Animal print never goes out of fashion. In fact, every season and every year, people parrot, “Animal print is on trend!” But it’s the same print. If there’s anything new, it’s purely a matter of interpretation.
The question isn’t about “should you” or “should you not” own an animal print. Every fashionista must own at least a piece of this print be it a dress, a top, a pair of shoes, a scarf or a bag. The question therefore is – how do you make it right?
Don’t match animal print if it’s large
Matching colors and prints is very common in styling. However, not only does going too matchy creates a trying hard kind’a obsolete way of styling, it’s considered a big NAY when it comes to animal prints.
Choose only one large part of your outfit that’s wild. For instance, if your top is a leopard/tiger/zebra print, let the tights/skirt/pants be non-animal. If it’s your dress that has the print, then let your shoes be plain black or nude.
A touch of the same print on your footwear only works when the black, beige or white shade is dominant.
Tone your leopard print down
If your outfit is too wild, tone it down. If you wear an animal print mini dress, you can tone it down by wearing a single-colored-cardigan over your dress in color that blends well with your wild print.
If you wear leopard print tights for example, you can tone down the print by wearing them with knee-length boots in color palette that blends but suppresses the strongest shade of your animal print.
You can also decide for the color of your boots by taking a non-dominant shade from your other accessories. Again, in shades that complement your animal print.
Take a look at Whitney Port’s outfit. If she just toned it down with this Willow casual leather knee boots, she could have saved her fashionista image and avoided some OMG writers from asking, “Is it just us or is it these skinny leopard-print pants?”
Another way of toning down a large wild is by carrying/wearing accessories that steals attention such as fur purse or fancy scarf. But then, their color should always be complementary.
Only match animal print if it’s accessory
If you feel the urge to go matchy, you can do so on your accessories provided they don’t clash. For example, if you wear leopard printed boots, you can take a tiny purse in leopard print.
If your tiger bag is with considerable size, you can take a pair of tiger print stilettos. But hopefully, your long scarf is no longer a leopard/tiger and your head gear does not scream jungle. The key here is getting minimal.
Animal print? Stay single
I don’t mean that you girls should stop searching for the man of your life [yes, he is being searched for not unless you already found him] and just stay single.
But what I do mean is that you would never go wrong if you take only a single item of animal print, either for your top, bag, shoes or scarf, while the rest of your outfit is entirely neutrals.
I’m not certain though, if this would also work if everything in your outfit is brown – if that won’t make you look like a walking dead trunk? But give me a benefit of the doubt. You can actually go for a pink leopard bag for an all brown outfit. Let me know how it goes.
Try D&G style
If you want to be effectively daring, you can try Dolce and Gabbana style. A fitting sleeveless top with low cleavage tucked in a black and white polka dot midi skirt teamed with black booties, is a fabulous look to steal.
A pair of fitting long sleeves top and below the knee pencil cut is otherwise an alternative.
Notice that the top and skirt are matched [right photo] but the prints are of big patterns with light brown as the main shade. Complete the look with a pair of plain black stilettos.
Animal print and color clash
A new way to wear animal print is to team it with bright colors. Now, not everybody has the heart to apply this idea but it´s something worth a try. The key here is to go for only one single vibrant color.
One color that is best to clash against the print, and is certain to stand out, is green. There are many shades. My favorite is emerald-green, but deep green, getaway green or pebbled green are also good. Create a match. Let your shoes be green too.
But shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and pastels work well with leopard print too. Really, you just have to find your color. Think leopard skater mini dress and pink ballet flats. Delicious!
I love this style idea because colors are actually used to steal some attention from the print, a great way to tone it down.
Animal print teamed with another print
To give the two prints a good contrast, she layered between the two prints a single colored pattern (in the same shade as of the animal print). Also, she opted for light colors for her tights and boots to avoid looking too dark and heavy.
So tell me Creative fashionistas, what are your style secrets when it comes to animal print? Do you love to integrate animal prints to your outfits?
Update: Readers Q&A on How to Wear Animal Print
Rubi: I’m wearing a dress, it has a black top, and leopard bottom. With a dark Chinese pattern sweater that’s fitted with a hoodie and zipper the back has white letters that say global tattoo. I’m thinking of wearing peep toe heels with a bow that are lime green, orange, and yellow…
Glee: I think dark Chinese pattern would clash heavily with the leopard print even if both are dark. The Chinese pattern would standout nicely if worn with black or a solid bright color, and this applies to the leopard print too.
Your rainbow shoe isn´t an issue since it would complement both the prints nicely, but I suggest you question your goal on teaming these two standout prints. Remember, it´s easy to look cheap in a wild print if overdone.
Vidhya: Hi glee! I recently bought a brown slightly shimmery brown animal print knee length stretch skirt. I don’t want to wear black or brown top. I have a royal blue shirt with gold small accents. Will it look good with gold flats? Thanks.
Glee: Hi Sasha! The best way to do it is letting the dress and its print do the talking. You don´t need lots of accessories because the dress is already a statement by itself. I suggest wear with it a colorblock ankle single strap high heels of black and off-white. If you can´t find a colorblock, then go for either a black or an off-white single ankle strap. The result is very sexy.
Anne: Hi Glee! Thanks for this entry Now I would like to have your opinion. I have a one-piece animal print dress like this (but it’s not furry):
But I’m not really a mini-skirt-girl. Another thing is that, it’s blackless (a V-shape reaching at least half of the back). I really like the fit. That said, I want to put a simple cardigan over it. But it’s already long-sleeved so I would like the cuffs to show. Is that okay? Can you recommend a style/color that would look fine with it?
Glee: Hi Anne, you can cover your legs by wearing black tights complete with black pumps. As for the cardigan, you can go for a black, a rust, or a beige, something that matches any of the shades from the print. If you want to show some cuffs, then chose a cardigan with three forth sleeves. Inject color to the look with a bright handbag or clutch.
Nalini: I have this leopard print camisole thats fitting and i plan to wear it along with these pair of sort of high waisted black shorts.I have no idea on how to accessorize it! a rose gold watch ?black heels? earrings? neckpiece?
Glee: Because your leopard top is sleeveless and fitting, it´d look good with high-waist dress shorts. Fitting high waist shorts would overwhelm the look, there´s going to be too much of revealing at a time. Black heels or colored strap sandals would work. A rose gold watch is fine too.