s Fall/Winter 2023 show completely shifted my mindset. The boxy column shape is just fitted enough to add length, not bulk, to my short stature, while the low-slung waistline is perfect for slim T-shirts or a cropped blouse. Though I do appreciate the matching leather jacket moment displayed on the runway, I’d likely pair this floor-length piece with a thin-knitted black turtleneck and some moderately heeled ankle boots. And since fall is extremely busy time for me, a classic shoulder bag that’s large enough to carry my laptop and other essentials would be the best way to top off this look.” — Jessica Fields, beauty writer

Patch It Up

“I’ve always wanted a Matrix-inspired black coat in my outerwear collection, but I haven’t found one that doesn’t feel like a costume. When this look came down the Gabriela Hearst Fall/Winter 2023 runway, I was immediately drawn to the cutouts on the outerwear. Upon closer inspection though, you’ll see the style is actually composed of bonded nappa leather pieces that are sewn together to form the garment. Since the tiny slits let light through, the piece doesn’t give that cumbersome, bulky feel you associate with leather. The design already makes a statement on its own, so I’ll let it take the spotlight by keeping my pieces underneath simple: a cardigan, black jeans, and cream-colored loafers that coordinate back to my top, will do. Finally, as I plan to wear this outfit to the office, I'll tack on Sézane’s chic tote bag in brown to complete this neutral color palette I have going on.” — Marina Liao, senior fashion news editor

Indie Sleaze

“It might be 2023, but my Spotify top-played songs says otherwise. Musically, I’m still in the heyday of the early 2000s indie rock boom. Fashionwise, I’ve evolved as I get deeper into my 30s and my tastes mature, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the trends from that era. Needless to say I’m welcoming the return of the ‘indie sleaze’ aesthetic with open arms this fall. While I won’t be resurrecting my horizontal headbands and ripped tights, my eye is on Celine’s elevated takes on the era from its indie-inspired Fall/Winter 2023 collection, specifically, the look featuring a sequin blazer, silk ruffle blouse, and skinny leather pants tucked into knee-high riding boots. Naturally, an oversize bag à la Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen completes the outfit. The entire vibe is Kate Moss meets Serena van der Woodsen, and I’m here for it.” — Erin Lukas, deputy beauty editor

Rough Around The Edges

“Though I’m no stranger to experimenting with fashion, I’ve never really explored leather beyond a timeless jacket — but the Fall/Winter 2023 styles have inspired me to do so this autumn. My first road test comes via a luxe leather mini dress, specifically Coperni’s uneven-hem iteration. Because wearing head-to-toe black isn’t my thing (despite being a New York resident for nearly a decade), I can see myself pairing the number with a tan or olive green topper and cream flats. And to steer the edgy look in a playful direction that feels very me, I’ll pile on a handful of chunky beaded jewelry. Perhaps a fuzzy bucket hat will be worked into the outfit, too? We’ll see what type of mood I’m in when it comes time to get dressed for the day.” — Kelsey Stewart, associate fashion editor

The Catchall

“Once the initial excitement of seeing Chloë Sevigny on Proenza Schouler’s runway subsided, I was able to focus on how chic and approachable her look was. A leather midi skirt is the perfect investment for fall — it’s appropriate for a variety of occasions as it can be styled so many ways, and it gives off such a luxurious vibe. Besides wearing it exactly like Sevigny’s runway look, I’d love to pair it with a boxy T-shirt, sneakers, and a chunky sweater. This blue and white striped T-shirt from COS has a boxy sleeve but isn’t too oversized. And I’m obsessed with these orange and neon green Adidas sneakers — they make any outfit look ultra-cool. This oversize gray sweater from The Row would look super cute both tied around my shoulders and layered over the tee. Finally, for a bag, I feel like this look needs something slouchy, which is where Khaite’s Lotus Shoulder Bag comes into play.” — Maggie Haddad, senior social media strategist