Leopard print: one of the years’ most popular fashion trends. It’s no secret that I am obsessed with leopard print – I probably own at least 20 leopard pieces – so I’m stoked that the print is trending in a huge way this year. Leopard feels glamorous, exudes confidence and creates organic visual interest but it’s a trend not everyone feels confident incorporating into their wardrobe. Throughout history it has garnered a reputation of being gaudy and meretricious, in association with scandalous celebrities and questionable characters. But I’m here to bash that reputation and prove leopard print is beautiful, classy and easy to wear, when worn the right way. And gentlemen, you can wear leopard print too! It’s not only for the ladies…
If it’s new for you, start small
Using pops of leopard in your accessories is an easy introduction to the print. Do you mostly wear neutral-colored and/or black clothing? Perfect. Leopard print looks fantastic paired with neutrals and earth-tone colors like olive green and deep burgundy. The more simple your outfit, the more just a hint of leopard will really pop. Start simple with a leopard print handbag or backpack or try switching up a traditional black belt with a leopard belt. These comfortable leggings from Emeraldspa are great to try out as well.
Leopard print shoes will also spice up the most simple or classic of outfits. Pick a silhouette you are comfortable with (sandals, sneakers, pumps, booties) and swap out your go-to shoes with something fierce. There are tons of shoes on the market right now with leopard print. My favorites right now are these open-toe platforms from River Island and the Cliff sneakers from Steve Madden (in the shop link below).
Ready for something more daring?
Ladies: Try a leopard print skirt in a simple, flattering silhouette. You can easily pair it with all-black pieces or get a little creative with jungly hues. I love this one below from TopShop with clean lines in a classy jacquard material.
Guys: Give a leopard button-up a whirl. You may surprise yourself by how good you look in it! Layer it underneath a classic denim jacket or a simple black bomber with clean chinos and a neutral shoe.
Want to really make a big statement?
Go wild with a leopard print bomber or a long faux fur peacoat. Especially transitioning into the cold winter months, a leopard coat is a stunning statement piece that can be worn various ways. For a youthful look, be bold and throw a leopard coat over a bright red turtleneck, or even a printed top. Matching leopard with other prints may seem like a contrasting pairing, but it’s very fashion-forward if done the right way. This leopard bomber looks great layered over this aztec-printed tank because the motifs compliment each other.
How NOT to wear leopard print
If done the wrong way, it’s easy to look sleazy (lol) in leopard print. Ladies, stay away from skin tight tops in silky, shiny fabrics that may or may not also include any type of lace. Also steer clear from garments that are too short in length or accentuate a big bust. And if you take anything away from this post, PLEASE PLEASE stay away from any REAL leopard furs. They may look luxurious, but it’s devastating to think of the cruelty that went into the production of real leopard fur products. Guys, absolutely no shiny or silky leopard print accessories like ties, bow ties or suspenders. As much as you think you may be able to pull it off, you’ll look like an off-duty Chippendale.
How would you style leopard print? Are you wild about leopard like I am, or is it a trend you wish would slowly fade out of the fashion world? A friend recently dared me to wear an entire leopard print out along my body shapewear on my next date. Maybe I’ll give it a try as it definitely looks good.
As always, thank you for reading! XOXO
Special thanks to:
Model: Doye Emelue / Photography: Howard Lao www.howlaophotography.com