What’s so strange about that? Well, until quite recently, I wouldn’t have been seen dead in it! I think my aversion to animal prints can be traced back to Bet Lynch in Coronation Street who was often seen wearing head-to-toe leopard print, bright blue eye shadow and lots of bling. Back then, leopard print was definitely short-hand for tasteless, tarty and tacky!
How times have changed. Far from being seen as tarty, nowadays leopard print has gone main stream with everyone from fashionistas to royalty and our own Prime Minister wearing it. There’s been a definite shift in my perception of animal prints and the type of person who wears them. Even so, I think a degree of caution is required if you’re aiming for understated elegance rather than to unleash your inner Bet Lynch! As with so many things, it’s how you wear it.
Many fashion editors regard leopard print as a neutral that can be paired with lots of different colours and prints. This look will certainly appeal to you if you have a creative or dramatic style personality and it can look particularly fresh and funky on younger women.
My fellow stylist, Maria Kohler, is a case in point and looks fabulous in mixed prints and colours but as a classic/city chic, I prefer a more pared back look so my foray into leopard print has been confined to a silk scarf, a skinny belt and, my latest acquisition, a leopard print coat – none of which I wear together at the same time.
If you are new to wearing leopard print or favour an understated look, I would suggest the following:
- Keep it simple and buy quality. Tailoring works well with an animal print. Avoid garments that are too fussy, flimsy or overly feminine.
- Don’t flash too much flesh! Short skirts and or low cut/crop tops will just look tacky.
- Choose natural fabrics . Shiny synthetics will cheapen the look of your print.
- Keep to neutral colours such as browns, blacks and taupes for a sophisticated look. (If you love neon brights and other coloured prints, the chances are you’re creative or dramatic style personality and you will have already embraced animal prints long ago!).
- Keep the rest of your outfit fairly plain – let the print to do the talking.
- Consider the size and placement of the print. If you’re larger on top, wear the print on your bottom half and keep your top half plain, and vice versa.
If you’re still nervous about animal print, start by wearing it as an accessory. A leopard print scarf, belt, gloves or bag can add interest and sophistication to an otherwise plain outfit whilst at the same time subtly indulging your inner vamp. Go on, take a walk on the wild side!