One of the most common questions I get when I tell people about this no new things challenge is: "What are you going to do when the spring comes?" The truth is, spring and summer dressing was so far from my mind when I committed to this challenge back in December that there wasn't really a plan for the warmer months. However, I've given it a lot of thought and realized that I own warm weather alternatives for most of my cold weather staples. I've started a list of these "alternatives" and have been starting to brainstorm fresh ways to style them to keep myself on track.
I've been living in leather leggings all winter, and will miss them when it warms up. The springtime equivalent of leather leggings is the leather pencil skirt and I already own one! I've spent some time thinking about how to style my leather pencil skirt, and came up with some fresh outfits using the same rules I've been applying to their leggings counterpart:
#1 Treat a leather pencil skirt as a basic
Like you would any black skirt, really. This means you can pair it with casual tops like a Breton stripe tee (or my favorite Lovers + Friends graphic tee I wear too much...), sweaters, and add color and personality with your accessories (like a red leather fringe clutch or bright red heels).
#2 Use it to add spice to a minimalist, monochrome outfit
I wear my leather leggings with all black or black-and-white ensembles constantly, and love the element of texture and interest it gives to a could-be-boring outfit. A leather pencil skirt worn with a simple white blouse and flats is so easy to toss on but looks very put together (at least in my opinion)!
#3 Balance the proportions
Leather pencil skirts are typically fitted (mine is on the tight side after a long winter...) so they look best when paired with oversize tops, long blazers, loose cardigans and chunky knits.
#4 Vary the textures
This is something that takes some thought, because we tend to style ourselves based on color coordination and not the ability for different fabrics to "get along." Since leather is a natural fabric, it plays well with other naturals like silk, wool, and cotton. It does not play well with polyester, rayon and other man-made fabrics (and will make your beautiful genuine leather skirt look like polyurethane).
#5 Keep shoes simple and classic
Leather pencil skirts look great with classic styles like pumps or pointed flats in suede, leather or calfhair. Anything too high, strappy or trendy can make a leather pencil skirt look cheap and inappropriate. I apply the "office appropriate" shoe rule to my leather pencil skirt regardless of where I'm planning to wear it: either closed heel or closed toe, 3" or shorter heel, and no studs or adornments that would raise eyebrows in a conference room!
One of the reasons that I love a good genuine leather pencil skirt is because it is a timeless item and extremely versatile. This also means you can find a great deal on one if you're willing to hunt - the one I'm wearing is vintage, picked up for less than $20 at a shop in North Carolina. In the outfits above, I paired it with: #1 Gap Breton tee, a Joelle Hawkens fringe bag, and Nine West nude pumps; #2 Transit Par Such coatigan, vintage Gucci patent leather bag, and Mango heels; and #3 Madewell cotton-and-silk blouse, Vince d'Orsay flats and a Pulicati tote.
Do you have any ideas for styling a leather pencil skirt for spring? Or general thoughts on winter staple alternatives for spring that I can start to add to my "outfit ideas" list? Would love to hear your thoughts!