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It’s been a weird year for getting dressed. If you’re shaking off the style cobwebs, breaking free of your sweatpants, and need some pointers on where to go next, we’ve got you. All week long, GQ Recommends is exploring What to Wear Now: the clothes, designers, bold moves and big vibes that matter at this precise moment.
If the idea of wearing leather clothing that isn’t a biker jacket makes you think of fetish clubs or TV mobsters, you haven’t been paying attention. Over the last couple of years, the swankiest, supplest material on the planet has been having a real moment in menswear, in every imaginable form: blazers and trousers, button-ups and bucket hats. Whatever your poison, it’ll simultaneously deliver a jolt of fearlessness and an air of lush luxury to your fits.
You don’t need to be the frontman of a hair metal band to pull this stuff off, either. Treat your leather pants like just another pair of pants, your leather shirt like any other shirt, and you’ll be shocked to discover just how easily and effortlessly it syncs up with the rest of your wardrobe. You’ll look and feel like yourself—only a teensy bit sexier. If you’re ready to get your hind into some hide, we’ve gathered up dozens of the finest designer leather goods worth investing in immediately. Don’t let this prime leather weather go to waste, folks!
Go Beyond the Bomber
For a long while there, only two kinds of leather jackets really mattered: Brando-in-The Wild One motorcycle jackets and Top Gun-style bombers. Lately, though, our tastes and definitions have broadened for the better—whether it’s a hardy chore jacket, a tailored trench, or a Tony Soprano car coat, it’s never been easier to track down leather outerwear that feels exactly right for you.
Acne Studios “Lopris” bonded leather jacket
1017 Alyx 9SM leather jacket
Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems slimeball unwittingly ushered in a new era of relevance for the leather blazer. This is how you win in one: keep the rest of your fit as simple and understated as possible—maybe just a tank or tee, maybe a cashmere sweater—and let the jacket shine bright like an Ethiopian opal.
Wilsons Leather “Vince” leather blazer
Sunflower single-breasted crocodile-effect leather jacket
Tagliatore leather tailored blazer
Saint Laurent leather blazer
Alexander McQueen double-breasted leather jacket
Keep On Truckin’
Still the absolute easiest way in to wearing leather: swap your trusty denim trucker for one these bad boys.
Deadwood “Frankie” leather jacket
Han Kjobenhavn vegan leather shirt jacket
Marni leather trucker jacket
Iron Heart Japanese horsehide Type III jacket
The most underrated fit in The Last Dance? Dennis Rodman sauntering the halls of the United Center in a rich navy leather shirt. Still flashy and punk enough for the wildest dresser the league has ever seen, but also quietly sophisticated in its own right. These button-ups will do wonders on a big night out—no need to go as hard as Rodzilla—but they’re more than refined enough to bring some unexpected shine to your daylight functions, too.
Nanushka “Declan” faux-leather shirt
Séfr “Matsy” vegan-leather jacket
Bottega Veneta convertible-collar leather shirt
Acne Studios “Lark” leather overshirt
Gucci green lambskin shirt
That one episode of Friends scare you off leather pants for good? Don’t worry, because none of these are anywhere near tight enough to cause chafing. The versions that matter most right now are either cut loose and baggy like your best pair of sweats, or simple and straight like your go-to jeans. And they’re way easier to make work than you’d think.
Raf Simons black faux-leather trousers
Sunflower black leather straight trousers
Ernest W. Baker brown leather flare trousers
Andersson Bell leather paneled pants
Amiri slim-fit tapered leather drawstring trousers
Ami flared trousers in patent leather
Fear of God for Ermenegildo Zegna tapered belted pleated leather trousers
If you’re not quite ready to commit to full-on leather pants, here’s your fix. Pull a pair of these plush, boxy numbers on with your favorite sweatshirt and some beat-to-hell tennis shoes, and you’ve got yourself an off-the-charts elite weekend coffee run uniform.
Nanushka “Doxxi” elasticated-waist faux leather shorts
1017 Alyx 9SM tailored leather shorts
Studio Nicholson Maison leather shorts
Bottega Veneta black shiny leather shorts
Get Your Head in the Game
A little leather headwear goes a long way. Pull your leather bucket low with some crisp jeans and clean Js? Instant mid-aughts Jay-Z energy. Throw a leather beret on with a suit? Major ’90s red-carpet Sam Jackson vibes.
Marine Serre crescent moon-print leather bucket hat
Junya Watanabe MAN docker leather hat
No Sleeves? No Problem
Doesn’t get much more badass than a hog-ready leather vest. Throw one on over a thrashed vintage tee and your most treasured 501s, and then do your best to act as naturally cool as you’ll look.
First MFG Co. Deadwood motorcycle western style leather vest
Rick Owens webbing-trimmed leather vest
Stolen Girlfriends Club leather Scorpion Rising vest
Overland “Kyle” distressed lambskin leather vest
Han Kjobenhavn vegan leather vest
Photographs by Martin Brown
Styled by Jon Tietz
Hair & Grooming by Rachel Leidig at Art Department
Tailoring by Alberto Rivera at Lard Nordensten