Knowing how to wear animal print comes down to this one simple, unwritten rule: Treat it like any black item in your wardrobe. Yes, this might seem counterintuitive, but adding a little leopard to any outfit upgrades and harmonises a look. True, leopard print has often walked the line between flashy and luxurious, but it's been proven time and again that fashion girls can't resist it. And despite its ubiquity, leopard print's popularity began with one designer and his muse—more specifically, Christian Dior and Mitzah Bricard. Bricard was fascinated by leopard print, and as a result, during the '50s, Dior created a range of his accessories featuring the design, elevating leopard to be the must-have print of the moment.
From the '60s through to '80s, leopard print was often associated with rock stars—but that wasn't a bad thing. Debbie Harry of Blondie wore it better than anyone else. There were plenty of other leopard-print champions, but perhaps none loved it as much as Jackie Collins, who reportedly said her biggest weakness was "wearing too much leopard print." (Is there ever such a thing?)
Nowadays, it's a classic for any closet. Across the whole of the fashion world, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't own at least one standout animal-print piece. In 2018, there are plenty of fashionable ways to enjoy it, thanks to brands such as Ganni that keep it looking super chic. Keep scrolling for the 10 rules on how to wear leopard print and to see where to shop key pieces.
#1: Clash leopard with other prints.
Style Notes: As we pointed out earlier, you need to treat leopard print as if it were another neutral colour in your wardrobe. This means you can definitely wear it with other prints—our favourites are stripes and checks.
Topshop has got a whole load of leopard-print pieces right now.
#2: Even small leopard-print accessories will make your outfit sing.
Style Notes: Wearing a tiny leopard-print bag is still a great way to bring out the rest of your outfit.
This bag is on our shopping list right now.
#3: A blouse peaking out of a trench looks super chic.
Style Notes: A blouse is such a feminine way to do the leopard-print trend. Pair with jeans and a trench, plus your favourite mini bag for the full look.
This tie waist wrap shape is super-flattering to wear.
#4: It doesn't have to come in neutral tones.
Style Notes: While we'd normally say stick to the classic colours, there's something about this bold yellow-and-blue leopard-print approach that we love.
#5: Leopard print looks incredible with more leopard print.
Style Notes: There's the worry that you'll come off a bit Bet Lynch, but you need to embrace that. Take a style tip from Giovanna Engelbert, and accessorise your outfit with gold jewellery.
Yes, this will be just as good over a tee as it would by itself for your summer holiday.
#7: Zebra and leopard print were made for each other.
Style Notes: It's not a combination we could have predicted, but thanks to the neutral tones found in each, you can mix and match different animal prints together quite easily.
This is a game-changer.
Style Notes: Want a quick way to make your tracksuit trousers look smart and fresh for the office? Simply add leopard-print shoes, of course.
You'll get so much wear out of these.
Style Notes: For a fun take on the trend, try the athleisure approach—there's a growing retail trend for this unexpected pairing.
Ideal for your off-duty wardrobe.
#10: Never forget that leopard print looks incredible with denim.
Style Notes: Leopard print makes a classic white tee and blue jeans sing.
Just add a plain white tee, trainers and a denim jacket for the ultimate spring outfit.
Opening Image: Style du Monde
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.