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For those that grew up in the 1990s, no piece of clothing was more aspirational than Buffy’s red leather pants. Both tough yet sexy, they encapsulated her badass vampire-slaying abilities. Though I always dreamed of owning a pair of my own, leather pants seemed larger than life, only fit for special occasions or a fantasy universe.
Today, owning and wearing leather pants has never been easier. There are so many styles, colors, and materials available across different price points. If you get tired of constantly cycling through jeans or leggings, adding a little leather can revive your wardrobe.
Meet the Expert
Solange Franklin is a stylist who's worked with celebrities including Tracee Ellis Ross, Serena Williams, and Solange Knowles, and clients like Marshalls, Glossier, Elle UK, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
“You can’t go wrong with a classic jean or trouser, but there is just something so show-stopping about a pair of leather pants,” says stylist Solange Franklin. “They are the perfect way to elevate any look, no matter what your personal style is.”
Whether you want to upgrade your legging game or go all out with a bold flare leg, we found the best leather pants available—keep reading to discover them.
Best Overall: Aritiza Wilfred Melina Pant
Aritzia's Melina Pant went viral on TikTok—and for good reason. You get a universally fitting straight leg and you can choose between short, tall, or regular sizing to find your ideal fit. Despite a relatively moderate price tag, the vegan leather material looks and feels like the real thing. And with 30 different shades, you can find pants for any mood or occasion. Stock up on pastels for warmer months and earthy greens and browns for the winter.
Colors: 30 colors | Fit: High-rise, straight leg | Material: 100% polyurethane outer; 100% polyester interior | Size Range: 00-16
Best Budget: Lulus Get Lucky Vegan Leather Pant
Need good going out pants? You can’t go wrong with this skinny-fit pair from Lulus. Its affordable price and sleek look allow you to don them at all your upcoming dinner parties. With enough stretch to bust a move, this pair will be your favorite new dance partner. Cowboy hat not included.
Colors: Black, Beige | Fit: High-rise, skinny leg | Material: 100% polyurethane shell, 96% viscose, 4% spandex backing | Size Range: S-XL
Best Straight Leg: Good American Better Than Leather Good Icon
Founded by Khloe Kardashian and Emma Grede, Good American knows how to make your booty look good. This pair will definitely do that with its mid-rise and wide-spaced back pockets. The pants are fitted through the hips and then open up to their straight leg—perfect for heels or ankle booties. Feel free to top it all off with a looser-fitting top.
Colors: Black, Brown | Fit: Mid-rise, straight leg | Material: 100% polyurethane | Size Range: 00-26
Best Legging: Spanx Faux Leather Leggings
Want an easy way to test out the leather trend? Leather leggings are a step up from your normal Lulus and can be paired with anything from oversized sweaters to knee-high boots. Sanchez says her pick for leggings comes from the shapewear company Spanx. With a Power Waistband and compression fit, these leggings will highlight your assets for years to come.
“Patent leather, moto details, sheen, and shine…Spanx does it all,” says Sanchez. “Don’t let the price tag scare you; these leggings are worth the splurge for the quality, fit, and versatility they’ll add to your closet.”
Colors: Black | Fit: High-rise, skinny | Material: 87% nylon, 13% elastane body with polyurethane coating; 80% polyester, 20% elastane lining | Size Range: XS-3X
Best Designer: Vince Leather Flare Pant
Made from real leather, Vince’s flare leather pants are a splurge that will last you a lifetime. The cropped flare lets you show off your footwear, whether those are heels, boots, or loafers. A fresh take on trousers, this luxe pair works great for the office.
Colors: Black, Brown | Fit: High-rise, flared leg | Material: 100% leather | Size Range: 00-16
Best Recycled Leather: Agolde Recycled Leather Black Mid-Rise Relaxed Boot Trousers
For those who prefer real leather, the dream is to find a perfect pair from a vintage store. Yet that’s easier said than done. Instead, you can minimize your environmental impact with Agolde’s pants made from recycled leather. The style comes in the brand’s relaxed boot cut—meaning it’s a slightly flared silhouette with a shorter 28.5-inch inseam. We like the neutral shade in powder for a twist on the usual dark pant.
Colors: Detox, Powder | Fit: Mid-rise, boot cut | Material: 50% recycled leather, 30% polyurethane, 10% viscose, 10% polyester | Size Range: 23-32
Best Carpenter: Staud Domino Pant Doe Vegan Leather
Tap into the Y2K moment with leather cargo pants. It’s all in the details in this design by Staud with contrast stitching at the pockets and side seam. Featuring Staud’s buttery soft vegan leather, these pants will fit like a glove. Think of these as your Kim Possible pants, only cooler.
Colors: Black, Doe | Fit: High-rise, wide-leg | Material: 100% polyurethane | Size Range: 00-16
Best Brown: Miaou Junior Pant
If you are ready to stray away from solely wearing black bottoms, choosing a brown pair is a good way to shake it up. This rich chocolatey shade can easily be dressed up or down for day or night. Pair it with a brown top for a monochrome look or color block with another shade. Slip-on a pair of similar toned shoes for legs that stretch for miles. It also comes in black and teal, too, if you just love the silhouette.
Colors: Brown, Black, Teal | Fit: High-rise, straight-leg | Material: 60% polyurethane, 40% rayon | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Patent: Agolde Recycled Leather 90s Pinch Waist
Patent leather can feel a bit intimidating and costume-y when it is skin-tight like latex, so that’s why we like this version from Agolde that features a looser fit for a more laid-back approach. You still get Agolde’s signature pinch waist and straight leg but with more shine. Who knew recycled leather could look so good?
Colors: Shadow, Quail | Fit: High rise, straight leg | Material: Self: 50% recycled leather, 30% polyurethane, 10% viscose, 10% polyester | Size Range: 23-34
Best on Amazon: Balleay Art Faux Leather Pants
For affordable (faux) leather pants, you can’t go wrong with this pair from Balleay Art. Unlike some leather pants, these come with real pockets and belt loops, so you can throw on a chain belt and keep your keys handy. The straight leg makes them easy to pair with different types of shoes from boots to sneakers, and the faux fabric is wrinkle-resistant and durable. Some reviewers note there is a smell to them at first, but that it goes away after your first wear.
Colors: Black | Fit: Mid-rise, straight leg, runs small | Material: 55% polyester, 45% polyurethane | Size Range: S-XXL
Best Flare: Nanushka Zoey Vegan Leather Kick Flare Pants
Channel your inner Jane Birkin with Nunushka’s flare pants. The pleat detail lengthens your legs while the flared hem adds a bit of flair. Even if your personal style isn’t that funky, you can weave these into your wardrobe. “Cropped or kick-flare styles wear well with different aesthetics, from kitten heels to combat boots,” says Ashley Sanchez, a stylist at Stitch Fix.
Colors: Brown, Orange, Vanilla, Zephyr, Shiitake | Fit: Cropped flare | Material: 65% polyester 35% polyurethane body; 56% acetate, 44% viscose lining; 100% regenerated leather detail | Size Range: XXS-XL
Best Extended Sizes: Eloquii Classic Fit Slim Faux Leather Pant
With a high waist, contour waistband, and no stretch faux leather, these pants from Eloquii will look fantastic from your morning to coffee to after-work drinks. Deep green is an elegant alternative to black while creamy cashmere is a great neutral that can go with both dark and light pieces. Pair these ankle-length pants with ankle boots or heels.
Colors: Black, Pine Grove, Pure Cashmere | Fit: High-rise, tapered leg | Material: 100% viscose | Size Range: 14-28
Best Maternity: Spanx Mama Faux Leather Leggings
It’s easy to live in leggings 24/7 when you are pregnant. With these leather leggings from Spanx, you can stay just as comfortable while stepping up your style. The best part? Spanx’s Mama Magic waistband supports and grows with you, so you can wear these leggings before, during, and after your pregnancy. Yeah, you won’t want to take them off.
Colors: Black | Fit: High rise legging | Material: 87% nylon, 13% elastane body with polyurethane coating; 89% nylon, 11% elastane tummy
Best Wide Leg: Good American Leather Wide Leg
The beauty of leather pants is that they often feel way less constricting than jeans, and we are sure that’s the case with this wide-leg pair from Good American. Super stretch leather? Drawstring waist? These are like your favorite sweatpants but better. The casual silhouette goes great with sneakers, too.
Colors: Black, Warm Caramel | Fit: High-rise, wide-leg | Material: 100% polyurethane | Size Range: 0-8
Best Jogger: Blank NYC Faux Leather Jogger
What’s better than wearing sweatpants? Wearing leather joggers that are just as comfy but look way more elevated. This pair from Blank NYC is extra comfortable with a drawstring waistband and stretchy faux leather material. The drawstring cuffs allow you to show off your favorite heels, ankle boots, or sneakers. Pair these pants with a bodysuit and blazer for a more elevated occasion.
Colors: Black | Fit: High-rise, drawstring leg | Material: 60% polyurethane, 40% viscose | Size Range: 24-31
Best Paper Bag Waist: Open Edit Faux Leather Trousers
These affordable pants look far from budget. Key details like a built-in belt and paper bag waist offer an upscale look. Not to mention the pair is extremely comfortable with plenty of stretch and a fleece lining. Unlike some other lower-priced faux leather pants, there are no fishy fumes from these pants.
Colors: Black, Brown Chocolate | Fit: High-rise, paperbag waist | Material: 100% polyester | Size Range: XXS-XL
Best Cropped: FRAME Leather High Rise Wide Crop
Cropped pants are a great transitional piece that can be worn with boots in the fall and sandals in the spring. Take the cropped cut to the next level with this leather version from FRAME. Featuring a wide leg, this design feels extra elegant and exciting. Plus the high rise and wide-set pockets accentuate and booty. Though the price tag is a bit steep, real leather promises durability and a timeless quality. Note: be sure to get these cleaned by a leather specialist; don’t attempt to wash at home.
Colors: Noir, Bone | Fit: High-rise, wide-cropped leg | Material: 100% leather | Size Range: 23-34
Best Skinny: Blank NYC Spoiler Alert Vegan Leather Pants
Not as tight as leggings but still slim enough to tuck into boots, leather pants in a skinny fit are a great way to test out the leather trend. Franklin says you can easily throw on an oversized sweater and boots or go for an oversized white button-up if your style is more preppy. Made from vegan leather, these mid-rise pants will easily replace your go-to skinny jeans.
Colors: Black | Fit: Mid-rise, skinny | Material: 76% cotton, 22% polyester, 2% spandex | Size Range: 24-33
Best Red: Pistola Cassie Super High Rise Straight
Manifest those Buffy The Vampire Slayer dreams into reality with this pair of red leather pants. The high rise, burnt-red shade, and straight-leg shape will help highlight your figure. Since this shade is more muted than, say, fire-engine red, it is more versatile and can go with white and black tops as well as a tonal look when paired with a red top or sweater.
Colors: Carmine | Fit: High-rise, straight leg | Material: 100% polyester | Size Range: 23-33
Best Petite: ASOS DESIGN Petite 90s Straight Leg Leather Look Pant
Just like with jeans, finding the ideal pair of leather pants can prove tricky for those who are petite or 5-foot-4 and under. That’s where this style comes to the rescue. Designed specifically for petite figures, these pants feature a shorter inseam. Alas, no more bunched-up fabric at your ankles.
Colors: Black | Fit: High-rise, straight-leg | Material: 100% smooth faux leather | Size Range: 00-12
Best with Cut-Outs: Good American Good Icon
Leather pants still not sexy enough for ya? The slits in this style from Good American are sure to turn heads. It’s the brand’s signature straight leg fit and Better Than Leather material with some mid-thigh cut-outs. We can imagine wearing these in the winter with a fitted turtleneck or in the spring/summer with a cropped tank. It would be cute with a pair of patterned tights underneath, too, for extra warmth.
Colors: Black | Fit: Mid-rise, straight leg | Material: 100% polyurethane | Size Range: 00-26
Best Low Rise: Aritizia Wilfred Melina Low Rise Pant
Today’s leather pants mostly come in high rises, but if you prefer a low-rise style, Aritzia has the one for you. It is the popular Melina slim fit, only in a lower rise, so you can show off more skin. For those tops that require a little more space like a tank top, you found your match.
Colors: Black, Brown | Fit: Low-rise, straight leg | Material: 100% polyurethane outer; 100% polyester interior | Size Range: 00-16
What to Look for in Leather Pants
Just like with jeans, leather pants come in all kinds of shapes like bootcut, skinny, wide leg, and joggers. If you are shopping for your first pair, think about what pant silhouettes you feel comfortable in and try to find a leather version you'll love.
“If leather pants are outside of your fashion comfort zone, I recommend sticking to your favorite fits,” says Sanchez. “Whether you’re loyal to your skinnies or have made the switch to straight leg silhouettes, there’s an option on the market for you.”
Black is the go-to shade when it comes to leather pants. Not only does it pretty much go with everything, but it automatically adds a bit of elegance and edge to your outfit. Today you can find plenty of leather pants in softer brown and neutral tones though that can come across as a little more muted and adept for wearing during the day.
Colorful leather really steals the show. You can go with a more lighthearted, playful shade like yellow or lilac or sultry red a la Buffy for a racy look.
Even if you are committed to avoiding animal products, you can still tap into the trend as many brands are making faux leather versions. Besides being cruelty-free, faux leather is generally more affordable than real leather styles and can be easier to care for.
On the other hand, because real leather can last decades, you can often find real leather pants at thrift and vintage stores as another sustainable option that supports the environment.
How Do You Wash Leather Pants?
Taking care of your leather pants all comes down to the material—real or fake—and the individual product label.
“While some believe leather shouldn’t be washed at all, keeping your leather clean helps it to keep its shape and can even improve its sheen over time,” says Sanchez. “When it comes to washing leather pants, it’s important to start by reading the care instructions inside. While certain types of leather may call for dry cleaning, others may recommend spot-cleaning only.”
What Goes with Leather Pants?
Franklin says her favorite thing about leather pants is that they are so versatile and can be easily dressed up or down. For an everyday look, she likes to pair leather pants with an oversized sweater and lug-soled boots.
Sanchez says it’s also fun to play with textures when wearing leather pants.
“Adding elements of romantic texture on top, like a lace bodysuit or satin cami, complements your edgier anchor piece,” says Sanchez. “For a more everyday ensemble, try styling leather pants with your favorite white or graphic tee, a denim jacket and platform sneakers, adding jewelry to complete a chic yet casual look.”
Can Leather Pants Be Altered?
If you end up with a pair that is a little too long or loose, you can get them tailored, but it’s best to leave this to the pros.
“Find a trusted tailor to do the handy work as once leather is punctured, any holes you make are there to stay,” says Sanchez. “When considering the inseam on your leather pants, focus on finding a length that wears well with a wide variety of shoe options, from sneakers to pumps to boots.”
For those that need a little Fashion 101, the inseam is the measurement from the base of your zipper to the bottom of your leg opening. Your ideal inseam depends on your height as well as the style of the pants (skinny pants require different inseams than something like flares). A tailor should be able to find your perfect fit.
Why Trust Byrdie
Emily Cieslak is a fashion contributor for Byrdie and has covered fashion for other publications like Real Simple and The Knot. Working as a stylist has given her an eye for dressing different body types and aesthetics; she personally loves her leather pants from Zara. For this roundup, Emily interviewed two stylists for their recommendations and spent hours of online research digging to find the best options across each category.