Give me an animal print and I’m happy. If there’s one trend that I’ve been obsessed with forever, it would be a leopard or cheetah inspired print that I’ll wear in fashion, shoes, handbags, hats … just about everything … just not all at once. And I’m not the only one. I shouldn’t even call it a trend anymore, it’s a classic that will stand the test of time. Designers from Tom Ford to Dolce & Gabbana to Yves Saint Laurent have dipped into it for years and that will never stop. Here’s a little story of my obsession:
I bought this faux fur topper from Zara almost 20 years ago. I had just arrived in Toronto and was shopping with friends when one of them spied it stuffed under a pile of jeans on a sale table. I pounced the second she hesitated (I hardly knew her, ok?!) and dashed to the cash register. At $70, I knew it was a keeper.
All these years later, I still wear my old favourite. I put it away for a few years and now it’s back in heavy rotation with a Celine handbag, Chloe boots and another Zara favourite, a black lace skirt.
I’m wearing it a lot of different ways now. The other day, I paired it with a turtleneck and my new sequinned appliqué jeans from Anthropologie, worn with a Valentino cross-body bag and Prada boots. Oh … a new Kate Spade leopard print phone case too! I only ever stick to one leopard pattern but the phone case doesn’t count.
Here it is five years ago, worn with simple black trousers and heels. It’s my all-time favourite shot by Norman Wong, from 2012.
The unexpected moss green leather skirt worn by rising star, Ruth Negga, is a perfect way to wear animal patterns now. Black would be the obvious choice, but green or rust or teal blue is fabulous.
And here I am in 2010 in a favourite old pair of animal patterned YSL heels that elevated a simple black outfit. I love the red spots in Tommy Ton’s sweater.
I just spotted this classic Stephen Jones hat from the February 1995 issue of British Vogue. It’s featured in the latest issue, February 2017, in a story called “Talking Heads” – 22 years later, it looks just as wearable.
And here it is again – lots of animal patterns in a super chic advertising campaign. There are a million examples, and will continue to be for years to come.
I know that I’ll continue to wear my leopard print topper for years to come. These are the style tips that I’m using for now … and no doubt they’ll change as I keep updating it to go with my wardrobe.
NOW 1) only wear one animal pattern at a time. 2) Pair it with unexpected stripes or patterns (that’s next for me). 3) Try it with different colours, not just black (see Ruth’s example above).