Although runway shows have always been accented with animal print, never has been the wild print as big as it is for this coming season, fall 2018. Of course, this high fashion trend was quickly adopted by high street brands so that during my visit in Berlin mid-August, in every boutique and store I went there was animal print everywhere.
I already have a good collection of animal print in my closet — from clothing to bags and shoes — but I was still happy to add three more pieces. I certainly could use an update! So I purchased two high-waist pants — in leopard and snake print — and a leopard print jumpsuit.
I`m a big lover of animal print, especially the leopard and snake prints. Wild prints have never unnerved me, if ever, they positively trigger the curious little girl in me, “How can I be more creative with animal print?”
I don´t chase trends, I chase style and elegance. Thus, even if I love animal print I didn´t make purchases just for the sake of being on trend. I chose pieces that embody my current sense of style, and pieces that I know would last for many years.
But … being stylish and elegant doesn´t mean being boring. I definitely don´t shy from bold, or a lil` quirky, and especially fun combinations. I seek to balance style and creativity.
As I tried my recent wild print purchases on at home, I wondered what can I wear them with.
Mixing and matching is like a science: I experiment (with the pieces I already have in my closet) and I also do research.
Note that the aim of this post is to be creative with animal print, so runway looks that are so ready to wear (no need to mix and match) aren´t featured here. Also, these looks are curated not only from the recent runway shows but also from past shows. Looks that will stand the test of time.
1. Play with Colors
Diane Von Furstenberg AW 2018
When it comes to mixing colored animal prints, or mixing an animal print with another colored (non wild) print, the basic rules in mixing colors apply. Check your color wheel, pick two colors that are complement or analogous to each other. If you need help on this, read this guide.
As you can see in this outfit, the green printed jacket and the yellow wild printed skirt are analogous (close to each in the color wheel), but they also have enough contrast so that while they look serene together, they´re vibrant enough.
The third print comes in black and white (scarf or top). I believe that keeping the bright colors in small doses, maximum two, is the most elegant way to approach colored print mixing.
Shoes for this look are preferably black or nude.
2. Print on Black
Carolina Herrera AW 2018
This is the most effortless way to wear an animal print coat. Pick your wild outerwear in black and white, and then wear it with an all black.
3. Tonal: Print on Print
Christopher Bailey 2013
There´s animal print mink and calfskin in the look, both in the same family of colors — black and gray. Worn under a translucent coat, or a gray coat, the result is very polished.
4. Floral on Wild
Emanuel Ungaro FW 2016
Mixing an animal print with a floral print can be jarring. It can also be intimidating! The key here is opting for prints in dark hues. The jacket, although floral, is dark in white. The animal print is also dark in white. They are pulled together with the overall white background. The look is lengthening. There is minimal clashing.
5. Print Block
Just Cavalli SS11
If there´s such thing as color blocking, there´s print blocking too. I love the exciting mix of this look. Although it looks like a puzzle and makes you think, “How in the world can I replicate this?” The key here is choosing prints in tonal (natural) colors.
There are six prints mixed in this look, but did you feel overwhelmed? I`m certainly not. In fact, I find the look so calming … and fascinating.
6. With Bold Socks or Boots
Ashley Williams Fall 2018
Being elegant also means going bold. Wearing a dress or a skirt with socks and high heels has always been my thing since my early twenties. I still do it once in a while in my thirties.
Choose a lovely wild dress and then clash it with a pair of patterned socks and some black pumps.
7. Wild + Sequin
Diane Von Furstenberg AW 2013
If you dare a head-to-toe mix of animal print, pull it together with a sequined topper. The sequined jacket polished the entire wild mix of this look.
8. A Wild Slip Dress + A Scarf
Dries Van Noten Fall 2016
In summer, slipping into a slimming animal print slip dress can be a bold thing to do. But if you have the confidence, why not? Add a patterned choker or a printed handkerchief scarf for contrast.
9. Add a Touch of Pastel
Blumarine Spring 2011
A light-hued animal print dress can also be accented with pastel colors. Choose a pastel that´s analogous to your wild print dress. Let that pastel be the color of your jacket/coat and shoes. If topper and shoes pairing puts you off, then let the shoes be nude.
10. Contrast Tones and Textures
Malene Birger Fall 2018
There are two contrasts in this look. First, the fabric. The sweater is wool, the skirt is probably cotton. Second, the print on the sweater is larger, while the print on the skirt is smaller.
Experiment with your own contrasts. Just remember, what pulls this look together is the tonal mix of color — brown on brown.
11. Add Leather for Edge
Burberry Prorsum SS 2011
Leather will always have an element of edge. Choose a leather jacket that matches the print of your outfit. The black leather jacket works well in this look because there are black rosettes in this blue mini dress. But perhaps a brown, or a pink leather jacket will work well for your animal print?
12. Contrast Prints and Silhouette
Malene Birger Fall 2018
A long animal print poncho over a pinstriped cropped pants, or a black and white zebra print under a gray and black leopard print? Play with contrasts.
13. Opt for Lengthening Complementary Prints
Malene Birger Fall 2018
The two prints featured in this look are analogous. They let the eyes transition smoothly from head to toes. Also, a long-hemmed sweater over a long midi skirt creates a lengthening effect. Remember to always finish the look with pointed-toe pumps.
14. Contrast Lengths and Match the Prints
This look is a mix of “match and contrast”. There´s yellow in the wild cropped jacket, there´s also yellow stripes in the long, roomy printed trousers. Yellow on yellow. Cropped on Long.
15. Contrast Prints and Match the lengths
Again, in mixing or clashing two bold prints, check your color wheel to identify which two colors are best to combine. In this picture, yellow and green are analogous. Black and brown are neutrals. Thus, the printed green top works well with the yellow and black animal print jacket.
The jacket is cropped, the trousers are also cropped. Pulled together with high booties in neutral color.
Check out my other guides:
How to Wear Animal Print
13 Animal Print Shoes + How to Wear Them This Fall
Mixing and matching animal print with other bold prints and colors does require a little bit of science. But armed with a color wheel and some inspiring runway photos such as the ones featured above, creating your own stunning wild mix should be an easy feat. So take courage and enjoy!