No cow ever died for a nobler cause.
There's a reason we call the trope "Draco In Leather Pants
". There's something about tanned cow hide that's cool and extremely sexy to many people.
associations originally stem from leather being the garb of choice for bikers
, who wear it for practical reasons (leather is tough and offers some protection against road rash as well as from the elements). One of the quickest ways to show that someone is Badass
or sexy in a "bad boy
" way is to dress them up in shiny black leather.
leather the vast majority of the time. Other colors just don't have the same effect in most cases, though white and red do sometimes work, as does the traditional brown. For increased badassery
, have the black leather lit by a sodium lamp: Black leather, deep green highlights.
Often overlaps with Badass Longcoat
(especially in military settings). See also Spandex, Latex, or Leather
, Pretty in Mink
, and Leatherman
. Compare its polymer sister trope, Dressed All in Rubber
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Anime and Manga
- Yu-Gi-Oh!. Takahashi seems to love this one.
- Surprisingly enough, though, it's mostly his protagonists that wear leather. Hell Kaiser Ryo in Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX plays it straighter than most.
- Tsume in Wolf's Rain appears to wear a ripped leather jacket and pants. Of course, that's just part of his disguise (look at the title again).
- Naomi Misora and Mello in Death Note. Interestingly enough, Word of God says that Mello ended up dressing like that because the artist put him in clothes that he likes drawing.
- Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist is never seen without his leather pants and occasionally even leather jackets. He's regularly mocked for his tacky taste and gaudy fashion sense.
- Fate Testarossa of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has been fighting in a leather one-piece since she was nine. Before her mother, Precia, was first shown to viewers, many of them wondered why she let her child dress like that. Turns out that, besides being the worst mom ever, she also dresses like that, and her device's most-commonly-used form is a whip.
- Nico Robin from One Piece wore a very tight, very leather ensemble during the CP9 story, complete with grade-A length high-heeled leather boots. It's since become somewhat of an Iconic Outfit, still showing up in merchandise ten years later.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, Duo wore a leather jacket and matching pants.
- Kira Yamato often wear leather outfits as his civilian clothes, mainly in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. They are usually complex designs with zipper sleeves and other strange styles.
- Clair Leonelli of Heat Guy J wears black leather pants. Like hats in Westerns, they contrast Daisuke Aurora's white jeans.
- Archer of Fate/stay night has some amazing pants. While his breastplate is stated to be some futuristic alloy, the trousers look to be leather (that he purchased at a goth or fetish shop).
- Panty and Stocking's Lawful Evil Counterparts, Scanty and Kneesocks, wear leather during their Transformation Sequence.
- A surprising amount of characters in Gunnm (Battle Angel Alita), starting from the heroine herself and Zekka, even though they technically don't really need clothing at all, most of them being Hollywood Cyborgs. They usually wear it for its sheer Badass appeal—there's the definite correlation between the amount of leather and general badass-itude of the character in the series.
- Former Badass Biker and now Troubled, but Cute Riki wears a leather jacket and pants in Ai no Kusabi.
- In Tokko, all members of Tokko wear leather jackets and pants except for Ryoko, who wears a standard police uniform.
- Joe Asakura from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman wore normal yet skintight clothes in the TV series, but he switches to leather pants and jacket in the OVA. Note that we only said "pants and jacket"...
- When Yuuta of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! was under the self-delusion of the "Dark Flame Master", this was his attire, complete with Too Many Belts.
- Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell: Arise is decked out in a red leather jacket, red leather pants, and red leather boots. Likewise, her Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex version wears a black leather jacket in the first season and a black leather shawl in the 2nd. Her Badass-ery is never in question, no matter what version of the franchise.
- Deadline Summonner has Mamoru's Werewolf, who dons a leather jacket and not much else.
- Ban from Nanatsu No Taizai typically dresses in red skintight leather attire.
- When she still had Red She-Hulk power, Betty Ross wore black leather suit that sometimes wouldn't torn up when she's transformed.
- The Authority's Midnighter. Head to toe.
- And his inspiration, Batman (though just what that costume's made of varies).
- Jason Todd/Red Hood wears a leather jacket most of the time.
- Planetary's Jakita Wagner. Black leather body suit with red trim. And a bit on the front she leaves unzipped at all times to expose some of her cleavage.
- Durham Red in Strontium Dog is certainly fond of leather.
- The Raven royal family in Scion LOVE black leather.
- Most of the Front Line in No Hero wear non porous leather with special masks for protection.
- The Blackhawks are a classic example. Zinda Blake, aka Lady Blackhawk, continues the tradition in Birds of Prey.
- Chassis Mcbain's racing suit in Chassis. It's not specified exactly what it is made of, but it certainly appears to be leather.
- Wynonna Earp, especially in her originals 1990s run. Her later series expand her wardrobe slightly.
- Grendel Prime in Grendel is literally covered from head to toe in black leather, including his face. This is to hide that most of his body is artificial.
- X-23's dress style often involves lots of leather. Her two most iconic outfits are: a leather corset, miniskirt, boots, and gloves; or leather Painted-On Pants and what essentially amounts to a leather sports bra.
- Ghost Rider wears a leather jacket. From Danny Ketch version on, spikes are also part of it.
- The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth gave us Elves in Black Leather. (There's some fanart as well.)
- Mario Kart AU fanfic Firefly stars a human Bowser whose clothing tastes consist almost solely of leather and spikes, likely inspired by Nintendo's official designs◊ and◊ artwork◊ for him.
- Part of the Isuten Junior High uniform in Pretty Cure Heavy Metal, for both the boys and the girls!
- Bait and Switch: Eleya, a definite Action Girl, has among her civilian clothes a black Klingon-made leather jacket that cost her a month's pay as a lieutenant.
- Red Fire, Red Planet: Pint-Sized Powerhouse Meromi Riyal, the Orion first officer of the IKS mupwI', wears red and black leather. While in that outfit, she curbstomped Hopeless Suitor Norigom, a conscript from Rura Penthe, fast enough he had to watch the security feed to figure out what the hell happened.
- Marlon Brando in The Wild One.
- In fact, that iconic image of Brando in the leather jacket is a big reason leather and badass became associated in popular culture.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger in all Terminator parts (stolen from a punk in the first, a biker in the second, and a stripper in the third).
- Terminator 3 also has a female Terminator in a red leather suit.
- Absolutely everyone other than Agents in The Matrix dress in a combination of leather and latex.
- Late-night DJ Midnight Mark wears clingy leather trousers in The Boat That Rocked. Later lampshaded by Quentin.
- Selene from Underworld is why leather was invented.
- Razor Blade Smile: , , , , 
- Velma in the Scooby-Doo movie dresses in leather to seduce Seth Green's character. Played for laughs because she sounds like she farts when she moves.
- In Mad Max, the titular hero Max Rockatansky and the rest of the Main Force Patrol wear head-to-toe leather, although by the time of the sequels his clothing is so worn it's more like a Non-Uniform Uniform.
- Austin Powers: Mimi Rogers in skintight black leather. Sweet Jesus...
- And her daughter (Elizabeth Hurley), since Mrs. Kensington is a Legacy Character.
- Heroic characters in The Deaths of Ian Stone generally avoid leather, but the Harvesters seem to have realized its intimidation factor. Medea in particular really works it.
- Red is featured again in the Klingon dinner dress attire in Star Trek VI.
- Emmanuelle Seigner in Frantic, in deliberate contrast to suit-wearing Harrison Ford.
- Fight Club: Tyler Durden wears red leather and goes as far as to say that in an ideal world a man will own just one set of clothes for his entire life, made of leather. He's supposed to be a subconcious representation of the repressed protagonist's idea of masculinity.
- Johann Schmidt from Captain America: The First Avenger seems to wear nothing but leather.
- The alternate title of the 1968 British-French film The Girl on a Motorcycle is Naked Under Leather.
- In Eragon, just about everyone of importance wears leather of some kind. This is extremely inaccurate. Justified, though not trope-wise, in that the wardrobe production was given little time to make the vast amounts of costumes needed, and someone had bought large quanties of leather; they had to use what they had, budget wouldn't allow more costs.
- Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings is rarely seen without his leather Badass Longcoat. Then he upgrades to one with the insignia of the White Tree in time for the final battle that's even more Badass.
- The Quick and the Dead. The Lady has a nice set of leather pants, which are shown to good effect when Cort grabs her ass during the Wall Bang Her scene. This and other shots of her pants are celebrated in this Youtube video.
- While the X-Men series is the Trope Codifier for Movie Superheroes Wear Black as leather vests replace the bright spandex from the comics, Wolverine is the best example as besides the X-Men body suit, he often wears a leather jacket.
- Like many of the Omegas in X-Men: The Last Stand, Callisto's clothing consists of nothing but dark leather.
- Arya from the Inheritance Cycle wears black leather in combat, presumably for Fanservice.
- Well it wasn't for logic, the elves of the series were of the "die-hard vegan, would die rather than kill an innocent bunny" variety. Somewhat justified as they do make use of animals that die naturally, one elven character even wearing a headdress of swan feathers gather from dead swans and feathers swans had lost.
- Every male character in J.R Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood wears black leather when fighting lessers.
- Sherrilyn Kenyon's The Dark Hunters series: Badass Army protecting the human world from things that go bump in the night.
- Caine, the Badass protagonist from Heroes Die always wears black leather.
- Geralt is almost never seen out of his favorite leather jacket with lots of silver trim and studs, and matching pants. Somewhat justified in that leather indeed was a material of choice for a combat wear in The Dung Ages, and silver is useful in his line of work, but we sometimes almost get to hear Dandelion cringe at his friend's fashion sense.
- Kate Daniels bought her black leather jacket in her teenaged "bravo" days, when she was deliberating trying to invoke this trope. Developing into a more mature, sensible adult doesn't stop her from wearing leather at every chance, though, because leather affords some protection from attacks.
- In her first appearance in Time Scout, Margo Smith is wearing a nigh-heart-stopping tight leather miniskirt. A character later describes her as "doe eyed one second, hell bent for leather the next".
- The Doctor's companion Fitz, from the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, has a leather jacket. He also wears leather trousers once or twice.
- Harry Dresden's distinctive, enchanted black leather duster comes up frequently in The Dresden Files, though the badassery of its leather is rarely explicitly stated. It is brought up when Harry needs clearance to enter a decidedly shifty night club, but Thomas is able to get him in because he's "A man in a black leather coat."
- In Discworld, when Greebo, a Bad Ass cat, is turned human, he always wears leather and looks like a pirate.
- The Far Side had a rebellious young cow wearing a leather jacket—"just for the shock value," his parents explain.
- The unnamed character in Bally's Eight Ball wears a brown leather jacket, as befitting an unauthorized copy of Happy Days' The Fonz.
- In Rollergames, Chuck Skull (the manager of the Violators) has this.
- Leather armor is, fittingly enough, the armor of choice of rogue classes, especially in Dungeons & Dragons. Medieval leather armor actually came in two varieties: the less common type was similar to biker-style garments (which is probably what D&D et al are going for), and the more common one (cuirbouilli) was hardened by being boiled into rigid pieces, and doesn't look or behave anything like leather clothing.
- The "Leather armor" card in Munchkin.
- In Vampire The Eternal Struggle, the Leather Jacket is an equipment card. It prevents all damage from a single attack, and is then destroyed. By comparison, the Flak Jacket can be used every round, but only prevents 1 damage.
- According to Marik, the Pharaoh's power comes from his leather pants. He was half right - apparently the Pharaoh gets his power from his leather shoes.
- Benedict from Warlock Games is an interesting aversion: although he wears leather, he leaves the one fight he helps in abruptly and eventually dies offscreen.
- Dark Nella's Badass Longcoat.
- Angry Joe, the most Hot-Blooded member of TGWTG, sports a trademark leather jacket that grants him Sith-like powers.
- Judas Liz. Especially appropriate for this trope name.
- Jim Morrison. This was memorably deconstructed by Mitch Benn in the intro to his song "Stinky Pants":
"Given that Morrison seems to be wearing the same pair of leather trousers in every picture there is of him, and given how difficult it is to clean leather properly, assuming you even try, I don't imagine you'd have wanted to stand downwind of the Lizard King."
- Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance used to wear leather jackets until they fell apart. See above, speculation on how bad Jim Morrison's pants smelled.
- "I have a leather jacket that could turn your stomach..."
- Joan Jett is a good female example of this- she's frequently seen in leather pants or jackets, or head-to-toe leather outfits. (Though if the leather flag sticker on her guitar is indication, this may be more than just a fashion choice.)
- Many metal artists, including Trope Namer Rob Halford with a similarly titled Judas Priest song. Ironically, Halford himself prefers pleather so as not to sacrifice innocent cattle, and the song title itself was originally used in the theme to Rawhide, though these days it's more associated with Halford and Judas Priest than anything else.
- Red Commissars and Chekists of the Russian Civil War era. Their uniform included a black leather peaked cap (replaced with a red headscarf for female commissars), a black leather jacket and jackboots. Particularly Ksanka in the Soviet action movie The Crown Of The Russian Empire, or The Elusives Again.
- The crew of Trotsky's personal armored locomotive train wore red leather outfits — military-style jackets, pants, jackboots, and hats that looked sort of like ushankas.
- Younger panzer crews in Nazi Germany, particularly in regiments which were formed in the middle to late war years, were fond of wearing U-boat crew leathers.
- Both of the above had practical considerations, as both train crews and panzer crews were working with hot machinery that could probably set cloth on fire. Plus it really did look pretty badass. So... yeah.
- Many steam-locomotive crews wore either a jacket or a vest made of thick black leather, to aid in protection from inclement weather in the open cabin and from searing-hot metal parts. Knowing how dirty one gets when dealing with coal dust and also how dirty is the job of lubricating the running gear of the locomotive with grease guns and oil dripper cans, they were worse than Jim Morrison.
- Sappers of the French Foreign Legion wear leather aprons, carry axes and are allowed beards as seen here◊.
- Los Angeles-based clothing designers Lip Service are quite fond of this, as it's been their longest running line for about 15 years.
- Of the red leather variety: Thriller.
- Early aircraft pilots wore fur lined leather jackets for the warmth, leading to Bomber Jackets.
- Suzi Quatro. Especially here
- Buzz Bissinger (the guy who wrote Friday Night Lights), apparently.
- Safety-conscious motorcycle riders often elect to wear what amounts to a suit of leather armor, often with layers of kevlar or carbon or other very tough material to protect them when they fall off the bike (commonly expressed in the phrase "Cowhide, not my hide"). Bikers in general seem to like leather and less-saftey-driven ones may still wear a leather jacket or vest with leather boots simply because it looks awesome.