How To Wear Suede & Not Look Like A Cowboy

This ain't the wild west no more. Suede is back in a bold new way.


That Seventies suede has returned and it’s more rocked-out than ever. While the brown, textural suede does hark back to the tasselled, Wild West (and a certain chaps-toting Village People member), investing in something suede – come summer or winter – is an essential style move for men seeking an edgier look right now.

Here’s what you need to know about wearing suede before you go full cowboy.

How To Wear Suede

Light and dark browns, black and beige are big colour palettes for suede. As are dyed suede varieties, making bold statements in burgundy and blue.

Casual jackets (bombers and bikers) are big fans of suede in the new season, while boots look to the plush finish for more luxe versions of their former selves. Simpler still, suede acts as a contrast trim on leather goods.

Essentially, the textural capabilities of suede are available in large and smaller doses. Adding visual depth to flat, basic cotton shirts in summer and colourless, neutral woollen knits in winter.

So it’s up to you just how hard you’re gonna party with suede in the new season. Rock on.

Suede Bomber Jackets

An update on the retro jacket, a suede bomber in camel is a menswear staple – for both off-duty looks and work wear. Textural and neutral, the jacket – in a streamline fit – is a stylish alternative to a suit jacket or blazer over a well-executed shirt and tie combination for the office.

The key for work is to opt for luxury, something handcrafted and dyed in Italy per favore, giving back extreme softness. And then look close at design quality: ribbed cuffs giving the jacket a closer fit and metal button detailing, ensuring you avoid stuffy browns to avoid looking like an English professor.

Suede Biker Jackets

Although biker jackets are synonymous with leather, a rich black biker in suede will set style-fixed hearts racing this season. As does a sea-swell blue suede model in more motocross style, paired with a pastel, neutral roll neck and wider leg bottoms.

When switching to coloured suede, keep the rest original and cool: a Saint Laurent-sharp silhouette complete with gleaming silver hardware – zips, press studs and clasps, but nothing too gothic punk (pins, badges etc). Paired with light neutral – a grey t-shirt or sweater and white jeans over trainers – you’ve got a chic, street look for the weekend ahead.

Suede Chelsea Boots

Chelsea boots in leather are great for classic looks – suits, smart trousers and chinos. But when it comes to creating a rock edge – enter jeans in faded black and ripped a little at the knee – suede is the ultimate luxe touch to offset the chaos.

Channelling some of that I-do-what-I-please charm, look to camel or tan suede boots for a stylish day-to-night look. Black waxed coated denim and snug fit Breton shirt is a simple summer look or a basic t-shirt and duster coat is nice for Autumn’s cool, a silk scarf worn open around the neck draping a softness against the suede.

Be sure to waterproof the suede with a treatment before wearing your boots. And purchase a solid brush and cleaner – all good things require investing some time in maintenance.

Suede Shirt Jackets

A what? You heard us correctly – a shacket. Or shirt jacket, if you’re a D’Marge newcomer. Embracing the seventies trend this season, a button-front suede jacket – that looks like a shirt – is the perfect smart casual layering piece.

Rich in and light fabrication, the Americana-inspired shacket is masculine and perfect for summer. Opt for one with a more structured design (so it’s not so cowboy): darted front panels and dual front pockets meshed with western contrast stitching, giving some eye-catching detail as an over shirt. Pair with a black t-shirt, skinnys and sneakers or boots.

Suede Pouch & Clutches

Folio, man clutch, pouch – adding some suede to leather goods is a more subtle route to take. A combination of suede and leather is a nice touch, looking for a business size tan document holder or something with a sand coloured trunk with black calfskin trim.

Keeping the rest of your outfit monochrome – work suit and white shirt or crew neck sweater and chinos – let the suede accessory feature and adds a point of functional interest for an item that simply carries all your essential life things: keys, wallet, phone.

Suede Belts

Similarly subtle to the pouch, a suede belt is a blink-and-you’ll-miss outfit additive that only true style masters will see and appreciate.

The brown hue is the perfect companion to denim, looping a wider suede belt through your favourite jeans for a timeless look. The ruggedness of denim matches the texture of suede, making them a heritage match made in heaven.

Both soften with age and wear, making them an easy buffalo plaid and hiking boot outfit accompaniment. Or still, something smarter: paired with a neutral top, brogue tan boots and a long pea coat for winter, switching for navy chinos and a Chambray shirt in summer – the brown belt separating the blue, matched by a deconstructed linen blazer in camel. You’ll be looking lumbersexual in no time.

Suede Topcoats

The boldest suede statement of them all, topcoats in suede sing a rock tune for winter layers. A burned camel hue (super natural looking) is the perfect colour for a trench coat for work. Layered it over a very business navy suit with rich maroon trimmings: brown buttons, marsala tie and a reddish windowpane check over the blazer. Just add dark brown shoes.

For a giggin’ weekend, opt for an olive green dyed suede peacoat with look-at-me shearling, the black version of the typically creamy white fluff a far better option for collar and cuff trim. Tan suede Chelseas and black cut-off skinnys complete the sophisticated lead singer vibes.