x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Katie Trotter: wearing leather can look good

Don¿t laugh, but wearing leather can look good - just follow some simple rules.

We all love a good old rib-tickling belly laugh - especially when it comes to fashion disasters on other people. It's all so safe to roam around wearing inoffensive jeans and a linen shirt while enjoying a bit of inward eye rolling at the poor girl in "theeee offending outfit"- safe in the knowledge that whilst we may look a little bit like everyone else, at least we don't look like "her".

But these, my friends, are what they call trends. They normally originate with a wild card - a headliner - a Gaga or a Kylie, then all of a sudden, the next thing we know, middle-aged Mary from the finance department is giving those neon flatcaps a whirl.

So what's the big old belly laugh about this time? Promise not to be disappointed when I tell you it's about leather - because it's not just any old leather we are talking about here, it's spray-on three-quarter-length leather trousers. Now that's got your attention, hasn't it?

There are certain things in life I like to ignore. Phone calls in general freak me out, as do difficult conversations about "my direction" with my mother. Men wearing leather is another. They're just a little too Bruce Springsteen for me. I suspect the problem lies in the fabric itself; any item of clothing that makes noise when you move is just a little creepy. But here I am in that peculiar position - lusting after a pair of Isabel Marant cropped black leather trousers. I know I should hate them and their verging-on-stupid price tag - they retail at £1,500 (Dh8,835) - never mind the fact I am normally quite realistic about my limitations (I'd look rubbish in them) but they are, unavoidably, EVERYWHERE.

So if you want to give them a go, here are a few rules:

Leather, generally speaking, makes even the most gangly of girls appear more cart-horse than colt. So beware. Three-quarter trousers, believe it or not, are more flattering than full-length, just look to French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld for inspiration. Keep the rest of your outfit simple, a longish cashmere cardigan over a white vest is good and keeps the look from heading towards mutton-dressed-as-lamb territory. Think oversized jumpers in a fine knit, or a long-sleeved striped cotton T-shirt, basically anything that doesn't scream "hello boys" because the rest of you will.

So while I will begrudgingly admit that some can pull them off, and perhaps even look cool in that Jim Morrison manner, I'll be frank: for most of us (including myself) we won't. We will simply look like an over-cooked chicken drumstick. But I'm determined to go for it anyway. Rather fashion disaster than fashion invisible.