I go into a funk when daylight saving time ends. I dread the fact that it will soon be pitch-black by five o'clock, and I dread the bone-chilling weather that's on the way. No, I do not rhapsodize about autumn.
So what's the salve to this dreariness? Changing wardrobes. It's shallow, but it does cheer me up (slightly) that I can break out those cute jackets, wool skirts, and suede boots I've packed away.
This fall, I'm infatuated with leather fashions. I've spied some really fetching leather skirts--like those by Alexander McQueen (at right), Marc Jacobs, Robert Rodriguez, and Michael Kors (below left). To me, they are sleek and gorgeous. Definitely not tawdry.
So let's cut to the chase: Can you wear leather skirts, pants, or jackets to the office? Will it make you look chic and authoritative? Or will you just look like a Hells Angel reject?
According to my little board of fashion directors (junior and senior lawyers), wearing a conspicuous swath of leather is risky behavior—definitely not part of the dress-for-success playbook.
"Too dangerous," says a Fortune 100 counsel. "Sends the wrong message. Like you're into S&M." Adds another lawyer: "It always looks cheap."
Even an exquisitely tailored leather jacket is too much, say these lawyers, unless you practice—what else?—entertainment law, which seems to be the catch-all for all sorts of deviant behavior. Even then, warns a lawyer in L.A., you better be a "big-time entertainment lawyer with big-time entertainment clients."
As for leather pants or a leather suit ensemble, don't even joke about it! "I can't imagine leather pants at work ever being okay," says a fashion-forward Am Law 100 associate. "And a leather suit seems like a bad idea—like a denim suit."
Okay, leather pants and leather suits might be too much of a statement, but what's wrong with a leather skirt or jacket? If lawyers at high-powered firms like Quinn Emanuel are wearing flip-flops, is it really that scandalous to wrap yourself in some sumptuous leather?
My cohort at Corporette, Kat Griffin, thinks corporate wardrobes could use a little jazzing up--and leather garments might do the trick. A classic little leather skirt, she writes in Corporette, "could be just the right touch of 'rocker chic' to really elevate the outfit."
Personally, I think we can all use a bit of "rocker chic." But that's a minority opinion. In Corporette's poll, 51 percent of almost 1,300 readers say no to leather skirts at work. One reader said it would "attract creeps." Another worried about the "weird sounds" of a leather skirt rubbing against the leather chair in her office.
Ah, lawyers--you are such style wimps! You will use any excuse to wear the same drab old thing.
Isn't it time to make a bold move? I say, go ahead and break out that gorgeous leather skirt or jacket. Who knows, it might give you that aura of authority you've been missing.