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Hell-Bent for Leather

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"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 (or its synthetic or plant-based equivalents) that's cool and extremely sexy to many people.

Leather's badass 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/girl" way is to dress them up in shiny black leather. Heroes will typically wear a leather jacket or Badass Longcoat, while villains will more often wear something skintight, with undertones of BDSM.

It will be black 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 mercury-vapor lamp: Black leather, deep green highlights.

This is also a common trapping of historical epics and fantasy, as clothing made from leather is percieved as being more old-fashioned and primitive. All kinds of leathery gear is also presented as armor, since it looks cool, can be put together pretty easily by the costume department, may be less uncomfortable for actors to wear than the alternatives, and is well-accepted by audiences thanks to decades of The Coconut Effect. There are real examples of leather clothing and armor in certain times and places throughout history, but Hollywood Costuming is par for the course. The popularity of leather clothing and armor in a historical setting is often hugely exaggerated; designs may be anachronistic or completely fictitious; and modern forms of tanning and coloring may show up. Furthermore, items made from soft or flimsy pieces of leather are treated as armor when they'd do nothing to resist blades or arrows in real life. Actual leather armor was often thick, heavy, and specially treated to harden it. Not exactly your casual leather jacket.

This trope often manifests in the form of Badass Longcoat, especially in military settings. See also Spandex, Latex, or Leather, Pretty in Mink, Dominatrix, and Leatherman. Compare its polymer sister trope, Dressed All in Rubber.


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    Anime & Manga 


    Comic Books 
  • As revived by Grant Morrison, Animal Man is a vegetarian animal rights activist who generally averts this trope, but after his family is murdered he suits up in a leather jacket from his punk rocker days to avenge them. Their deaths are later undone by the author, if you're worried.
  • The Black Cat wears a figure-hugging bodysuit of black leather.
  • 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.
  • The Batman Who Laughs from Dark Nights: Metal wears this flamboyantly, including spiked visor goggles, several straps, and a set of chains. Compared to his previous suit which is made out of kevlar, his outfit seems to be unsuited for active combat, no less protective enough for him, but not like it matters to him because he's the goddamn Batman (and half-Joker).
  • Ghost Rider wears a leather jacket. From Danny Ketch version on, spikes are also part of it.
  • 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.
  • The Incredible Hulk: When she still had Red She-Hulk power, Betty Ross wore a black leather suit that sometimes wouldn't be torn up when she's transformed. Though it was often unzipped to her navel.
  • Jason Todd/Red Hood wears a leather jacket most of the time, to help illustrate his edgy "bad boy" persona.
  • Pizzazz from Jem and the Holograms (IDW) hates many things. Four of the few things she "loves" are her cat, curly fries, music, and leather. While not exactly a "badass", Pizzazz is the lead singer in a metal band and is the rival of Jem. She has a Hair-Trigger Temper as well.
  • Most of the Front Line in No Hero wear non-porous leather with special masks for protection.
  • Planetary's Jakita Wagner. Black leather bodysuit with red trim. And a bit on the front she leaves unzipped at all times to expose some of her cleavage.
  • The Raven royal family in Scion LOVE black leather.
  • Durham Red in Strontium Dog is certainly fond of leather.
  • The most rebellious Superboy, Kon-El, wears a black leather jacket over his super-suit (along with two crisscrossed leather belts). His first jacket was a gift from the Newsboy Legion clones, but it was destroyed in combat and replaced several times over. His second outfit swapped it out for a bomber jacket. The leather jacket eventually made a comeback in Young Justice (2019), now with more metal studs, along with red leather fingerless gloves.
  • The Ultimates: The platoon of Giant Men use leather clothes while in giant size.
  • Negan from The Walking Dead, along with its television adaptation. Seemingly justified in that the leather he and the Saviors wear appear to be tough enough to withstand Walker bites, making such outfits incredibly valuable in the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): After Artemis became the new Wonder Woman following the events of "The Contest" Diana returned to superheroing in a new costume, consisting of a black leather bra thing, jacket, leather shorts, short leather boots and leather gloves.
    • Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark wore a leather jacket with metal studs and metal pauldrons on the shoulders along with goggles prior to joining Teen Titans, giving her a biker aesthetic in some of her many costumes, especially those that included jeans.
  • Wynonna Earp, especially in her original 1990s run. Her later series expand her wardrobe slightly.
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side had a rebellious young cow wearing a leather jacket—"just for the shock value," his parents explain.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: Mimi Rogers in skintight black leather. And her daughter (Elizabeth Hurley), since Mrs. Kensington is a Legacy Character.
  • The Bank Job: Both Femme Fatale Martine and Terry the heist crew leader are wearing leather jackets in their first scenes. Averted with Eddie, who also wears leather jackets but is the only member of the heist crew who has no criminal past, and spends the last act as a Distressed Dude.
  • Bit: Duke is never seen without wearing her leather jacket in the present. She's a badass lesbian vampire, and leads a group of them.
  • Late-night DJ Midnight Mark wears clingy leather trousers in The Boat That Rocked. Later lampshaded by Quentin.
  • Averted with Catwoman in Batman Returns, where her catsuit was made out of latex, vacuum-sealed to the point of discomfort, and coated with a wet silicone lubricant to create the illusion of sheen, and to hide the fact that the stitches were not stitched into the fabric, but glued on after the fact because latex is notoriously easy to tear (so much so that the production team had to make more than 40 catsuits). The closest practical way to make this costume is wet-look spandex, but Catwoman's solo film plays this trope straight, as the designers wanted to make it out of leather so it would be easier for commercial costume makers to reproduce.
  • In Charlie's Angels (2000), Alex Munday (played by Lucy Liu) has a room full of computer nerds eating out of her palm thanks to her sexy leather powersuit (that squeaks every time she walks).
  • Coyote Ugly is about a bar run by women who dance on the counter in tight leather pants specifically to pander to male patrons.
  • 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.
  • In Descendants, it is practically a requirement for kids raised on the Isle of the Lost to be wearing leather at all times. The main four, Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos, are no exception.
  • In Eragon, just about everyone of importance wears leather of some kind. This is extremely inaccurate. An Enforced Trope, in that the wardrobe production was given little time to make the vast number of costumes needed, and someone had bought large quantities of leather; since further expenditures weren't allowed, they had to use what they had.
  • Carla Rainer - the villainess in Exception to the Rule - spends most of the movie wearing a black leather jacket and gloves. As might be expected for a psychotic female assassin.
  • In the Fantastic Beasts series so far, many of the Auror offices of different wizarding governments around the world favor leather in their uniforms - namely, leather trench coats, such as the ones seen on the MACUSA aurors and the aurors of the French Ministry of Magic.
  • 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 subconscious representation of the repressed protagonist's idea of masculinity.
  • Emmanuelle Seigner in Frantic, in deliberate contrast to suit-wearing Harrison Ford.
  • Once the protagonist of Freaky has her body taken by a serial killer, the ensuing makeover is highlighted by a red leather jacket.
  • In the Harry Potter series, Bellatrix is constantly outfitted in a black dress and corset with notable leather trimming. Many of the other miscellaneous Death Eaters are seen with similar outfits.
  • Home Alone: The Holiday Heist: Jessica is a burglar who wears leather pants and a leather jacket.
  • One of the most distinctive parts of Indiana Jones' wardrobe is his leather jacket, which was based on the A-2 flight jackets issued to World War II aviators. All of the jackets were custom pieces; the original jackets for Raiders of the Lost Ark were made (over a long and arduous process involving many samples and design rights arguments) by Leather Concessionaires (along with a Wilson jacket worn by the stuntman who climbed under a speeding truck).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Masquerade (2021): Besides her fencing mask, Rose wears a leather jacket and tight-fitting black leggings for the second half of the movie.
  • Absolutely everyone other than Agents in The Matrix dress in a combination of leather and latex. Originally the iconic Badass Longcoats were meant to be leather, too, but fabric moved better in Bullet Time.
  • The 1968 British-French film Naked Under Leather (a.k.a. Girl on a Motorcycle) where the leather catsuit of the eponymous biker is openly played for fanservice.
  • The Serial Killer in Night After Night After Night dresses in black leather and a Beatles wig when he goes out hunting victims.
  • Pistolera: Apart from when she is undercover, Pistolera spends the movie dressed in a variety of skintight, Stripperific black leather outfits.
  • 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.
  • Razor Blade Smile: Leather is a popular fashion choice among vampires.
  • Velma in Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed dresses in leather to seduce Seth Green's character. Played for laughs because she sounds like she farts when she moves.
  • Spears:
    • Jeff the conman has a black leather jacket that becomes increasingly more tattered as he tries to distance himself from that lifestyle.
    • Halfway through the film, Jeff and Cormac recruit Ashaki, a High-Class Call Girl to help them catch Vadik. She wears tight black pants and a purple jacket, both in leather.
  • Red is featured again in the Klingon dinner dress attire in Star Trek VI.
  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin Skywalker wears a leather tunic (actually more of a tabard, like medieval knights used to wear) and leather boots in Attack of the Clones, and in Revenge of the Sith he wears a similar outfit but also has a leather gauntlet (to cover his prosthetic arm). To add to the coolness factor, his wardrobe goes from brown and black to almost all black, too. This foreshadows the iconic black leather and metal suit we all know he'll be wearing for the rest of his life by the end of the movie...
    • Han Solo has apparently picked up on this trope for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as he's shown wearing a brown leather jacket in place of his iconic black vest from the original trilogy.
  • In The School for Good and Evil (2022), Sophie wears a leather corset during her time at the School for Evil. Most notably when she gains Blood Magic from Rafal.
  • The Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow High wears a black leather Badass Longcoat. His other sartorial decisions are more idiosyncratic.
  • The 2021 Irish film Spears:
    • Ashaki the High-Class Call Girl who's hired to infiltrate a club and help kidnap Vadik, has a pair of tight black leather pants. She has a leather jacket too, but this one is purple.
    • Jeff also has a black leather jacket that he wears out in the field, and it hints that even if he's a Non-Action Guy, he's tougher than he seems.
  • Terminator:
  • Top Gun is credited with not only popularizing leather aviator jackets in the 1980s, but with the US Air Force begrudgingly reissuing leather flight jackets to its aviators (while the Navy depicted in the film continued issuing G-1 flight jackets with only a short pause from 1979 to 1981, the Air Force discontinued them in favor of cloth jackets in 1943 and only surviving jackets and cottage industry replicas survived into the 1950s).
  • Selene from Underworld (2003) is why leather was invented.
  • 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.
  • The X-Men Film Series is the Trope Codifier for Movie Superheroes Wear Black as leather vests replace the bright spandex from the comics. However, it was noted by the cast that, although it might not have looked as "silly" as the neon spandex of the source material, it was not good clothing for action sequences, as they chafed and were really tough to move in.
    • Wolverine is the best example as, besides the X-Men body suit, he often wears a leather jacket.
    • In the original trilogy, Cyclops is frequently seen with a black leather jacket.
    • X2: X-Men United: Mystique has a black leather jacket while seducing a guard.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Past Xavier owns a brown leather jacket.
      • Quicksilver is fond of his silver leather jacket.
    • Deadpool (2016): Negasonic Teenage Warhead's signature look includes a black leather jacket or long coat.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: It's set in The '80s, so leather clothing is very much in fashion.
      • Both Raven Darkholme and Warren Worthington III are dressed in a studded black leather jacket.
      • Scott Summers' leather jacket is mostly artichoke green with some blue on the front.
      • Kurt Wagner's Thriller jacket is made out of red leather.
      • Peter Maximoff sports silver leather pants and a silver leather jacket with black sections.
  • As befitting a World War II pilot, the protagonist of Dakota Harris wears a leather jacket and military cap.

  • Animorphs: In "The Separation", Rachel is split into "Nice" and "Mean" versions of herself. One of the first things Mean Rachel does is express disgust at her preppy wardrobe and head out to buy some black leather.
  • In Autobiography of Red, Bad Boy Herakles wears a black leather jacket.
  • 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.
  • Discworld
    • When Greebo, Nanny Ogg's badass cat, is turned human in Witches Abroad and Maskerade, he always wears leather and looks like a pirate.
    • In Soul Music, the Dean falls under the influence of Music with Rocks in It, and makes himself a leather longcoat with "BORN TO RUNE" spelled out on the back in metal studs. He doesn't know what it means, it just seemed appropriate.
    • Invoked but averted in The Light Fantastic, as the Lemony Narrator is very clear that Barbarian Heroine Herenna the Henna-Haired Harridan is not dressed like "the cover of the more advanced kind of lingerie catalogue for the specialised buyer", instead opting for "light chain mail, soft boots and a short sword".
      All right, maybe the boots were leather. But not black.
  • 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."
  • 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 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.
  • Caine, the badass protagonist from Heroes Die always wears black leather.
  • Arya from the Inheritance Cycle wears black leather in combat, presumably for Fanservice. This may seem inappropriate given the characterization of elves as hardcore vegans, but then again they do make use of animals that die naturally (for example, an elf wearing a headdress of swan feathers gathered from dead swans and feathers swans had lost).
  • Jill Kismet wears leather pants for their abrasion resistance: blue jeans can get shredded when you move as fast as she can, thanks to her Deal with the Devil. It makes her ass look good, too.
  • Kate Daniels bought her black leather jacket in her teenage "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.
  • A Downplayed Trope in the Lensman series, where much is made of the uniform of a Gray Lensman being plain, utilitarian, drab, and, well, gray. But it's only mentioned in passing that it's a gray leather uniform.
  • 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".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel. When Wesley makes his return as a "rogue demon hunter", he's wearing all leather. He has to change out of them though, as they chafe his... legs.
    • And Illyria. Oh dear Christ, Illyria.
    • Angelus's trademark is his leather pants, which Spike makes a hobby out of making fun of.
  • The Avengers (1960s): Honor Blackman and Mrs. Emma Peel in her first season.
  • Parodied in one or more The Benny Hill Show sketches. Benny plays an actor playing a bad boy dressed all in leather while filming a scene. Not only is it not sexy (cause, y'know, it's Benny Hill), the leather squeaks so much whenever he moves that it drowns out recording the dialogue, especially when he sits on a leather-covered chair.
  • Billy the Exterminator: Billy and Ricky will often wear combinations of various black leather clothing articles as part of their wardrobe, sometimes with spikes or studs. Billy once explained that the leather is thick enough to protect him from most stinging insects, and the spiked wristbands safeguard his forearms from bites.
  • Blackadder
    • The second incarnation, Blackadder spends most of his series in head-to-toe black leather. According to Word of God, the entire female cast went "pwhoar" the first time Rowan Atkinson showed up on set in costume, including the very lesbian Miriam Margolyes.
    • Rik Mayall also had his moment with this trope, appearing in season four in pilot's leathers.
      Rik: I mean, you don't think of World War I as particularly sexy, but when I put on the costume, the leather coat and the lariat and. It. Was. So. Sex. I mean, I was a walking penis!
  • Both heroes and villains in Blake's 7. Apparently, an S&M shop made the outfits, as they had the most experience in working with leather (there's a cute anecdote about the shopworkers frantically hiding the porn and the nipple clamps when Michael Keating (Vila) turned up for a fitting with his little daughter in tow).
  • If Booth isn’t on the job and wearing his suit, you’ll often see him sporting a leather jacket over his T-shirt in outdoor scenes on Bones.
  • Stormfront on The Boys (2019) wears a form-fitting black leather suit with red trim. Given that she's a virulent racist and old-school Nazi (meaning that she's also Putting on the Reich) who murders people of color just for kicks, definitely a villainous example despite her public image.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • The tough-as-nails, motorcycle-riding Rosa Diaz usually wears a black leather jacket. Hell, for a Thanksgiving dinner with a suit-and-tie dress code, she promises to wear her "formal leather jacket" ("it's the one without any blood on it").
    • Jake Peralta's default outfit also includes a leather jacket, although he only thinks he's a "bad boy".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Vampire Willow.
    • When Willow is worried that Oz is paying too much attention to the sultry Veruca, she dresses up in leather pants to seduce him.
    • Buffy and Faith are both seen wearing leather pants and jackets on more than one occasion, especially Faith. Angel and Spike both go in for leather jackets. Angel also famously wears leather pants when he turned evil.
    • Especially Faith. And don't forget: Spike's leather coat is one he took off the corpse of a Slayer he killed. So maybe it is standard issue clothing.
    • Spike and Faith prefer black leather jackets, but change to brown leather on occasions when they're trying to get in Buffy's good books.
    • At one point Buffy in red leather pants and a black leather jacket fights Faith who also has a leather jacket on.
    • Leather pants in the Buffyverse are colour-coded. We have the: Black Leather Pants of Evil (worn by Angelus, Faith, Vampire Willow, and Xander). Red Leather Pants of Righteousness (worn by Buffy). Green Leather Pants of Jealousy (worn by Willow). Pink Leather Pants of Enthrallment (worn by Buffy).
    • Of course Glory is not above this, with the leather dress she's sporting in Family.
    • This was lampshaded rather hysterically by Arizona filker Nancy Freeman, in the song called (what else?) "Leather Pants of Evil". They're from an evil cow.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • Humanoid demons would usually be seen in black leather clothes. In "It's A Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World: Part 1", Phoebe and Paige go to a Mirror Universe where the Charmed Ones are evil, that universe's Darryl assumes they've been going undercover in the Underworld, which is good in this reality, due to the "bright happy colours" they're wearing.
    • The episode "Ms Hellfire" sees a hitwoman trying to assassinate the sisters, and Prue then impersonates her to find out who sent her. She's naturally wearing a midriff-baring leather top and tight pants to go with it. Prue helps herself to two outfits from her closet - one being a Little Black Dress that also appears to be leather, and a similar set of leather pants and basically a black bra. In the latter, she gets a slow-motion Supermodel Strut in as Bane Jessup begins Eating the Eye Candy.
    • The episode "Coyote Piper" has Piper being possessed by an evil being, who then pulls an Evil Costume Switch to tight leather pants and does a sexy table dance on the bar at P3.
  • Sarah dons a black leather catsuit in several episodes of Chuck. Fanboys were very happy.
  • Britta Perry on Community has an affinity for (and a seemingly endless supply of) leather jackets.
  • Max from Dark Angel even had leather PANTS. Hell, the whole X5 Escapees group was hell-bent on wearing leather jackets.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Ninth Doctor's signature black leather jacket. It's a noticeably stripped-down, no-frills look compared to his predecessors, which says a lot about him from the get-go. Specifically, the jacket is a Kriegsmarine Jacket, but oddly enough, absolutely no-one bats an eyelid at him wearing the jacket of a U-Boat Captain in the middle of the London Blitz (aside from Jack Harkness, who lampshades his bad choice of wardrobe).
    • Several of the new series companions (Rose, Martha, Amy, Clara, and Yaz) wear leather jackets, though only Martha does so regularly.
    • Parodied in "Smith and Jones", in which a "Slab" slave is supposedly leather all the way through. The Doctor's reaction: "Someone's got one hell of a fetish."
    • The War Doctor also wore one similar to Nine's, except far more faded and beaten-up.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey. On seeing Helen's girlfriend — a lesbian motorcycle courier — Dave provides the above page quote, while Henry is ecstatic when she straddles her motorbike.
  • Evil: Kristen's mother Sheryl Luria regularly wears a leather jacket and leather pants, along with animal print tops. All of which may indicate a wild past.
  • Farscape. Just... Farscape. John and Aeryn's Peacekeeper uniforms (with more than a touch of the Reich), Jool's ab-baring corset, Scorpy's gimp suit...
    • Was described as a "long, hot slog in leather" and Claudia Black has been known to say that all she needed to perk her up when she was tired or burnt out was for Ben Browder to walk in wearing his leathers.
    • There is a reason Warren Ellis described Farscape as "one American's descent into Australia's S&M scene" (aside from him being, y'know, Warren Ellis).
    • In the DVD commentary for the third season two-parter "Into the Lion's Den", Ben Browder quipped that the costuming department bought up every scrap of black and red leather in Australia in order to make all the costumes for the Peacekeeper officers aboard Scorpius's Command Carrier.
  • Flight of the Conchords: Bret and Jermaine use the budget for their tour to buy matching black leather suits for themselves and Murray, but mixed with accidentally knocking over an amp, they suddenly gain a reputation as troublemakers and lose gigs. Then the suits get wet in the rain and shrink.
  • Ross on Friends tries to look cool for a date by putting on tight leather pants. Then he goes to the bathroom and finds that he can't put them back on.
  • Lord Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones is so fond of black leather jackets that one might confuse him for a Soviet commissar. Similarly, Jaime wears a grey badass leather long coat.
  • This seems to be the standard attire along with the Badass Longcoat for Makai Knights in GARO.
  • Bad Janet on The Good Place, the Bad Place's Evil Counterpart to the Good Place's celestial assistant Janet (normally clad in vests, skirts, and floral blouses in bright colors), wears a black leather jacket and pants to go with her unhelpful, abrasive attitude.
  • Fonzie from Happy Days is almost never seen without his trademark leather jacket. It's so iconic, it now hangs in the Smithsonian. When the show was entering production, executives were worried about having a character wearing leathers, believing the audience would automatically assume he was the villain - it was initially a requirement that he frequently be shown near his motorbike, in order to explain the wardrobe choice.
  • Future Claire in season 3 of Heroes has quite the black leather ensemble.
  • When Ryu Terui first showed up in Kamen Rider Double, he always wore a leather pants/jacket outfit in either red or black. After defeating Weather, he switched to some kind of lighter material with leather patches on the shoulders and joints in red or blue.
  • The Mord-Sith in Legend of the Seeker (and the Sword of Truth novels) are a blatant dominatrix archetype. With Cara a main character in season two, every episode is chock full of skin-tight red leather goodness (and somehow even more cleavage than Kahlan).
  • Life on Mars: Sam Tyler wears a leather jacket, which makes a cameo in a late episode of Ashes to Ashes.
  • Lucifer (2016): The demon Maze's wardrobe is almost exclusively black leather paired with the occasional corset and chains. She even wears a black leather dress for her wedding.
  • Lampshaded on Married... with Children when Kelly gets dressed for her cousin's wedding.
    Kelly: Nothing says "Bridesmaids are easy" like short black leather.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Emma usually wears a red leather jacket.
    • Killian's entire outfit. When he gets a wardrobe change, he still has a leather jacket.
    • Rumplestiltskin's leather pants have their own fanbase.
  • Sarah from Orphan Black wears leather jackets, pants, and boots as part of her punk aesthetic.
  • Not by choice, but Neve Campbell's character Julia in Party of Five is forced, along with the rest of the female wait staff, by her employer to wear a leather teddy while serving at a bar to attract customers.
  • Paper Girls: Mac, a tough and courageous tomboy, loves to wear a leather jacket.
  • Played for laughs in Penn & Teller: Bullshit!; when discussing animal rights group PETA, the titular hosts are adorned in all manners of leather clothing on their set.
  • Stella, Project Runway season five contestant, sure loved her "leatha".
  • Alex Krycek of The X-Files is rarely seen without a black leather jacket. It's rarely the same one from episode to episode, though, since they tend to get ruined when someone (usually Mulder or Skinner) beats him up.


  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • New England-based promotion WAW Wrestling has a few examples who could count but the most stunning one would be 'Grimm', a violent gimp covered head to toe in leather fetish gear.
  • For much of his career, Adrian Adonis would wear a leather jacket and cap to the ring.
  • Sable would often be seen in leather catsuits, particularly around the time she did a Face–Heel Turn to become an arrogant primadonna.
  • Kevin Nash regularly wore leather pants in the ring, starting with his time as Shawn Michaels' bodyguard, Diesel.
  • Mona started wearing leather pants and corset tops near the end of her time in WCW instead of her usual Mini Dress Of Power.
  • Mandy Rose is rather fond of leather inside and outside the ring.

  • A downplayed example is featured with Canadian figure skater Nicolas Nadeau's long program costume from the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons. Only his right sleeve, right shoulder and two rectangular strips on his sides are made of black leather because it would be uncomfortable for him to compete in an all-leather outfit, but the material is included because he performs to a Depeche Mode medley, and the leather evokes the band's look during The '80s.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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 (cuir bouilli) was hardened by being boiled into rigid pieces and doesn't look or behave anything like leather clothing.
    • Par for the course in the Dark Sun setting.
  • 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.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, leather jackets made from tanned Squig skin are the go-to armour choice for most lower-class Ork Boyz, because it looks tough and it does offer a bit of protection from primitive weapons like spears and arrows. It doesn't do much against most of the massively overpowered firearms of the setting, though, so if they get shot at, they drop like flies.


    Video Games 
  • Tequila Yuen sports a brown one and pulls it off. Maybe it's because he is Chow Yun Fat...
  • Rachel from Ninja Gaiden is a Fiend Hunter who dresses in a revealing leotard of black leather.
  • All of Organization XIII in the Kingdom Hearts series wear long, black leather trenchcoats. Perhaps this has something to do with their Draco in Leather Pants status among the fandom.
    • Also, Riku and Vanitas play this trope... sideways with full bodysuits made of what looks to be muscle tissue. Whether muscle counts as leather is left as an exercise for the reader.
  • Disgaea:
  • Haken Browning from Super Robot Taisen OG: Endless Frontier. His outfit is a black leather trench coat. He is ridiculed for complaining of overheating during the group's journey through East Elftale.
  • Fallout, after Mad Max above. Complete with one arm missing.
    • Fallout 3 has Leather Armor, along with Motorcycle Helmets, both of which have gender-specific variants.
    • Fallout 4 has the cyborg assassin Kellogg, renowned and feared throughout the Commonwealth and some parts of New California and the Mojave for his brutal methods. Unusually, he wears a dark brown coat instead of black. Although, given how old Kellogg is, the coat could have been black when he started his career all those years ago.
  • Full Throttle
  • Angel Devoid, with a really badass-sounding walkloop to boot.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid. The man is a villain, true, but given that his personal outfit is a few yards of leather away from being a gimp suit does help solidify his place as one of the most badass bosses in all the games. An interesting example in that, going by his death scene, he abhors sexuality.
    • In Metal Gear Solid V, Big Boss gets a sleek motorcycle jacket with the Diamond Dogs logo on the chest. You can craft it and wear on missions as Venom Snake.
  • A lot of the characters in Brütal Legend, but the Fire Barons, Zaulia, and Tainted Coil are standouts. The Tainted Coil is noted in the history found during gameplay to have dug up the Titans' old cars and motorcycles just to get the leather!
    • This trope especially applies to Lita Halford, who wears a sexy outfit that consists of a midriff-baring, cleavage-enhancing leather halter top and skin-tight leather pants.
    • Special mention to the Baron leader who is modeled after (and voiced by) Rob Halford, the man considered as having brought the leather fashion into Heavy Metal culture.
  • Ezio Auditore of Assassin's Creed II back in his younger years wore leather pants that left only a bit to the imagination. It is actually Lampshaded by one of the bystander dialogues.
  • K' and Kula Diamond from The King of Fighters.
    Flustered Lady: Such tight leather pants.
  • Albert Wesker of the Resident Evil used to wear just normal-looking combat gear in the first game and Code Veronica. However, he shows up in 5 wearing head-to-toe black leather complete with a leather Badass Longcoat, just in case the viewer still wasn't completely sure about his alignment.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII fame, in black. His Gackt-Expy rival Genesis from Crisis Core shops at the same place, but goes for red.
      • Vincent Valentine wears some kind of leather suit, which is partially covered by the big red cape.
    • Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII has his famous black leather and lion fur jacket and matching pants. On the opposite side, The Rival Seifer wears a white leather trenchcoat.
  • Soulcalibur's Voldo seems to have attended the Psycho mantis School of Fashion. "Siegmare" wears leather pants as well, but he's far easier on the eyes, even with a freak arm.
  • The Dark Queen from Battletoads, to the max.
  • Aside from her Badass Cape, Karst's outfit in Golden Sun: The Lost Age is mostly black and red leather. Like the above Etna, she's not exactly wearing a lot of it.
  • Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes is well known for his red leather jacket. He also has an entire closet filled with all different kinds of other leather jackets as well.
  • An option in Dwarf Fortress, but not very effective compared to proper metal or even bone armor. One use for it is being one of the easiest ways to provide cheap armor for civilians or more expendable militia-dwarves. Given armor doesn't wear out like clothing does, and the fact that dwarves get unhappy about running around naked, leather armor can mitigate the need to constantly replace tattered clothes.
  • Star Trek Online: As befitting a Proud Warrior Race, the Klingon wardrobe has a lot of leather in it, including bi-colored Painted-On Pants and armored corsets for women. The pants are also available Fedside, and most of the free Starfleet uniform jackets have what seems like a leather texture (though it could also be some form of armor weave).
  • While not entirely obvious in-game, Ganondorf's armor in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is stated to be made of leather in concept art seen in Hyrule Historia.
  • The Wasp in Avengers Academy wears a leather motorcycle jacket for her first two outfits, and later upgrades to a full-body Spy Catsuit.
  • Persona:
  • Because it's set on a world with rich animal life but sparse civilization, leather is extremely important in Rimworld, as a source of clothing and for other constructions like armchairs and animal beds. The hides of the game's most powerful animals (rhinos, elephants, megasloths and thrumbos) can be turned into dusters that are tougher than a flak jacket and can be preferable even to power armour.
  • In Splatoon, standard wear for the Octarians' elite Octoling troops includes a tight black leather ensemble that exposes their midriff. The Octoling protagonist in Splatoon 2's Darker and Edgier Octo Expansion DLC goes even further by ditching the extra chest armor worn by standard Octolings.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: For a Player Character who's of the Nosferatu vampire variety, the various clothing and body armor sets look like more and more elaborate leather ensembles with Too Many Belts, culminating in a full-body gimp suit.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, the default outfit for Undead features black leather jackets with a fur trim and leather pants, in keeping with their cool, badass image. Many of their later event outfits also feature a lot of leather.
  • Like a Dragon: Goro Majima's standard outfit throughout the series consists of black, steel-toed leather shoes, black leather pants, black leather gloves and a snakeskin jacket (and no shirt underneath).
  • Christie from Dead or Alive has an outfit that consists of a black leather bustier, long gloves, fishnets and thigh-high boots.
  • Clementine gets a red motorcycle jacket as a farewell gift at the end of The Walking Dead: Season Three. It's also featured on the promotional materials for and flashback sequences in The Walking Dead: Season Four. In the game proper, however, she ditched it for a jean jacket instead.
  • Due to the rockerboy/rockergirl subculture being an important part of the Cyberpunk 2077s setting, plenty of people tied to the movement feature some leather accents in their outfits.
    • Johnny Silverhand wears leather pants.
    • Kerry Eurodyne wears a leather vest with studs, a spiked band on his arm and mid-calf leather boots.
    • In the sidequest "A Like Supreme", Nancy will wear an oversized leather jacket.
    • The fixer Dino used to be a rockerboy and still dresses like one, wearing a flashy leather vest with many studs.
    • V can also wear many leather clothes in a similar style that can be bought or found in the world.
  • Witchfire: The player character, called the Preyer, is dressed head to toe in brown leather, with the occasional metal accents, such as adornments to his coat, belt buckles and his signature skull mask. As can be seen here, he sports leather boots, pants, a duster, gloves and even a capotain (the stereotypical witch hunter hat), giving him the Coat, Hat, Mask setup.

    Visual Novels 
  • Liberal use of leather seems to be the standard form of fashion in Tokyo Necro with just about everyone incorporating it in some way into their outfits, if not draped head to toe in it. One of the only exceptions is Iria which alongside many other traits serve to highlight just how out of place she is in the setting.


    Web Videos 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • 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."
    • Those pants, which allegedly were the same pair for a while, are now proudly displayed at the Hollywood Hard Rock Cafe. Thankfully, in a glass case.
  • Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance used to wear leather jackets until they fell apart. See above for 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 any indication, this may be more than just a fashion choice.) However, in recent years, she has switched to fake leather, as a result of going vegan.
  • 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 that 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.
  • Early aircraft pilots wore fur-lined leather jackets for warmth, and this was continued with practically every air force through World War II issuing leather jackets.
    • The US Army Air Force began issuing the famous A-2 flight jacket in 1927 and they quickly became a status symbol among American military aviators to the point where non-aviators (including infantry) would do anything they could to get one, all the way up to buying replicas made by local European cottage industries. They were discontinued from issue in 1943 in favor of cloth jackets but issued replacements and unofficial wear kept them going in the US Air Force into the 1950s. The Navy never stopped issuing their leather G-1 jacket except for a brief period, however, and the release of Top Gun is credited with the Air Force reissuing new A-2 jackets starting in 1988.
  • 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 safety-driven ones may still wear a leather jacket or vest with leather boots simply because it looks awesome.
  • Slash has worn leather pants for decades. In his book he explains they serve a practical purpose: When you piss yourself in leather pants they don't get soaked and you don't get a chill. He also had his original felt top hat wrapped in black leather to keep it from falling apart.
  • The Iconic Outfit for Greaser Delinquents typically involves a black biker jacket, usually Perfecto-style.


Video Example(s):


Leather Hailey

Hailey adopts a new attitude after picking up a cool leather jacket.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / HellBentForLeather

Media sources: