After years of searching I found high-end leather leggings that don't cost $900-in fact, they're a third of that price
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- I've been looking for an oxymoron for years: affordable, genuine leather leggings.
- I had given up finding a pair for less than $900 - an unthinkable splurge - until I found a $350 pair on the LA startup DSTLD's website. No compromise on fit, material, or style necessary.
- In person, DSTLD's pair is the perfectly executed leather legging - for about $600 less than they usually cost.
- Find a full review below, or shop DSTLD's $350 Leather Leggings directly here. Since it's a startup that doesn't produce in massive quantities, you may occasionally have to pre-order.
There are certain wishful wardrobe staples that you resign yourself to never owning. The Arrivals' perfect leather moto, Louboutins, the classic Burberry trench coat... the list of usual suspects goes on and on. And, for the past few years, real leather leggings were at the top of that list for me.The only solution I've found, DSTLD's $350 Women's Leather Leggings, is a fluke in the Matrix.
To begin, the term "affordable, genuine leather leggings" is a bit of an oxymoron: real leather leggings typically go for $900 and up. At Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, the cheapest real leather option is currently $795. Even faux leather leggings, of which there are many in various levels of success - can fetch closer to $100, like the crowd-favorite $98 version from Spanx.
DSTLD's genuine leather pair is $350, which is about $650 less than the $998 the direct-to-consumer LA startup estimates it would go for in traditional retail. And the material isn't second-rate, either. It's 100% stretch Nappa leather, which is a vague way of saying it's really supple. A similar pair is currently listed for $1,035 on Bloomingdales.
In person, they're a perfectly executed leather legging. The leather is thick and high-quality but soft and flexible enough for comfortable wear. The fit is close but not overly constrictive, and the seams hit exactly right on my 5-foot-7 frame to enable maximum movement. They've got an elasticized waistband so you can bend naturally, and a side zip closure to keep the silhouette sleek. They're mid-rise which is more timeless and a safer fit for an typically rigid material like leather, and they have been naturally dyed - using one-quarter less water than normal processes. DSTLD also coated them with a stain-resistant surface for a richer hue and a light sheen.
If you're wondering how this is possible, it helps to know more about DSTLD. In short, it's because the digital startup is making its name in luxury basics without the markups of a brick-and-mortar. Its bread and butter is luxury denim under $100, but I'm partial to its high-end, low-budget staples that are more difficult to substitute than denim, like these fantastic leather leggings or the Blanket Maxi Coat ($180), which has been spotted on a host of celebrities - from Bella Hadid to Meghan Markle.DSTLD quietly makes luxury clothes sold for fire-sale-like prices online. If you know where to look, you can score some pretty amazing staples without needing to compromise on the material, fit, or execution. Plus, startups are typically heavily invested in their customer service: it has a 100% fit guarantee, free shipping and returns, and - albeit notoriously infrequent - sales with fewer exclusions on high-ticket items than department stores. For example, the already incredibly priced $350 leather leggings were $262 over Black Friday thanks to a sitewide 25% discount.
Admittedly, $350 for a luxury that's usually $900+ is still a lot of money - no matter how considerably great of a deal. And since DSTLD is a startup, you may have to pre-order a pair if demand exceeds stock. But if you have the means and the desire, I think they're worth it.
Faux leather, for instance, sounds like a good, cheap substitute, but I'd advise against it if you want your purchase to actually look like real leather. It's apples to oranges. In the years I've pined after a pair, I've tried my fair share. Faux leather leggings are sleek, they're edgy, they're reflective in a similar obsidian-like way that real leather is - but they're far thinner, and undeniably a different-feeling material. While great for a night out where no one has a magnifying glass pressed against them, you'll probably pass them over for daytime or casual wear. If you're looking for a pair you can wear casually for both I'm-with-the-band nights out and cooler, laid-back dinner dates for years to come, I recommend springing for the real deal.
All in all, DSTLD's Leather Leggings were a diamond hidden in the piles and piles of trash on the internet for me. The company makes great basics for less, and that every-so-often includes staples that are pretty much impossible to source for the same price point elsewhere. This $350 pair is a great example, and they're one of the best splurges I've made in recent years. If you're looking for a pair of real leather leggings, you may want to put these in the running.
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