We have been wearing jewelry made from leather since, like forever, ever since the first person slipped on a leather wristband. It became a mainstay of hippie culture but in the last few years, it has become more mainstream.
Leather bracelets have long been a favorite of rock stars but in this Instagram age, Hollywood celebrities, fashion trendsetters, and influencers have helped them become one of the hottest jewelry trends.
Popular with both sexes, you'll find A-listers like Johnny Depp, Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez, and David and Victoria Beckham sporting a wristband, cuff bracelet, or braided bracelet made of leather.
The question is - as with all trends that we adopt from the catwalk or celebrities - is how to follow the trend so it's natural and you don't just look like a wannabe.
If you have always worn metal jewelry, particularly silver or gold, why should you pick leather and how do you make it part of your personal style? If you're a fan of costume jewelry, how does leather fit in with your other pieces?
Why Choose Leather Bracelets?
Leather has advantages in all areas:
For the jewelry maker, genuine leather is very malleable and is easy to make into cords, straps, bands, braids, and cut into any shape. It can be combined with any other material including metal, plastic, beads, natural stones, and gemstones. Leather bracelets can be small and delicate or made into chunky bangles and cuffs. Leather costs less than other materials, adding affordability to its list of advantages.
For the wearer, the choice of leather bracelets is absolutely huge. There is no limitation on the style or design of a leather bracelet. While there are more options for women, there is still a really good range of men's leather bracelets.
Another consideration is that people who are allergic to precious metals are unlikely to have an allergy to leather. Leather is suitable for practically everyone (except vegans!)
How to Choose a Leather Bracelet
Just like any other items of women's, unisex, or men's jewelry, leather bracelets should reflect your style and personality as well as be comfortable to wear. Do not prioritize style over comfort.
The five criteria in choosing any bracelet whether made from leather or some other material are style, budget, personality, design, and quality.
Style: There's a series of questions to ask yourself about your choice. Do you want glam or simple? Is it something you are going to wear every day? Think about how it will fit into your lifestyle. A close-fitting leather bangle, for instance, will not interfere with comfort if you use a keyboard all day. If you spend a lot of time outdoors. you need a secure fastener to prevent it from getting lost. Do you want it to be adjustable or to have features such as gemstones? Is it to match other pieces in your collection such as a pendant or will you wear it stacked with others? Stacking bracelets is as hot a trend as leather bracelets which look really good when paired with beaded bracelets and a watch.
Budget: Of course, you need to consider how much to spend. If you veer towards designer leather bracelets, you will have to pay top dollar for great craftsmanship and excellent quality. There's a big difference between a designer bangle bracelet and a leather cord bracelet you buy from an artisan at the local craft market.
Personality: Everything you wear makes a statement about you. When thinking about bracelet designs, consider the sort of impression your black leather bracelet with studs will give as opposed to a delicate sterling silver bracelet. Will a beautiful id bracelet say more about you than a heavy wrap bracelet? Will a braided leather bracelet look good if you wear a suit and tie every day? rather than jeans and a t-shirt? Also, think about your other accessories and choose a bracelet that you can wear on numerous occasions - especially if you're splashing out on a designer number.
Design: We've already said the range of designs is huge. There's a choice of flat, textured, or sculpted leather, different colors, combinations with other materials, with or without gemstones, one-size or adjustable, unisex, customizable ... there's no limit on bracelet designs.
Quality: The better the quality of the leather, the longer your bracelet will last. Choose what you know is genuine leather rather than fake or faux leather. Unless it's a plain wrap leather cord bracelet, look closely at how the bracelet was made. Is the fastener sturdy, do any gemstones look well set, etc? Scrutinize the craftsmanship to get an idea of the bracelet's potential life and if it will stand up to daily wear.
Let's look a little more at some styles and how to wear them.
Styles of Leather Bracelets
Highlighting just a few styles that are available ...
Unisex Leather Bracelets
We're still in an age where men and women will wear different styles of jewelry but leather is a material that lends itself to both sexes.
Plain black or brown leather bracelets are easy to wear as are braided bracelets and wrap bracelets.
Leather and sterling silver bangles are popular with both men and women and are an elegant choice that wears well alone, with a watch, or as part of a stack.
Wide Leather Bracelet
Usually known as a cuff, this is a bold choice simply due to its size making it eye-catching. Wide leather bracelets are best worn with short-sleeved clothing to show them off. Leather cuffs are generally more suitable for men but there are no rules that prevent women from wearing them.
Personalization might refer to having a name on your bracelet but it can also mean having a leather bracelet customized to your own idea. There are websites where you can buy a bracelet engraved with a name or you will find plenty of artisans who are willing to take your ideas and designs and make the bracelet you have conceived. This is a great idea for a Valentine's Day or another special celebration gift.
Gemstones don't have to be in a precious metal setting. Gemstones add a touch of panache to leather and make a strong statement. A single stone such as a tiger eye is a bold choice but a bracelet set with multiple gemstones in a single or mix of colors is equally striking.
Wearing beads around your wrist has become incredibly popular. Beaded bracelets where there are no gaps are most prevalent but if you opt for a leather wristband with beads, the beads will be threaded on a leather cord at intervals, showcasing the leather as much as the beads. Beaded leather bracelets are also usually multi-layer, with 2-4 joined together pieces. They may also feature other motifs along with the beads that give them the feel of a charm bracelet but without the dangly aspect.
How to Wear a Leather Bracelet
You can wear your bracelet on its own, on your dominant hand, or your non-dominant hand. It can be worn with a wristwatch, although take care of clashing colors. For example, not all shades of black and brown are equal so if your watch has a black or brown wristband, be aware of the effect of adding a bracelet made of black or brown leather.
It is a question of complementing your jewelry if you wear a watch and bracelet and mostly, the answer is common sense. so, if you have a silver-tone watch, a leather bracelet with stainless steel or silver detail will work well together. Not so much for a gold-tone watch.
Wearing a leather bracelet with others on the same wrist is such a trendy way to style your jewelry. How you wear it and with how many other bracelets is completely down to the look and effect you want to create. Some leather bracelets are designed with multiple layers so you achieve the stacked look with just one piece of jewelry.
The Do's and Don'ts of Wearing Leather Bracelets
Beyond choosing which to wear and how to style it, there are some practical considerations. Genuine leather does require some upkeep.
Do not get your leather bracelet wet
Getting leather wet will not ruin or break it but water can strip the oils from your bracelet. This can make it stiffen and crack as it dries out. It is best not to wear a leather bracelet in the shower or for swimming.
Do avoid extreme temperatures
Extreme heat can cause the leather to dry out. It is ok to wear your leather jewelry outside on a hot day but it shouldn't be left next to a radiator, stove, or any other form of the heat generator. Take it off if going into a sauna.
Do keep it clean
A damp cloth can be used if your leather bracelet gets dirty. Do not scrub hard as this can scratch the leather's surface. Do not use soap, detergent, or abrasive chemicals as these will damage the leather, stripping it of its natural oils causing drying and cracking. Distilled water is the ideal cleaning solution. A clean, damp bracelet should be left to air dry in a cool area.
Don't worry about a little bit of wear
Leather has a long life but is prone to wear and tear. It will adjust to your fit and over time will gain a patina. This will give it character and not ruin its aesthetics.
Leather bracelets are a hugely versatile item of jewelry. There are so many styles and colors and they are easy to wear. They are available to suit any budget and make a great addition to any jewelry collection whether buying for yourself or as a gift. As jewelry trends go, this is one of the easiest for anyone to adopt for themselves.