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How to wear animal prints

Popular opinion in the world of fashion is that animal print is a classic and everyone can wear it.

I strongly disagree.

I believe that we all suit different combinations of styles and unless your style mix includes at least a smidgin of ‘drama’, you aren’t going to look and feel your best wearing animal print (which is firmly in the statement-dressing category).

If you try to wear animal print and it’s not working, it can feel as though you have somehow cheapened your outfit. Some of my clients like the look of it on others but can’t find a way to make it work for themselves. Sometimes it’s simply a styling issue – (scroll down for my animal print styling tips) but more often than not, it’s just too much of a statement for their personal style.

Animal print has been popular since Tarzan and Jane starred in the iconic film back in 1932. Apparently, Jane in her leopard print bikini inspired women to embrace a more exciting and adventurous look. And I think it still has that vibe. It’s a strong, sassy print and works brilliantly on those who suit that kind of statement look.

To wear animal print with confidence, you need at least a dash of ‘drama’ in your style. This would mean that you are drawn to strong, statement looks, whether that’s an entire outfit or an element of strength in an otherwise neutral or paired back one.

For some, it can be a dress or a coat covering a large part of their body. For others it’s just a touch, a belt, a scarf or a shoe. The amount that works is down to the individual and their style. When I work with a client, we work out how much of each of the 4 main clothing styles they can take in a single outfit. The styles are:

Classic – no prints

Dramatic – love print – including animal

Girly – love print – has to be pretty, such as floral, polka dot, gingham

Natural – hardly any print, possibly paisley or large check

Some women just know that animal print is not for them, others embrace it without question and some would like to wear it, but worry about getting it wrong.

If that’s you, read on for my tips on how to identify your best animal print and how to style it.


Which is your version?

If you’ve decided animal print is for you, let’s try to refine your options. Wearing any kind of print comes with a few considerations.


1. Which colours suit you best?

Traditional leopard print is usually best for ‘springs’ and ‘autumns’. Take care to find the right shades and tones of brown to make your skin glow.

Zebra print in black and white is good for those with ‘winter’ colouring with the high contrast of dark and light being super-flattering. 

It’s easy to find leopard print in bright colours these days which is usually better for a ‘winter’ than wearing shades of brown. Scamp & Dude do this particularly well.

Snake print in tones of cool grey can look lovely on those with ‘summer’ colouring.


2. Which size or print works for you?

Sometimes the issue in wearing print comes from the size of the print, rather than the colour or type. This is down to your personal scale. Your scale is based on your size but also is hugely influenced by your style. The more dramatic you are in your looks, the larger you can go with your prints and the more girly you are, the smaller you need them to be. When you wear a print that’s too large for your scale, it’ll wear you, overpowering your face. When you wear a print that’s too small for your scale, it looks busy, fussy and can even make you look bigger.


How to style animal print

This is hugely individual and down to your personal taste as well as your style. The below tips will help you if you are animal-print-curious and would like to give it a whirl with confidence:

  1. Choose the clothing carefully. If you are new to wearing animal print, consider starting slowly, using an accessory rather than a piece of clothing that covers a large part of your body. Experiment with footwear, belts, scarves, hairbands or bags.
  2. Keep the rest of your outfit fairly neutral and fuss free to allow the animal print some space.
  3. Think about how much flesh you are showing and make sure that feels good to you. Arms, legs and decolletage on show, can make animal print feel cheap on some women, so see what feels good for you.
  4. For some, it’s the fit of a piece of clothing that makes the difference. Clothing that is fitted can be harder to wear than over-sized pieces (such as a blazer) but the suitability of wearing over-sized depends on your shape as well as your size.
  5. Wearing outfits in an up-to-date way will have the biggest impact on how you feel in animal print. Keep an eye on how your favourite brands are styling it to get your outfit ideas.

I hope you found these tips useful and that they give you the confidence to try some new things with animal print. If you’d like my support in finding your best colours, shapes, styles and prints, get in touch here! 



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