When you envision an off-duty supermodel — say, Hailey Bieber, or someone of her A-list ilk — what is she wearing? Perhaps your imagined cool girl is in pair of baggy boyfriend jeans or a flirty cut-out top, both of which are highly favored among today’s fashion set. Or, if you’ve been keeping a keen eye on It-girls’ Instagrams and #OOTDs as of late, maybe a trendy leather blazer first came to mind. The academia-inspired jacket receiving fashion-girl buzz is nothing new — it is, and always will be, an uncontested and timeless wardrobe staple. But in 2022, blazers fabricated specifically out of leather are especially sought after.
Felix von Bahder, co-founder and creative director of the sustainable brand Deadwood, has a theory as to why leather has become such a coveted fabric for blazers lately. “Leather adds that extra confidence boost many of us are looking for. It’s a bit like putting on armor,” offers von Bahder. “And, of course, the material itself carries a ton of rebellious symbolism,” he adds, referencing leather’s status as an age-old staple in punk aesthetics. Thus, when a piece as canonically preppy as a blazer is made in edgy leather, the garment becomes a fascinating balance of grunge meets polish.
Further, von Bahder links the trending nature of leather blazers to the recent strides made in eco-conscious fashion. “I would hope the current upswing in the leather look can be traced to all the sustainable alternatives that have entered the market the last few years,” says the co-founder of Deadwood. “Today, there are quite a few brands that offer new takes on leather, and this development is really exciting — as long as we move away from the plastic polyurethane leathers that are so often deceptively marketed as both vegan and sustainable,” he adds.
In a similar sustainable vein, leather blazers are quite prevalent in thrift stores and secondhand re-sellers, which adds an accessible element to the trend. Thrilling’s Director of Content Jennifer Jefferson describes vintage leather blazers as “being broken in — in the best way,” meaning the item won’t have stiff shoulders or an overly boxy, fresh-off-the-rack fit. Put simply, “they’ve been worn in with love,” Jefferson tells TZR. “Also, you can often find beautiful leather outerwear that is custom made or handmade for a fraction of the price of purchasing new,” she adds.
Enthused enough to find a leather blazer of your own? Scroll onward to find seven versatile outfits worthy of a spot in your rotation.
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Sporty Meets Preppy
A key attribute of the off-duty, supermodel look is nonchalance — and there’s nothing more nonchalant than a sports-inspired track pant. For an outfit that converges an athletic vibe with a preppy, put-together feel, style a leather blazer with a striped jogger. Finish the look with classic sneakers and minimal gold jewelry.
The past few years have seen a significant rise in sensual dressing, with cutouts being a key element to the sultry fashion phenomenon. Lado Bokuchava, whose eponymous brand unveils new iterations of the skin-revealing detail season after season, makes a case for why cutouts belong on your blazers, too. “It’s cool when a certain detail gives the product an extra character,” he tells TZR over email. And with blazers, cutouts give a classic jacket “cosmopolitan vibes.” He continues: “I want the person who wears [my cutout blazers] to feel like a superhero from the future.”
In particular, the designer shouts out his brand’s Cropped Wrap Blazer, a sleek manifestation of the midriff flossing trend, for being a refined item to wear when grabbing drinks with friends on a night out. For styling the piece, Bokuchava considers “a low-rise mini skirt, classic maxi skirt, or knee-length shorts” to all be suitable options.
Maximalism reigns supreme in 2022, which means dopamine dressing, a fundamental aspect to the bold and expressive aesthetic, won’t fade away anytime soon either. Tap into a joyful spirit by opting for a blazer done in an unexpected, non-neutral hue — like a vibrant crimson or bubble gum pink. Pair with boldly printed bottoms and eclectic accessories to complete the playful yet polished ensemble.
Thrilling’s Jefferson shares a few tips to keep in mind when thrifting for a leather blazer. Firstly, she advises you to check the details of the item. “The fabric tag should give you insight into what kind of leather [the blazer] is. It could be cowhide, calfskin, lambskin, or even goatskin,” Jefferson explains. “This will determine durability, softness, and weight. For instance, cowhide leather is generally less expensive and heavier whereas lambskin is lightweight, supple, and super lightweight,” she illustrates.
And, of course, you’ll want to pay attention to the garment’s measurements to ensure you find one with the right fit. “You can measure a coat you love and use those dimensions to aid in choosing the right blazer without trying it on,” Jefferson offers. “If you want an oversized fit (which is on trend right now), go up two inches in the shoulder or add two inches at the waist,” she suggests.
Mix & Match Suiting
“We all love to mix and match — and that’s really at the heart of preppy fashion, isn’t it? A blazer lends itself really well to that,” offers von Bahder. You can lean into the piece’s versatility by piecing together a makeshift suited look. To do so, team a boxy blazer with sleek, tailored trousers in a matching shade. Then slip into a pair of boots with a subtle heel and finish with key accessories — like round sunnies and a nondescript handbag in black.
You’ve heard of dadcore (think baseball caps, “ugly” sneakers, and basketball shorts), so how about grandfathercore? Tap into the comforting, paternal aesthetic by slipping into a worn-in leather blazer done in an oversized, traditionally masculine silhouette. A classic button-down, newsboy cap, and loafers will then tie the look together.
If your style naturally skews minimal, consider investing in a blazer done in a neutral and dependable hue. Then, pair it with separates — like a turtleneck sweater, for example — that manifest within the same color palette. For days spent hunkering down in a cozy coffee shop with a good book, consider a café au lait-hued look.