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?
Since animal print is in itself a statement piece, the best fail-safe approach to wearing it is to keep it simple, clean and neat.
However, if you are gifted with an eye for style, or if you´ve developed your skill in mixing and matching prints and colors, then getting creative with animal print must come natural to you. But just like any skill, getting creative with animal print can be learned too.
There will be tiny mistakes along the way, but you´ll learn from it. And your confidence to wear animal print, even your guts to push beyond your comfort zone, will increase.
I´ve written thousands and thousands of words about animal print on this blog. This flagship, evergreen article of mine on how to wear animal print used to rule the search engines for years. As you can imagine, ruling the search engine results also attracted lots of copycats, pretending to know how to rock the print, by literally copy pasting my entire article, word for word, tip by tip, and claiming it their own.
Google tries to be clever about it by supposedly penalizing the copycats, only that the original article, my article, is the one that they penalized. Removed from the search engines. Rarely to be found by those who truly need it. Thrown into the trash like a garbage, while letting the copycats flourish.
But all for my love of animal print, I am NOT letting this girl die. I know there are many women out there who need these tips. So I decided it´s about time to expand this article. I added in here new thoughts, as well as all the tips I´ve written about the print here and there. So please be warned, this is a monster post.
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 also 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 steal attention such as a fur purse or a fancy scarf. But then again, 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.
Do You Love 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. `Cause how would you know if is he the one?
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 sure 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 and teamed with black booties. It´s a fabulous look to steal.
A pair of fitting long sleeves top and below the knee pencil cut is otherwise a fabulous 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.
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 here to steal the 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.
How to Wear Animal Print in Summer
We can have more fun styling animal print for the outdoor if the weather allows us to bare more skin instead of staying fully wrapped. We´re not confined solely to animal print jackets or animal print scarf because we don´t have to brave the cold. We´ve got plenty of choices!
So if you´re like me who adores animal print and is excited to wear the print on warmer days, check out these looks I´ve created below.
1. Go Casual with Animal Print Ballet Flats
During warmer days, my casual outfit becomes very predictable. You´re very likely to see me in denim shorts. I love to team my shorts with comfortable tank tops or cotton t-shirts and my favorite accents are leopard print ballet flats.
2. Strut Your Leopard Print Oxford Shoes
Yesterday I was eyeing a pair of Oxford shoes, the shoes that most fashion bloggers adore, at a shoe boutique. They were cute and they looked nice on my feet, but they were nude. I was looking for something similar to this leopard print Oxford shoe. If worn with red skinny jeans and a light green top, they look very delicious!
3. Hug Your Curves with an Animal Print Dress
I was told that sheath or body con dress is becoming a uniform. Well then, go for a red little leopard print dress for a change. A layered dress, it highlights your curves without overdoing it. Slip into a pair of peep-toe nude pumps, grab a red clutch and put on your go-to sunglasses for a look that impresses. You can always add a long, bright-colored (or even nude) grandpa cardigan if you´re not comfortable displaying your curves.
4. Style Up a Zebra Print Skinny Jeans
I`ve said it here on the blog that girls should avoid a head-to-toe animal print look. But guess what? This outfit is technically a head-to-toe or a top-to-bottom animal print combo. Why do I recommend it? Because the tank top, while an animal print itself, is a silver which makes it very neutral.
It compliments this zebra print skinny jeans perfectly so my only addition to the team is a pair of gorgeous pink pumps and an attention-grabbing sunglasses. Nobody´s gonna guess that you´re wearing way much animal print in this look.
5. Brave an Oversized Animal Print
I only don´t have a heart for oversized t-shirts in warmer days, I actually have a need of them. I sweat a lot on a sunny day so wearing body hugging clothes is not preferrable. I enjoy the comfort of oversized shirts but I also avoid looking baggy.
My technique? I opt for t-shirts with statement prints such as this leopard print oversized t-shirt which I either wear with black skinny jeans or black denim shorts. I stick to black footwear too.
Wearing animal print in the summer can be a little tricky. Usually the prints are darker and many pieces with animal designs are more appropriate for fall/winter. However, I think animal print is perfect for summer if you pair it with fun, bright colors. Here are some ways my style contributor, Janine, wears the animal print trend in summer.
6. Animal Print as an Accessory
Janine recently wore this outfit to work on casual Friday. The leopard pumps (which she´s in LOVE with) can be a little more wintry, so she paired them with cropped jeans and a bold color tunic to make them work for summer.
7. Animal Print as a Single Outfit Item
She also wore this outfit to work. The animal print skirt has light enough colors to work for summer. She also made sure to pair with a trendy, bold pink appropriate for the season. If you are bold enough to wear more animal print than just an accessory, try wearing the print in a skirt or blouse.
8. Animal Print as an Entire Outfit
If you are daring enough and really love animal print, wear the trend head-to-toe. Janine wore this maxi dress on vacation and it was light and breezy enough for summer. Maxi dresses are always on trend in summer and animal print maxi dresses really make a statement.
How do you wear animal print in summer?
How to Wear Animal Print in Fall
For someone who´s a big fan of animal print, I was excited to see Angelo Marani´s revival of the print on his Fall 2012 Ready to Wear collection. He used more of leopard print in different shades and sizes of rosettes.
Photo credit: Elle
I love all the playful pattern mixing and print clashing ideas on wearing the print. The show isn´t just all about the animal print but also gave glimpse on new ways to style this ever fabulous print.
1. Pull together a leopard print top and printed skirt combo with a cropped leopard jacket.
Don´t raise a brow, darling. The first look proves that you can wear an animal print over another animal print. But note, this only works when the inside layer is more faded or light brown while the jacket is of vibrant, striking print. In short, one wild print gotta be bolder than the other.
2. Wear animal print with black leather.
Mixing a leopard print top with a black leather just makes the print edgier. Opt for a black leather to temper the animalistic top and finish with black boots.
3. The right way to clash two animal prints.
If you´ve the courage to brave clashing two different animal prints, remember to add a transitional color. Unless you get a leopard top with plain gray hems to readily team with another leopard print skirt, it´s a good idea to layer under a plain gray tank which is longer than your leopard top. That sight of gray between your top and skirt sort of gives definition between the prints.
4. Layer an animal print over a bright print.
It does take enough guts to sport a big animal print such as a leopard print coat. And the reality is, not everyone has the guts. But if you want to try wearing one, it only feels daring the first time. Like every first time, it does get easier and better the more you try it.
Try adding a black belt to cinch the waist of your coat. This will not only give you a defined waist, the belt will also break the monotony of your outerwear.
Wearing a leopard print topcoat with a vibrant and striking printed dress is so far my favorite way of going stylishly wild in fall. It´s not too much. In fact, the bright print steals the show and gives balance to the eye catching animal print.
5. Animal print peek-a-boo.
The idea here is to give only a glimpse of animal print on your look. So whether you´re wearing a bright blue parka coat or a gorgeous tangerine trench coat, why not wear under it an animal print for a teasing peek of that gorgeous animal print?
Your peek-a-boo doesn´t always have to happen on the top. You can opt for a peek on the bottom too!
When I was living and working in Bangkok, I spent many days shopping and window shopping. I still do now here in Germany but since our city is small, there aren´t as many malls as in big cities. I noticed that leopard and cheetah prints seem to be the favorite animal prints for fall and winter. If everyone of us will patronize the animal print trend every colder season, it´s definitely going to be a zoo. But that´s not necessarily a bad thing. It´s the season for us to embrace our inner wild side.
But how do you elegantly wear a leopard print in fall? Whether it´s a trench, a skirt for work, a dress for party, or an accessory, these following tips will have you covered.
6. Colorblock Leopard Trench Coat
I know how much a trench coat can do wonder to your fall wardrobe. But for fall, why not give the iconic trench coat a punch? Pick one in black and leopard print color-print block. Its double-breasted tailored style and classic tie belt are always the highlight, but animal print will give it more character. Wear it over dark trousers and skirts on weekdays, and over bright monochrome dresses to special events.
7. Leopard High Low Dress
This is a very cute, fabulous high-low dress perfect to wear to night outs and parties. Add a black leather jacket for a shield from the chill and wear with glamor strap sandals.
8. Leopard Tall Boots
Ahh, I tell you, I fell head over heels in loved with these leopard knee high boots. This is so me! But who wouldn´t love it? Isn´t it glamored to perfection? It´s made to be worn with high-waist midi black pencil skirt or a cute little black dress, although it will also work with a bright mono ensemble.
9. Leopard Wide Leg Jumpsuit
If you´re into wearing the trend in a playful and fun manner, boho style is the way to go. Opt for this leopard print wide-leg jumpsuit and nude sandals. Of course, this look only works in early fall. But you can always add a black leather jacket and opt for black booties once it starts to get chilly.
10. Leopard Midi Skirt
If you´re still into wearing animal print to work, try this gorgeous leopard midi skirt with a pink top and black blazer, or with a green long sleeve shirt, and pointed toe pumps. For a more casual, laid-back look, with a slouchy sweater and sleeves pulled up.
11. Leopard Shawl Collar Blazer
A leopard print drape blazer is always a sweet additional to your fall wardrobe. Try it with a pair of black leather shorts if the weather in your area is friendly, or with dark skinny trousers if it´s chilly. Finish off with black pointed ankle boots.
12. Bel Air Blocked Tote
If everything fails, you will never go wrong with a colorblock tote featuring soft leopard print. Just a hint of a little animal print can do wonders to an outfit. Personally though, I prefer the bag to be entirely wild printed. But that´s just a personal preference. Let me know what you prefer?
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?