Mix things up with multi-media leather pieces

Bebe's mixed-media blazer. (Supplied)

Bebe's mixed-media blazer. (Supplied)

Natalia Manzocco, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:23 PM ET

Ready to mix it up this spring? Reach for pieces that juxtapose leather, snakeskin and pony hair textures with classic cuts and fabrics. "Multi-media leather was a huge trend for fall 2012, and we’ll be seeing more of this into 2013," says Vancouver-based style expert Nadia Albano.

Hints of leather can add a rock-and-roll flavour to your look, as well as injecting some new life into everyone's favourite basic hue: "Black is back, and this shade is loved by all, so keep your eye out for black leather combined with brown, tan and army green," she says.

For those unwilling to splurge on new pieces, it's an easy look to try through layering. "For example, using what you have in your closet, start with a faux leather jacket and layer a sleeveless denim or faux fur vest."

Albano, a top contender on the show The Ultimate W Expert Challenge, advises that this trend is the perfect opportunity to keep in mind her second "style sacrament,” the "five Cs.”

Are you casual, chic, classic, charming, or couture?

"We all gravitate toward a certain style category; some of us fall into more than one," she says. Materials like leather and snakeskin are traditionally seen as tougher and edgier, but if worked into your style the right way, it won't feel like a costume.

Really, leather !?

Think leather may not lend itself to your beauty routine? Think again -- a touch of the leather look will bring edge and moodiness to your makeup. Albano suggests mimicking leather's texture with a cream shadow: Try NARS Andy Warhol Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Empire for a creamy, black smoky eye, or pick up Estee Lauder's Pure Color Stay On Shadow Paints in your choice of jewel-toned hue.

Don't forget about those nails

With nail art still strong for spring, you can paint this trend right on -- in fact, a leather-look polish worn by TV host Alexa Chung in December sold out in British stores just about immediately. Try layering a matte topcoat like Essie's Matte About You, which will instantly take the gloss off any shade of polish, over black or oxblood-hued nails.

If snakeskin's your bag, Essie's adapted magnetic polish technology for its new Repstyle collection. Slick on a couple of coats and hold the included magnet over your nails, and a diamond-like snakeskin pattern will form. You won't want to shed this snakeskin!)


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