I’ve always had love for a bit of leopard print and now that we are moving headlong into a new season there’s more animal print out there than ever before. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there’s a fair bit around and that fact alone is enough to indulge ourselves in some top animal print picks. It’s easy to get swayed with a little bit of leopard and then not know what to do with it though. I think my main rule would be ‘less is more’. I know it’s now supposed to be a neutral, but I like to think of it more like an accent. Adding a touch of leopard to any outfit is going to lift it from dull to interesting.
Let’s stick with six ways you can incorporate leopard into your life without going too OTT with the whole thing. We’ll take a look at dresses, bags, accessories, skirts, tops and coats. Look at Jenna Lyons (above) – she really knows how to do animal print in the best way. So does Kate Moss (below). It’s a little bit rock and roll without going hell for leather. Not sure I’d suggest leather and leopard together TOO much: you don’t want to come off as ‘Coronation-Street-barmaid-of-a-certain-age’. Liz McDonald or Bet Lynch, take your pick. That said, I LOVED Bet. One-of-a-kind TV hero of the highest order.
We should note at this point that leopard is also the perfect transition print. It can take you from high summer into autumn/winter so easily. It’s the mix of browns and blacks that do it for me. Looks great with a tan (that I can never get these days. Despite a summer that feels like it’s lasted a year, I’m still stuck with a ‘fish-stick-tan’ pink on the front and pasty-white on the back. Fake tan has definitely been my friend over the past three months) and it also looks great with heavy knits, boots and tights. I reckon all these outfits will work for now and for heading deep into autumn, so let’s have a look…
LEOPARD PRINT COAT
I have a faux fur leopard print coat that I bought from Topshop (RIP – don’t get me started on that again. ASOS, you killed that brand and I don’t think I will ever forgive you for that) in 2008. I have worn it every winter since. The tales that coat could tell… Lily Allen once tried to steal it at the 2010 Brit Awards. Literally had to chase her out of the building to get it back. It’s still intact, still looks good and I’m excited to have many more happy years together. Of course the weather’s still too warm for faux fur, so this oversized beauty from Ganni is more appropriate for autumn. It’s definitely on my wish list this season. Pair your statement coat with jeans to elevate an otherwise very simple outfit. Check out eBay for some pre-loved bargains; there’s a lot on the site right now.
LEOPARD PRINT SKIRT
I always think I should try more skirts. I am very wedded to dresses or jeans but maybe I’ll break out a skirt this season. I love the look of a leopard skirt worn with a simple Breton top and a trench coat. It’s kind of ‘French girl chic’, a look I always feel I should aim for more but I all too often get sidetracked by prints, patchworks, stupid trainers and shoes that evoke quite a vitriolic response from some parts of the community. And no, I won’t stop wearing said offenders. This look would also work very well in the winter with an oversized black roll neck and a pair of chunky boots when it gets colder.
LEOPARD PRINT BAG
If you shy away from anything too bold, why not just inject a little ‘ta-da!’ with a cheeky little leopard print bag. The simplest black T‑shirt and jeans will be infinitely more interesting if you add an eye-catching bag. I know I’ve added an extra animal shirt here, that’s just for the bolder readers. Another great place to look for discounted designer animal prints is The Outnet. They have a huge range of past season Ganni right now that’s ripe for the picking, and at high street prices.
LEOPARD PRINT TOP
I feel like this outfit is one that Nina from The Split would wear. She’d probably add spiky heels and a pained expression but I’m going for the safety of flats for my own comfort. I still miss those Defoe girls. I have tried watching ‘Marriage’ starring (my favourite) Nicola Walker but I couldn’t get much past the argument over the ‘jacket potater’ before I fell asleep. Might try again. Might give up and just head straight over to ‘Selling the OC’. Who am I kidding? You know I’ve already watched all eight episodes of that in one sitting. There’s nothing I like more than mindless, faux-reality TV to take my mind off the perennial doom and gloom we are faced with on a daily basis. Plus those OC ladies would DEFINITELY be rocking the leopard print.
LEOPARD PRINT DRESS
I think everyone deserves a good leopard print dress in their wardrobe. It’s almost as classic as the LBD. I would be so bold as to say it’s MORE of a classic. I don’t even own an LBD but I do have four leopard dresses I could pull out if I was invited to a party at the last minute. Although out of principle I’m not sure I’d go to a party at short notice. A) I’d probably already be in bed and B) If you get a last-minute invite it means you were probably not first, second or even third choice of the inviter or else you’d have known about it for weeks.
LEOPARD PRINT SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Let’s call these your clever accent pieces. Something to add to your capsule wardrobe basics. I will do an autumn capsule post soon, probably in two weeks. Still waiting for all the new season stock to come in before I make my final decisions on specifics, but I can tell you already that a good pair of black trousers and a nice blouse or shirt (denim or otherwise) will definitely be in there.
Are you mad about leopard? Hate it? Or distinctly on the fence? If you are swayed by this post, how would you add it to your wardrobe?