October 03 2010
“I have this amazing pair of leather trousers,” I said to my friend Alice over a glass of wine. “Wow,” she said, trying to sound impressed but with incredulity and embarrassment written across her face.
No matter how much you promote the leather trouser, to the average human being they are one of fashion’s most shocking disasters. Black, boot-cut, worn on either man or woman, they somehow speak of lost youth and a desperate attempt to regain it. Just look at Alice Cooper.
But I really believe in these trousers. Grey (a crucial point in making the grade from yummy mummy to cool kid), skinny, with discreet grey fabric panelling here and there to break up the shine and allow for unsqueaky leg movements, they are the natural progression from the legging – hardwearing, warm, and thick enough not to look as if you’re just wearing a pair of woolly tights.
And even more surprisingly, they’re from Marks & Spencer (£160). It wouldn’t, perhaps, be the most obvious destination for leather, but I happen to think it is the best. Apart from the aforementioned trousers, I also possess a beautiful pale pink leather pencil skirt from the store, complete with exposed gold zip at the back, and on my wanted list is the winter version, a dark brown A-line swing skirt (second picture) that will sell for £99 and lands in mid-October.
The leather pieces that M&S style are simple, well cut and hardwearing – and also rather fashion forward (surprising for a store stocked with slacks and chocolate puddings). Perhaps it’s the incongruity between sexy skin skirts on one floor and three-pack Bridget Jones briefs on the other that keeps this fabulous sideline so under the radar. Whatever the case, anyone who can make leather trousers cool again gets my vote. And Alice’s.