Leopard Print has announced itself as one of the top trends with an almighty roar for the forthcoming AW season. I’m not advocating that you should buy into trends for the sake of it. However I do like to look at how we can use what’s available if you are looking to add to your wardrobe.
But First A Step Back In Time
Leopard print first became popular when Christian Dior used a leopard print fabric in one of his collections in 1947.
Jackie Kennedy glamorized the look in 1962. When I’m sad to say she wore a Leopard-Skin Coat, which caused a sensation. It’s said that the designer was truly shamed by the demand that the coat generated and the impact on the leopard population.
Moving on to 1970s leopard print started to be seen as tacky and cheap. It recovered its sexy and sophisticated image in the 1990s. Frankly its never really been out of fashion, but it’s application has become much more widespread in the past couple of years.
What Makes Leopard Print So Popular?
It’s association with leopards. Sorry if that sounds too simplistic but it’s true! People who wear leopard print say that it makes them feel sexy, strong, beautiful and powerful.
Leopard print is incredibly versatile. It has a glamorous luxurious look if worn with a smart outfit. But equally looks really amazing if worn with jeans and trainers, lifting an ordinary outfit into the realms of a rock ’n’ roll look!
You don’t need to dress head to toe in leopard print to buy into it. You can use accessories to add a touch of animal print.
But Can I Wear Leopard Print?
If you really mean am I too old to wear leopard print then regular readers will know my answer on that one. Age is merely a number on a birth certificate!
If you don’t have the confidence to wear leopard print, you feel too self-conscious for example, that’s different. You won’t carry it off. But if you still wish to wear leopard print look for scarves, purses or underwear, as a way to do so, discreetly.
But brown isn’t in my colour palette! The good news on this one is that designers recognized this so you can buy leopard print garments in various colours. It’s also possible to wear brown leopard print providing it’s not next to your face.
When I searched for leopard print items on Next’s site for example I got 242 items in various shades from black/grey, pink, teal and red as well as the more natural look!
Leopard Print Ideas AW18/19
Let’s take a look at some of the items that are available and how you might style them.
Next has a great single breasted coat that would look great with jeans or as they show on their website styled with …..
A single-breasted coat is best for anyone with wide shoulders or a large chest where you don’t want to add width to your top half.
Zara’s double-breasted coat would look great for anyone looking to add more width to his or her top half.
An alternative way to wear leopard print before winter kicks in is with this cotton printed jacket from & Other Stories. With the drawstring waist this adds versatility to styling and shaping the jacket.
The secret of wearing leopard print coats or jackets is to keep the garments underneath plain colours. Don’t add prints or patterns, it just looks too busy. You want the bold animal print to take centre stage. The only exception and you really do need the confidence to carry this off is to wear animal print underneath.
You are spoilt for choice if you’re looking for leopard print blouses. There’s also quite a wide range of colours, such as this blue leopard print from Banana Republic.
A selection here for different body shapes ranges from high neck blouses that work for hourglass figures as seen on Zalando, long necks and inverted triangle body shapes (wide shoulders). Or jersey tops that look great with black trousers or jeans such as this crew neck from Max Mara.
If you’re adding jewellery keep it simple a bold necklace is fine but keep to one colour metal. Or alternatively try earrings rather than a necklace if you’re wearing a high neck.
Stick to one colour on the bottom half. Black is the obvious choice, but strong reds or deep plums or greens can also look good.
Trousers and Skirts
Not everyone is going to be comfortable wearing leopard print jeans or leggings. For many it’s a step too far. But here are a couple of ideas.
Try leggings with a denim jacket and T shirt as Next have done in this image, for example. Alternatively tapered trousers with a smart plain top and strappy shoes will look really smart, as per this pair from Forever Unique.
An animal print skirt can look fantastic with a plain coloured top or blouse. Blacks, browns, red or white are some options to consider for tops and add ankle boots to finish the look with this gorgeous Mint Velvet skirt.
Team skirts with plain boots. Knee length or ankle boots look fantastic. Complete the look with opaque black tights.
If you’re comfortable wearing head to toe leopard print there are some lovely dresses available at the moment. Mint Velvet has a beautiful midi length shirt dress with a handkerchief hem and v neck that would look amazing with knee length or ankle boots. Just add a simple statement necklace to complete the look.
Hobbs has a classic wrap dress that would work for the office or a more casual look. Team this with court shoes and a plain black jacket and classic style of bag. For when the weather turns add a simple trench coat and for a super smart look.
Silk Fred has a selection of leopard print dresses. This blue one would be great for anyone with an hour glass figure or a pear shaped body.
If you want to just add a touch of leopard print there is a fabulous selection at Dune this season including court shoes, ankle boots and sneakers. Dune also has a great selection of bags and if you’re not sure what to look for when choosing a bag check out this earlier post.
Leopard Print is for any age, but wear as much as you feel comfortable wearing. Leopard print is versatile in terms of matching it with strong colours, although blue (particularly denim), brown, red white and black are probably the most popular colours to choose. Keep it simple – use block colours with leopard print to get the best effect. I’ve made several references in this post to body shapes and styles. If you’re not sure what shapes and styles you should be looking for why not download my Body Shape Guide?