Leather trousers if not worn while riding a motorbike can make a man or woman look as if they want to be seen as sexy or glamorous, associated as they frequently are with mid-life crises and components of particular trends such as punk or heavy rock. Remove the legs of those trousers and what remains is a pair of leather shorts, worn traditionally as lederhosen by Bavarian slap-dancers and Alan Partridge's fantasy lap-dancing portrayal. Is there any way to isolate these garments from such imagery? Naturally!
As with any fashion item, how you wear it is key to the look and impression it creates. Nobody worries when a man wears jeans, or a denim jacket? But worn with a shirt, tie or mix and matching denim jeans with a normal suit jacket and suddenly failure is on the horizon. "I'm serious when I'm behind the desk, but as soon as I stand up, I'm just a normal chap." No that doesn't work at all.
And that is where the successful wearing of leather shorts gets its direction. With leather shorts, it's all about the why and the where, not the what. Primarily they are simply great fun. They are clothes to be worn when you're out on the town, dancing, shopping and relaxing. There are just a few semi-formal occasions where it's even conceivable that they might look acceptable, and you'll have to check first to avoid looking foolish and damaging your reputation. Next, it must be remembered that they're not going to make you look any younger. In fact, they will probably highlight your age to the nearest month, so unless you're happy with your current appearance, don't think of these shorts as anything that will enhance that. They're not.
So here's the positive news. Leather shorts do work with almost anything above the waist. A blouse, a t- shirt, a jacket, a shirt or even a pullover will work in the right setting. With care and caution, you can show off your shorts (and your attractive legs if you have some) without necessarily drawing attention to them. Think of leather shorts as a kind of skirt that has the benefit of having a crotch, and you'll be heading in the right direction. And at ground level you've got a variety of options: boots, heavy or light shoes or even flip-flops will compliment whatever look you're aiming for.
But many still worry about wearing leather shorts, and that's understandable. Most people don't feel comfortable in leather or shorts so in together these options can seem wrong on many levels. But when you analyse how they can be worn, the overall look can be both attractive and not the attention grabbers you might imagine. Actually, you will probably spot several pairs each day if you look carefully. For that additional element of individuality, why not visit a vintage clothing outlet? It's where a catalogue of fashion history's most interesting styles can be viewed and purchased, and remember, leather shorts are available in a rainbow of colours - not purely black or brown.
Jane Wilson has written about vintage and retro clothing for many years. She provides help, styling tips and retailing advice for purchasers of these popular styles. Her latest report looks at vintage leather shorts, which are now returning to retro clothing stores everywhere.
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