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Monday, October 4, 2010

In the Land of Leopards

I have a friend who occasionally asks me for fashion advice via text messages when she's out shopping. One evening she sent me a photo of some leopard print ankle boots, and inquired, "is leopard in style?" I responded without hesitation, "Leopard prints are classic. They never go out of style. Snag those." A week later, my friend took her new leopard shoes out for a night on the town, where they were a hit.

Leopard prints are especially strong this season. They were shown on the runways at Blumarine, Mulberry, Gucci, Moschino, and Dries Van Noten, amongst others. While wearing animal prints can be tricky, I've learned a few things based upon careful observation, years of shopping, and after making plenty of mistakes of my own.

Here are my dos and don'ts for wearing leopard prints:

Do: opt for luxe textures and fabrics, as they'll look classy and timeless.
Don't: wear more than one or two animal prints at a time, unless you're going for an eclectic, over-the-top Dries-inspired look.
Do: combine classic, understated accessories with your animal print pieces for an easy, sophisticated vibe. Think quilted handbags, dark bootcut denim, or cashmere cardigans.

Don't: wear animal prints in bold, garish colors that don't appear in nature unless you're a teen or look like one. (Leave the orange zebra and fuchsia cheetah prints to the younger girls.)
Do: choose an accessory such as an animal print pump or scarf if you're hesitant to wear the print on a top, dress, or bottoms.
Don't: go overboard on bold hair or makeup. Keep the focus on the print and on your natural beauty.
Do: consider scale when choosing your print. The bigger/taller you are, the bigger the print you can wear.

leopard print jacket

leopard print leggings

leopard print dress

belted leopard dress

belted one shoulder leopard dress