Huge Fail!

Are you tempted by a trend and decide to jump on the style train with everyone else? Leather always beckons me, whether a soft leather jacket, a great pair of short boots, or a supple handbag. I’ve been tempted to try leather pants again after having a few pairs in the past. However, I had doubts about whether I would get much wear out of the leather jeans I had my eye on, so I tried a coated denim pair by Levis. Similar but for way less money! This post shares why I have a rule about buying something out of our comfort zone to test at a lower price point to determine if we will get the use out of it before investing a lot.

I am thoroughly enjoying reading the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.

The photo above shows a relaxing at-home look before my hair appointment. I usually wear ankle jeans with loafers, trainers, or flat sandals. No matter the length or leg shape of the jeans, slim fit is always my priority. If you have more curves than I do, your priority might be the curvy fit. That’s the dark-wash denim shirt I showed you here. I’ve worn the ankle jeans here countless times. The loafers are here, and the thin-liner no-show socks are here.

In the interest of full disclosure, my looks are not always on point. (See below.) A garment’s fit, fabric, and texture either harmonize to flatter you or not.

My denim jacket is from Talbots – similar here. Similar if not the same items: teebeltloafersjeans.

I am always intrigued by the style blogger Suyapa Lucy (first image). She has a way of making every look reflect her dramatic, edgy personality, so she has inspired me to try a few new elements that turned out great, but these particular coated denim jeans were a huge fail. Unfortunately, it appears that I am wearing jeans made from trash bags. Soft fabric pants cling, hug and show too many of the bits I would rather not. Bold shiny fabric or leather pants don’t align with my personality now, so it is back to plain structured denim.

We’ve learned the importance of taking photos of looks to keep a record or understand more about how the garments look on your body. May I add, take a picture of the back view? Slim-fit jeans are my only option since; otherwise, the fabric is abundant in the hips and thighs. If you always have handfuls of material around the hip area, you may also have narrow hips and a flat behind.

I hope that sharing my successes and failures helps you find the fit, style, proportion, and textures that flatter you. Recent outfits are summarized here. Additionally, shopping links on this site may allow me to earn a small commission at no cost to you.

  1. So true, and, as you suggested before, I have been taking photos of myself, front back and side views, and it makes it so clear what can stay and what must go! The mirror doesn’t show the same thing a photo does. I have a similar figure to yours, but I am larger. I have two Ralph Lauren tops/no buttons/like a tee shirt but with the beautiful flat ruffle around the whole neck that was popular then. Now I have some “ruffles” around my waist and can’t wear these alone as I’m used to do. Any tips on how to style it…..or donate them?

    1. Try layering your tops, leaving the jacket or cardigan open so only the front details show. Then, if you still don’t feel comfortable wearing them, thank them for the pleasure they brought and pass them on to someone else.

  2. Coated jeans were very big this fall at the shop where I work. They aren’t flattering on many women in my opinion but they were very popular. This post is a great illustration of the fact not every look is for every body. I try things on from time to time but have adopted your philosophy of sticking to what I know looks good on me, varying the colors and textures.

  3. After many years of trial and error, I have finally found my “style”. I know what looks good and I stick to it. But it is starting to feel like a rut. My mid section is too large, but I need a bit of definition in a top to keep me from looking like a solid block. I tried on a sleeveless black watch plaid blouse yesterday that I loved, but it did just what I expected- made me look even bigger. Any suggestions from your readers?

    1. Try a scarf in a similar pattern that you can wrap and drape to leave the ends long down the front. The vertical lines will be slimming, but you will get the interest and color.

  4. Thank you so much for showing a failure. That takes courage. I often learn more from failures than successes. To my eye, many black shiny fabrics can easily have a trash bag/plastic look. I carry weight in my hips and thighs so this trend was a non option from the beginning. The Talbots slim ankle jeans always look great on you.

  5. I just bought my first pair of leather type pants and love them. They are the leggings style with no pockets. I think why you dont like them on you is because of the bulk of the pockets. The leather style pants I have found need to be smooth and nothing to detract the straight line.
    I have received alot of compliments on my straight legged legging style pants.
    Hope this helps you to try them again

  6. Yep, you called it-trash bags trousers. LOL These pants are in the same category as body con satin garments.
    But what I really wanted to comment on was Jacqueline Winspear’s novels. YES!!!! She is one of my all-time favorite authors.
    Congratulations on finding Maise Dobbs and her adventures.

  7. I am 5’4” and weigh 130 lbs. I too seem to have the same body shape as you. I am a 34G and bust my backside is flat. And my thighs are thin. It does make it hard to buy pants. I am retired and I am a master gardener and a dog foster for a rescue so I usually have 4-5 dogs to keep me busy. Therefore I live in jeans. I found Target slim straight jeans fit well but I splurge on Paige and AG jeans to wear when I go out. I always buy them on sale, normally at Nordstrom’s. Even though they are spendy, the perfect fit is worth it. Paige even has a slim boyfriend that is fitted in the thigh. The AG Mari is the most slimming and I prefer them with long sweaters and blazers. I have faux leather leggings but my fav is a faux black leather skinny trouser that is not wide leg. They are the Halogen brand. I wear a 10 in the Halogen and a 28 waist in the jeans. Sizes are crazy ! Mother jeans are nice but over my budget . I cannot spend over $200 for a pair of jeans! Try the Paige- I bet you will like them!

  8. Great example, thank you for sharing.
    The word that came to my mind was “masculine”.
    But you look so lovely in the right things!

  9. Oh, they’re not that bad! But, I would never buy that look because the overall impression is of something too hot and sweaty, even if I see it on someone else, even on a cold day. Just, ewww.
    I agree that regular old structured jeans, especially in black, can go anywhere.
    You look so healthy and bright!

  10. Susan, Thank you for bravely sharing a look that doesn’t work for you so we can learn from your mistakes! I love your honesty and wisdom.

  11. Susan,
    You are so right about not going for trends.
    to me i recently decided on faux leather pants.They have not arrived yet
    but they are going back.I am of a certain age where leather pants just does not
    reflect me at this time of my life.
    Your style and common sense to looking good appeal to me.
    Best wished to you and Mr.Mickey for a blessed Christmas and New Year.

  12. The most difficult things for me to give away are the ones that used to be my favorites but no longer work. I had to smile at you saying to thank them for the pleasure they bought! Perhaps it will be easier for me now as I consider that someone else can get the same pleasure from them as I did! It’s the right thing to do! Thanks for the new outlook you’ve given me! By the way, will you share your Christmas decorating with us? I’m sure it’s lovely!

  13. Oh dear! I’ve seen that happen many times to me. The photo from the back illustrates why we need to view from all angles before we buy clothing. I do think a more streamline pair of faux leather pants would look quite different on you though. I do understand the changes that occur over the years in our personalities and how that effects our style choices. I like a simple, casual style these days. My big nod to recent fashion was to try a pair of joggers. I was surprised! I really do like them. Mine are nicely tapered and there isn’t a lot of extra fullness. The fabric is smooth and there are some slimming lines down the front of the legs. All in all a great look and so comfortable. I enjoy your blog so much and your willingness to share your bloopers with us. Have a delightful holiday season!

  14. Thank you for the book recommendation. I’m going to look into this series.

    Yes sometimes certain styles work and some really don’t.

  15. You made me laugh when you said it looked like you were wearing pants made of trash bags! Fortunately you don’t have any unattractive bits to keep covered but I can see why that look might not be your favorite. I don’t care for it either. Thank you for all you do and a very Merry Christmas to you and Mr Mickey!

  16. I love Jacqueline Winspear’s Maise Dobbs series. Have read all but the newest. Your longer hair looks lovely.

  17. I have not purchased any coated jeans or leather or faux leather pants. I tried the coated jeans on and just didn’t care for the material or way they looked on me. Too trendy and wouldn’t be something I’d wear often. I stick to the old tried and true too! Great post though.

  18. You crack me up and you’re so right about the whole black garbage bag look! I’m not so sure I’m daring enough for that fabric either. Thank you so much for showing us a ‘failure’ as it’s a great way to learn what not to wear! Or buy.

  19. Thank you for sharing an unflattering look; it’s a good reminder to check the rear view mirror before heading out. I am still chuckling about the trash bag comment. Thank you for blogging. I enjoy every post.

  20. Hi Susan! Thank you for the lesson on fabrics, fit & function! I have never been brave enough to wear leather or faux leather pants. You always look exquisite but I must say – these pants aren’t for you! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Thank you. I am so appreciative of your frank, honest, generous and helpful approach to sharing your wisdom about fashion.

  22. Taking a photo of yourself in an outfit is an excellent idea and one that I am now going to start. My ankle has been in plaster for nearly seven weeks andI haven’t been able to get upstairs to my wardrobe. My husband has been bringing down a variety of clothing which was ok at first because I knew where everything was. Then I realised he wasn’t putting them back in the right place so I was in the dark. As of yesterday I am in an airboot and allowed to tackle stairs. Wardrobe here I come. It will give me an opportunity to look at it all with a fresh eye. A new start. I have seen people in far worse than these trousers you are wearing but they are not you at your elegant best. You know exactly what works and what doesn’t, I always enjoy your words of wisdom.

  23. Thank you for this post! I have slim legs and hips etc and have to usually alter jeans to create a better fit. I tried the leather look once and it was not good! Love your posts, very dependable and consistent yet always new and helpful!

  24. Laughed at your deprecatory phrase ‘trash bag’ jeans. They certainly don’t look appealing. Certainly wrong for your aesthetic. Enjoyed your humour.

  25. The jeans don’t look bad, they don’t add anything to the look. The fabric looks cheap, reminds me of the past quilted jackets that look like they were made out of plastic trash bags. Not sure I like the pants on the style blogger. They look cheap too. I wonder how much those flare pants sell for. Thanks for the interesting read!

  26. Love this post! I’ve been tempted to buy leather look pants from Chicos but hesitated due to my lumpy thighs. Now I know to pass on that trend.
    Your style appeals to me although I’m more of a curvy fit. Love your classic sophistication!

  27. Try the Chicos faux leather pant! They feel like butter. I don’t think these look horrible but a pant would be good to try!

  28. Thanks for this post! So funny….but totally relatable!
    How many times have I headed off to a party, totally assured that I looked fabulous. (Edina & Patsy’s voices echo in my head at this point.)
    Someone takes a group photo and posts it online.
    My fantasy is shattered. There I am looking old, frumpy and disheveled!
    Wish I had taken a photo before I headed out the door.

  29. Hi Susan, that’s funny, same thing! I tried some on this week with a jean cut fit and felt the same like they overwhelmed me! Another time I bought some that made feel suffocated! lol. However I found some at Kaleys in Jonesborough that fit beautifully! Very high waist, fitted down to the flared bottom with a front seam. Comfortable soft coated leather material. Love them!

  30. I learn so much from your posts every day! Today though I am smiling because I sure wish my hair looked as good BEFORE a hair cut as your hair does in your photo!! Based on your comments today, I may need to start looking at curvy rather than slim cut jeans…AND I need to take a rear view picture too!
    Thanks as always!

  31. Always love your posts. As you said, try and photo. LOL I have enough of a rear end that my BananaRepublic coated jeans look great on me. I’m like you, this was my inexpensive way to try leather look pants.

  32. This is off topic, but I would love to know how you celebrate the Holidays as I am struggling with putting decorations or not this year. You wrote that you only display a few mementos. I would like to hear more as a way to convince myself to do the same. I feel so much pressure as I am going through a very difficult time. Thank you for sharing. Always a pleasure to read you.

    1. I’m sorry that you are going through so much now, but believe me when I say things will get better. Please take comfort in knowing that many of us have dreaded holidays and special events for many reasons and years. So be kind to yourself and celebrate (or not) as it pleases you. If anything causes stress or you do it because you feel pressured, please skip it. If not now, then when will you allow yourself to do things your way?

  33. Susan, you always look fantastic, but that being said, the coated jeans don’t fit your classic and streamlined aesthetic.
    I bought faux leather pants in a lovely taupe last season at Ann Taylor’s and they are more of a classic look, but as any trend, I don’t reach for them as much as my other items.

  34. I like your hair when you wear it longer rather than short….my opinion, you look great. I too, love reading the Maisie Dobbs series! I have a denim shirt I haven’t worn in a while….I think I’ll get it out.

  35. I agree that the all black outfit is a “no.” Actually, the photos reminded me of the 1950’s TV series “Have Gun Will Travel” with actor Richard Boone’s black outfits. On a positive note, it made me interested in learning more about that show I enjoyed as a child. I even took some time to do some research on the show, actor Richard Boone, and listen to the theme song for that show! Thank you again for your wise fashion tips and an unexpected travel down memory lane for me!

  36. Susan, have you ever tried the Spanx leather looking leggings? They look really good with longer tops. Also, Spanx makes wonderful pants!
    Thank you so much for sharing! You were very entertaining in your descriptions.

  37. Susan, thank you for showing your “fails”! It demonstrates to the rest of us that you’re human and not every look/trend is for everyone. I too have struggled with trying leather/coated pants and experienced the same “Soft fabric pants cling, hug and show too many of the bits I would rather not”. Please keep staying real!

  38. Thank you for sharing this and I do think you are too hard on yourself! Your look is a bit different than hers but I still think it is edgy and looks great

  39. Thank you for sharing the hits and the ones that miss. I’m kind of relieved that you have fashion failures, too.
    One of the things I love about your blog is that you aren’t trying to sell me something and you aren’t just trying on lots of clothes that will be returned after the photo shoots. You are real with us and I appreciate that.

  40. I think instead of going with the leather pants maybe a leather like material in leggings would have been a better option. They are tighter fitting and would eliminate any leg bulkiness. Either way you always look great!

  41. Thank you for sharing Susan. I am usually hot, especially in heavy denim so the thought of non breathable pants scares me off. I hesitate even with a faux leather jacket. I like the interest (eye) to travel up and these demand attention downward. Hey, you tried.

  42. You are stunning and elegant all of the time. You would look fabulous wearing a plastic garbage bag❤️❤️❤️I learn so much from you and will continue to look forward to all of your posts❤️❤️❤️

  43. Your description of how the coated jeans looked on you gave me a belly laugh. I too, have thought, oh wow, that might work for me, only to be disappointed after I put the item on my body. Now having said that, I have a real affinity for v-neck long sleeve tops. I have them in cashmere, liquid knit and the good old standby, cotton.
    I have always been leary of an item that is priced really low, thinking that there must be something wrong with product, pills, shrinks after washing, etc. but out of curiosity more than anything else, I ordered two v-neck cotton long sleeve tops from J C Penny. They were under nine dollars each. They are St John’s Bay brand. Boy,was I pleasantly surprised. They feel great on, yes cotton, but a step above what you would expect. Laundered well, no fading, and absolutely no shrinking! I fell in love. They have definitely found a permanent spot in my collection.
    So, I totally agree with trying something g new, even if it turns out be less that you expected, Occasionally one finds a little gem.

  44. Thank you Susan for your great response to Yvonne’s post….. the sentence “if not now, then when will you allow yourself to do things your way” was so pertinent. My husband died in August and I decided that all I am capable of doing this Christmas is a Christmas flag outdoors, a wreath in the door, and a Christmas tablecloth. And I’m fine with just these items.
    Thank you, Susan, for your very honest, thoughtful comments..

  45. Susan,
    I agree with your opinion about the pants. I can’t imagine how awful these would feel on with the coating.
    My first introduction to leather pants was back in the ’80s on a trip to Germany. It seemed all the chic women wore them throughout the shopping districts. These were real leather and fit well. The prices were very high and made me gasp!
    After asking around about the popular pants (as to the reason for them to be so that popular ) they were shown in major designer shows in Europe and they are warm during the cold season. Most city dwellers rely on the train system/bus for transportation and walk much more than we do. The rest of Europe also loves them.
    I have a feeling Europeans are having a little chuckle over the USAs interpretation of the pants.
    Thanks for the post.

  46. I just love your posts and you never cease to amaze me with your endless styling tips. I wonder if you could help me. I fell many years ago and have residual pain when I sit or with too tight of clothing in my pants. Therefore, I need pants with a lot of stretch in them. I haven’t been able to wear jeans since this happened as they don’t give enough when I sit. I have been limited to stretchy black leggings or slim fit pants only as that’s all I can find. Have you tried any other styles of pants that are slim fitting, have some give and that aren’t black? I’m 5’8” and weigh about 127 and am 70. Thank you!

  47. Very interesting. I have been turned off by the current styles. The clothes seem more like costumes than figure enhancing. I’ve been shopping in my own closet as I am turned off by current “fashion.” I found that most clothes I owned were Chicos, however, I can’t bring myself to purchase any of their clothing as they are too far out for my taste.

  48. This made me laugh – at myself. I recently purchased a pair of softer fabric black jeans to replace a favorite more structured pair of black jeans that were worn out. May I say the joke was on me? Great price. Good brand that I have worn successfully before – in a different fabric! They will be worn around the house and probably to run to the grocery store. I bought them, wore them, and cannot return them. Lesson learned – sale does always equal money savings, especially when the fit or fabric or structure is not right.

  49. Wow Susan I was looking, just looking, at coated jeans a couple of days ago. I resisted the temptation. Now I am thankful that I did. Trash bags, hmm..That is funny in a way. Can’t imagine that on you..I am debating leather, but where would I wear them now??

  50. Thank you Susan for modeling the faux leather jeans. I wonder if they don’t stretch somewhat after they are worn for awhile? I have seen people wearing them like you modeled but I will be refraining from purchasing them. Thank you!

  51. Hi, Susan. I, too, like the Maisie Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspeear. I want to thank you for your fashion tips. Since I’ve been following you and your tip I’ve received many compliments on my style. It’s due to your tips and tricks, so thanks.

  52. First off, I am glad to hear that you have helped Mr. Mickey get his blood sugar and other issues under control.
    It always seem to be more successful when you work with someone else, and living in the same household makes food prep automatic You both look wonderful, and healthy.

    I too am a leather fan…I had leather pants in the past, and I wore them everywhere. Great with a tweed blazer or a blouse w/vest. Heels or flats I loved them. I gave them up in my 50’s. Just didn’t seem to work for me any longer. I am still wearing my leather skirts…boots, heels, booties (with tights ,always). Sweaters, blouses, blazers, jackets. I love them. The skirts seem to better suit my style & wardrobe at me age. And they feel more like a denim skirt makes me feel…can be casual..just up a notch.

    Love your posts.

  53. I to wanted to try the leather look jeans a few years ago. Like you I bought some coated jeans x 2 pairs, one in black and the other in a marron colour. I never felt comfortable in them. So in the donation box they went. I too like the look of them on other people but not on me. I’m not trying that again.

  54. I’ve been tempted by the faux leather pants, too. But when I stop and think about where I’d wear them, …no where that I go.

  55. Kathy, I have the same problem with hip pain when I wear jeans; I think it started because of frequent wearing of spandex workout capris. I’ve found two styles of pants that are comfortable and don’t cause the pain to recur: Clara Sun Woo jersey-type pants and Eileen Fisher washable crepe pants. Both come in a number of styles and colors and can be found on resale sites like Ebay and Poshmark, if you want to try them before investing in some at full price. I do miss wearing jeans, but it’s not worth the discomfort.

  56. hi Susan – love your posts. What color are you sam edelman loafers? They look a little darker than the saddle leather color. Love the color of yours and it is one that I would wear alot!

  57. I have a pair of faux leather pull ups without pockets or belt, straight leg. I am petite and a soon to be young 75 year old. I wear them with a small heeled ankle boot. I think you should look into these. White House, Black Market has beautiful fitting faux leather!

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.