What do punks and chic French girls have in common? For one, they often opt for a sleek pair of leather pants over a more standard pair of straight-leg jeans. And honestly, they may just be on to something. You’ve likely worn your motorcycle leather jacket to death, but a good pair of leather pants is just as deserving of being worn on repeat.
Leather pants are more polished than denim, but not quite as formal as a pair of tailored trousers. And as demonstrated by punks and Parisians, they work in plenty of wardrobes, regardless of your preferred aesthetic. “Think of leather as an investment piece that you can pair with anything and return to again and again,” Marianne McDonald, the creative director of Citizens of Humanity, says.
Black leather pants are easy enough to style, and they’re the perfect pair of pants for trendy or transitional dressing during fall. They can balance out the texture of a chunky sweater or rough tweed during the day, and help you lean into the sleek vibe of a silk cami at night. But this season, you may also want to consider something beyond the most basic iteration. Trendsetting brands like Saks Potts and REMAIN Birger Christensen make us want to invest in a boldly printed or colorful option instead. Meanwhile, classic-meets-cool labels like Khaite and Proenza Schouler have us considering more interesting silhouettes.
If you’re skeptical about finally buying a pair of leather pants, you’re not alone. That famous Friends scene where Ross struggles to pull his leather pants back onto his body has deterred plenty of us. But we promise, our favorite IRL pairs are nothing like the kind you’d see in Central Perk. Karen Phelps, the creative director of AGOLDE and Goldsign, also recommends looking for a leather blend “that features a mechanical stretch that gives and molds to the body, allowing it to be worn from day to night”—just to be sure you find a pair with the perfect fit.
Ahead, the 20 best leather pants you’ll be able to slip into and out of with ease. So much so, we guarantee you’ll find yourself reaching for them instead of your favorite pair of go-to jeans.