Look in any fashion magazine or shop right now and you’ll see more animal print than a zoo. From leopard print dresses to snake print tops, fabric has officially gone wild. The influx of animal print shows no sign of letting up in autumn either.
Much like the bright colour palettes of summer, leopard print can seem a little intimidating to those of us who generally prefer more subtle dressing. Animal print may seem like a choice only for the bold (or Kat Slater). However, you can style it to complement rather than overwhelm (unless you like an outfit that demands attention, and there’s nothing wrong with that).
ANIMAL PRINTS: ENTRY LEVEL
For the fashion faint of heart, start at the most basic level of animal print by adding it in as an accessory. Belts, scarves, handbags and hats can be used as introductory focal points for prints. These are also items that can easily be removed should you have a change of heart – great for the indecisive. Leopard print shoes are also a great way to add some excitement to an outfit, particularly if the rest of your ensemble is of muted tones.
A good example outfit would be a black dress (the more simple in style the better), barely there heels and a leopard print clutch bag.
If you’re ready to embrace animal print, a good way to start is to buy separates. Buy individual animal print pieces to pair with other wardrobe staples. For example, a leopard print skirt paired with a slogan t-shirt, or a bold shirt tucked into jeans. By combining a bold print with a more toned down item, you can control exactly how striking your outfit is. For less focus on the animal print aspect of your outfit, layer a jacket over the top, or add thick black tights when wearing a skirt. The trick is to use other pieces of clothes to dial an outfit up and down.
Pair a smart animal print shirt with tailored cigarette trousers for a fun but sophisticated workwear look. Add pointed toe loafers for comfort, or for days that require a more formal look, wear court shoes.
PRINTS FOR THE BOLD
For the full animal print effect, a dress is the best way to go. Leopard print dresses teamed with ankle boots and a leather jacket not only look great but can also be layered up and down to see you right the way through the year. Animal print dresses also make a great statement piece with which you can turn heads on a night out. Change your boots for heels and you’ve got yourself the perfect girls night out look. Once you’re in a bar or nightclub there is no limit on how bold you can go – you can even combine a bright colour with an animal print. Simple accessories such as hoop earrings and barely there heels keep the attention on the dress, but give your overall outfit a sophisticated edge.
The best thing about animal print as a trend is that it’s fun! It’s a print that encourages self-expression and experimentation – maybe you want it to be the smallest aspect of your outfit, maybe you want to wear it head to toe. You can wear leopard print to work (a nice shirt paired with smart trousers) or to a festival (a full zebra print catsuit). Experiment until you find what works for you, there’s really no wrong way to wear animal print!