Like anything worth its iconic status—think a signature red lip and LDB—a bold sartorial choice is not to be taken lightly. And when it comes to investing in that statement piece, we’re better off gradually easing into a trend to see if it suits us— and vice versa. Since leather in all its forms, from skintight peplum dresses at Givenchy to Gucci bomber jackets, dominated the Fall 2012 runways, we’re proposing a leather fall fashion challenge outside the typical leather jacket purchase. Here are four ways to cross over to the leather side that gives you both a rebel edge and fashionable cause.

Leather fashion trend challenge: Beginner
Leather gloves
Fall 2012 runway trend inspiration:
leather gloves sleekly pulled over the elbow (and adorned with a gold bangle) at Missoni.

How to wear it: These shiny, elongating gloves are perfect for taking that sleeveless summer dress into a chic and weather-appropriate fall fashion look. Wear pulled over the elbow or ruched around the forearm with a three-quarter length-sleeved fall jacket to keep it toasty
and classy.

Where to wear it: These classy gloves inspire the fitting backdrop for a day at the races. Go for the warm chocolate shade and pair with an ensemble rich in autumnal shades—a knit stole in crimson with a pair of classic mahogany riding boots.

Badass meter: Tame, while still evoking iconic
Breakfast at Tiffany’s style. You win.

Leather fashion trend challenge: Beginner
Leather detailing
Fall 2012 runway trend inspiration:
Black leather sleeves and trim above the waist and lining the bottom of the sleek red dress at Christopher Kane.

How to wear it: The badass update on everything from LBDs to this sheer red number at Christopher Kane this season is a touch of leather detailing. Pair with patent pumps and a studded clutch for a rocking night look.

Where to wear it: Outshine and conquer at this year’s office holiday party with any party dress retrofitted with leather trim.

Badass meter: A fitting and festive mix of naughty
and nice.

Fall fashion: Our Fall 2012 runway trend report

For more advanced ways to try the leather fall fashion trend this season, read on to the next page…

Leather fashion trend challenge: Intermediate
Leather trench
Fall 2012 runway inspiration:
The structured,
shiny black leather trench by a Le Smoking tuxe-inspired Stefano Pilati for YSL.

How to wear it: Can be worn over your ultimate
statement dress—or as your ultimate statement piece, with sleek cropped black trousers underneath. Either way, go for a killer pair of heels. And a bold red lip.

Where to wear it: Any chance you get to up your outfit to haute and feminine James Dean-cool. (Yes, we approve this look for late-night grocery runs.
Any chance.)

Badass meter: Grab your shades—it’s a whirlwind of badass chic.

Leather fashion trend challenge: Intermediate

Leather dress
Fall 2012 runway inspiration:
A studded and stunning patent leather peplum Versace dress. How to wear it: For the overtly bold, as is: with fishnet-style boots to achieve Donatella’s rocker runway ensemble. Sparkly heels or
silver-studded leather boots are equally transfixing.

Where to wear it: While studs and leather evoke the intrinsic sex appeal of this look, the collar and flirty peplum keep it classy for day and night. Accessorize accordingly.

Badass meter: Put it this way: a motorcycle and rap sheet has nothing on this runway look.

Read more:
The 10 best scarves for fall

Fall 2012 trends: Going gothic
Fashion trends: Top 10 fall boots under $300