gladiator sandals, Steve Madden. faux leather leggings, Express. plaid woven button-down, vintage. double finger cross ring, chain embellished pinky ring, Forever 21. watch, Target.
Photography by Ben Filio
One time I was dilly-dallying around in a True Religion store, which my wallet told me I had no business being in but the image of a denim clad Erin Wasson spoke more loudly; so there I was, the single solitary customer being waited on hand and foot by the blond bubbly sales associate. We talked about denim the same way two stoners might discuss their favorite cereal, throwing out washes and fits like flavors and crunchiness. We deliberated over how to style which deconstructions and what structure of shoe went best with what size leg opening. I was a denim nerd enjoying conversation with a like-minded dork who just happened to be waiting on me.
Then she said it…the word that means more than the material that it’s etymology represents: leather. Visions of leather clad rocker chicks flashed before my eyes. The Goth/rock aesthetic of Rick Owens bounced around my head. Accents from Alexander Wang designs, Pieces of Phoebe Philo garments, even those Barclay pants by The Row made an appearance in my leather induced trip. Rock ‘n’ Roll, motorcycle, and just general bad-assness started whizzing about the store when she pulled my size in leather from the shelf and brought, what might as well be gold encrusted, to the fitting room.
Dramatic…of course. I’m not gonna mention the price tag, ‘cause that didn’t matter for the few moments between bubbly sales associate girl mentioning leather pants and me having them on my body. I have never, in my life, felt sexier than I did for those fleeting moments as I stood in front of the True Religion fitting room mirror admiring my frame in the pants I’ve had lucid dreams about for years. The shear smell of leather is usually enough to give me a style-gasm but my senses were in a high-risk state of euphoria with the scent, sight and feel of the leather pants. I had to take them off and leave the store before I did something regrettable like spend my next two months rent.
So I parted ways with my dream leather duds, never having set foot in the store again for fear that I might be tempted, credit card brandished, to spend an inordinate amount of money on something I can’t quite yet allow myself to splurge on. I settled, as per usual, on the faux version. They’ll do for now, but they lack many elements I deem important. For instance, the 5-pocket element of pants is nonexistent with these. What are pants without pockets? Leggings, that’s what. They also lack belt loops, and when belts are a bit like jewelry to a wearer who loves jewelry, this sucks. They are also too short (only come in regulars) and, final complaint, the button/fly closure is on the side, just a tad inconvenient. I will say, in the pants' defense, the faux (minus the leather) as Express so cleverly labels them parentheses included, is pretty damn real looking. They are far more breathable than leather pants and can therefore be worn in the warmer months, and they have cool little zipper details on the ankles. I do have a weakness for exposed zippers. So at a fraction of the True Religion price, the Express (minus the leather) leggings are the current placeholders for my dream leather pants.