5 Simple Ways to Style Leopard Print
If you haven’t heard, animal print is a pretty popular trend this season. Also, a news update, I’m not too big of a fan of animal print. Why? Because I always find it so crass and tacky and very few actually know what they’re doing when they put it on…but that’s just my opinion. Despite these feels though, I find myself a little interested in the print this season. So much so that I conceptualized and drew up a suede leopard printed moto jacket design. One that I would pick up in a heartbeat if it were available today.
Beyond that, I started thinking about if I decided to dawn a leopard printed something or other, how would I personally style it. How could I rock leopard print without looking too over the top but didn’t bash away from the power of the print. Well I’ve found a way...5 to be exact. 5 ways to simply style your leopard print so you don’t look over done, but first, a history lesson because why not.
Images: TopShop Blog, and CR Fashion Book
Leopard print first started in fashion as an exaggeration from the colonizers who saw it as primitive and mocked the “savage” culture who originally used it as a masculine power symbol. It started to be seen as a luxury item when clothing became massively produced and films of the 1920’s featured them on glamorous starlets. It was seen as wealth through Christian Dior’s development of the New Look until the anti fur movement in the 1960’s. From there, the print made its way into Frederick’s of Hollywood. The pendulum swung again in the 70’s and 80’s when leopard print translated into a symbol of power for women in Rock and Roll, only to swing back and be considered as trailer park fashions in the 90’s and swing back once again to hit the couture runways and red carpets today.
Source: “The History of Leopard Print” by Ilise S. Carter
In depth Information: “The Trashy, Expensive, Contradictory Reputation of Leopard Print” by Colette Shade
Through the history lesson, no matter whether the print was in or out, one thing rang true: the purpose of the print will never be to blend in, even though that’s technically what the print is designed to do… If you wear the print, you want to stand out in some kind of way.
After doing some slight work with researching the print, I’m sure the distaste in my mouth in regards to the leopard print is from me being a 90’s baby and during that time, the print was on the downtrend. Either way though, that was then and this is now.
Today, as a fashion appreciator, I answer the question of how to style leopard print so you don’t look over the top.
All Black. Probably the easiest style strategy of them all. There is very little thinking or planning with this one guys. I mean, have black? Will wear. Sorry, I’m dumb. But really, pairing leopard print with an all black outfit gives the bold pattern the respect it deserves. Almost like an art piece, where it’s destined to shine on its own. With an all black outfit, the leopard print doesn’t clash with anything. It remains the focal point. Black also adds that level of sophistication but can still convey a modern, classic or street style overall. Plus, we know I love a good pop.
Keep It Small. No need to jump off the deep end. If you’re new with the whole animal print thing, it can be a bit overwhelming. Instead of dawning a full length bodysuit...please be very careful if you do decide to ever do that...you can start with something small, like a pair of shoes or a dope tiny backpack because who needs their accessories to actually function in their day to day, right? Rock the trend in a very small portion and the print is still powerful enough for you to subtly stand out. And again, I love a good pop.
Dress It Down. Through its lifetime, leopard print has been considered both bougie and over the top. Unless this is the vibe you’re going for, the print can easily be turned around for us average every day folks who aren’t going to gala. To dress down the luxurious print, all you have to do is pair it with some frayed denim, or a t-shirt. This will also work if a casual piece of clothing, like a hoodie, is the leopard printed item. It’s the whole opposites attract thing where the casual clothing takes the leopard print down a notch and the leopard print adds a bit of glamour to an otherwise average...yet still very much a staple…outfit.
The Darker the Hue the Sweeter the Look. A play on the darker the berry...no? Okay. Well leopard print has been known to come in the hottest of pinks to the laser-iest of lemons (laser lemon is my all time favorite crayola crayon ever!) but all of that is way too much in my book...which is the one we’re reading from right now. ...but I am envisioning Lisa Frank right now and that’s bringing me some joy… Anyways, if you keep the hugh of the leopard print subtle, the less likely you are to stand out like a sore comical thumb. If you keep the print in the browns and chocolates or tonal black, you’ll be just fine. The boldest I would play it is a dark honey shade.
Mind the Spots. The number of spots, the spacing of spots, the shapes of the spots and the color of the spots themselves all play a role in how the leopard print presents itself. Is one way better than the other...factually, no… I mean, I prefer single colored spots that are similar to the size and spacing of the actual animal. But that’s just me. I feel the larger the spacing or the larger the spots, the more childish the print becomes.
I will say that leopard print is not for the meek and mild. It’s definitely for the person who has something to say. At least when it comes to their clothing.
Will I be dawning the leopard trend this season? The verdict is still out. There’s a pair of printed loafers that I’ve had in my DSW online cart . Maybe I’ll take that plunge.
This isn’t about me though, it’s about you. In this article, I’ve shared 5 simple ways to style your leopard print so you don’t look overdone. What do you think? Will you be rocking leopard print or any animal print for that matter using any of these tips? Do you even like animal print? Let me know your thoughts and feels in the comment section.