This Week I Love …

… the fact that faux leather and leather lookalikes have come SUCH a long way in recent years.

I’ll level with ya: I still balk a little at faux leather shoes because the few pairs I’ve tried have worn out quickly and made my feet uncomfortably warm and sticky. Leather may not breathe the way, say, linen does, but it breathes better than polyurethane. However! I am unspeakably impressed by how much softer, suppler, and real-er the current batch of faux leathers is than the crinkly, stinky crap that was available when I was a kid. Also completely love waxed/coated denim and other treatments that are meant to hint at leatheriness, but subtly.

Here are a few faux leather items that have caught my eye of late:


Karen Kane faux leather leggings – $108

I totally adore my pair, and of all the fake leather pants and leggings I’ve tried on they are by FAR the comfiest. These have a slightly crackly finish, so they don’t look quite as convincingly leather-y if you examine them with a magnifying glass. But from a few feet away? No one will be the wiser.


Melie Bianco Alyssa – $98

Although I haven’t fondled this exact bag, I’ve mooned over many Melie Bianco designs in my day and they are top-notch in the faux leather department. This particular bag hits two of my favorite marks: Dual external pockets and gorgeous cobalt color. Yum.


Madden Girl Hold On Bootie – $59.95

My feet are considerably less prone to sweaty outbreaks during the long Minnesota winters, so I might consider a bootie like this little love. So sleek with that stacked heel and simple styling, and perfect for jeans or cozy socks and sweater tights.

matt and nat mitsuko

Matt & Nat Mitsuko Bowler Bag – $155.62

Another reliably amazing brand for faux leather, Matt & Nat bags have the added bonus of being lined with a material made from recycled plastic bottles. This little bowler is absolutely classic, and that burnished tan will go with everything.

express minus the leather jacket

Express Minus the Leather and Boiled Wool Jacket – $148

Express launched their (Minus the) Leather line last year with a gorgeous group of jackets, and it was so successful that they’ve expanded into other garments like miniskirts and peplum tops. There are over 91 items available now, but this on-trend mixed media coat caught my eye. Gobs of faux leather may feel like overkill, but faux leather accents like the sleeves on this topper are discreet and chic.

spanx wax denim

Spanx Wax Denim Leggings – $107


I have a denim jacket that I believe is waxed, but I was so curious about how the material would feel in pant format that I sprung for a silver pair of these a few weeks ago. And, unsurprisingly, I’m now in love with them. They run true to the size chart – I tried a large first since leggings and legging-style pants are often squeezy on me, but had to swap them for a medium. This black pair looks more leather-like than the silver, and is still hella cheaper than the genuine article.

faux leather wrap bracelet

Nali Double Wrap Studded Faux Leather Bracelet – $14.24

Could there BE anything more badass? I’m pretty sure I’d poke my own eye out if I ever wore this, but it’d be worth it. OK, no it wouldn’t. But it’s still a pretty badass bracelet, people.

As you can see, top-quality faux leather is pretty spendy. There are plenty of bargain pieces out there, but you really do get what you pay for. Many of the fast-fashion fauxs I’ve handled feel rubbery and smell funky, whereas the items listed above are soft, supple, and smell-free. (I can’t vouch for the bracelet, but the rest I’ve dealt with in person or seen other items from the same line/brand up close.) Great news for you vegans out there who love the look of leather and have been waiting for more realistic-looking, animal-friendly options.

Are you a fan of faux leather and leather lookalikes like waxed denim? Any other finds to share?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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14 Responses to “This Week I Love …”

  1. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    I agree – there are some great looking faux-leather jackets, vests, trousers out there. My husband bought a fake leather jacket recently that looks like the real deal. The Matt and Nat bag is very cool too!

  2. Kristin

    I have a vegan leather tote in a beautiful blue color. The price for these things is right and they look great.

  3. Sarah

    Great post! There’s so much faux leather out there right now that it’s hard to tell what’s good, especially when shopping online. P.S. As a Northern Californian I love seeing people from other parts of the country say “hella.”

  4. Peggy

    I agree though that the quality has improved greatly recently. The rebranding of faux leather into ‘vegan leather’ is also interesting.

  5. Margaret

    I am a big fan of waxed cottons, which do have a leathery look but still different. I have looked at a number of the trendy faux leather sleeves/army jacket or faux leather sleeves/trench coat pieces this fall though haven’t found many which fit properly. I must say that this blog post really grabbed me and, not that I own much leather clothing at all and 90% of it is thrifted but…. just wow….
    I actually went to read it because I thought it was about changing the color of leather, like that kind of dying. It is not. Knowledge is power.

  6. Krysta

    I have to say, I’m far more used to faux-leathers than real leather.

    I only own a couple pieces of real leather, and the two I can think of were both gifts… And unfortunately don’t fit me anymore, but I’m reluctant to give them up because they ARE leather.

    And for buying new (or at least new-to-me) pieces…. I cringe at paying even $30-40 for an item, and it seems like real leather pieces are few and far between around here.

  7. Valerie

    I think faux leather clothing has improved over time (10 years ago faux, did look faux), sometimes it is hard to tell the difference from the real thing, unless you are really close up and feel the texture.

  8. Gracey the Giant

    I definitely think the look of faux leather has improved immensely; in fact, I just ordered a jacket with faux leather sleeves. Hopefully it will look as good in person as it does on the screen. If not, that Express pieces might just have to be my next attempt!

    • Shawna

      Gracey, I discovered your blog through this one and I love it but find I cannot comment on it or arranging to be able to comment on it is too challenging for me. Perhaps you could add the option of commenting by choosing just name and URL (optional) because I am sure you want to hear my opinions! If you can live without me, I will continue to lurk.

  9. Laura

    I feel about leather the same way I do about jewellery – it must be real. I don’t wear faux leather or non-precious metals.

  10. Versatile Style by Tracey

    I am loving the term Vegan Leather that is being used these days! It’s all about how your frame it! I agree that faux versions have really imprived over the years and I own both real and faux jackets. As for shoes, for some reason real leather really does make a difference and is my preference.

  11. Shawna

    I have mixed feelings about faux leather. Mainly I don’t like faux anything, but I was actually vegan for several years and refused to have anything to do with leather. I am no longer and that’s a whole other story-probably a novel- and back to leather. I find the faux leather either cheap looking or it just doesn’t wear as well as real leather does. Like all cases of natural materials versus faux, it’s the patina of time that actually looks good on natural materials and looks bad on the fake. I have one cross body bag in PVC that I love and have had for a few years but I will replace it with something in leather as soon as I find a similar style. I also have one pair of shoes that are really comfortable and look great but I don’t wear them too often as I don’t wear heels much so they will last awhile. They are a leftover from my vegan days.

  12. Rebekah Jaunty

    Thank you for sharing these, Sal! I stopped wearing leather years ago, so many style blogs can be a little frustrating for me— but you always have something for everyone. Thanks for keeping an open mind, and then ending hours writing, editing, doing research, finding images, and fixing broken links so you can share your thoughts with the wider world!