When you read that, you probably pictured Estelle from “Friends,” Joey Tribbiani’s nutty acting agent with the raspy voice, shellacked hair, messy red lipstick, and leopard blouses.
That’s why animal print is one of the most divisive trends in the history of fashion. Some swear adamantly that you can wear it in a chic way, and some think it should never show up in your closet, much less at the office.
whats important is that nobody ever knows whether animal print is in or out. Are we wearing it enthusiastically right now or turning up our noses at it? Even I don’t have a great answer for that question.
The best way I’ve found to keep animal print in your wardrobe is to stock up on accessories. This is a lesson we all learned from retailers such as J.Crew a few years back, and it remains useful when you want to jazz up a basic outfit.
These should be faux, of course, and mimic the natural colours of the animal. No “bachelorette party neon pink cheetah print.” Here are some key items to look for:
Clutches: I have the hardest time choosing an evening purse. I don’t use one often enough that I want to spend a ton of money, and I want to only have one that goes with every outfit, which is virtually impossible.
Animal print is a great way to solve this problem. It’s super easy if you’re an avid wearer of solid colors. Leopard print, for example, goes with almost anything and has the benefit of being sort of black and brown at the same time. But if you’re like me and tend to accessorize with more black than brown, zebra print might also work.
If you love patterns, you’re in luck: Pattern mixing is definitely in, so your animal print clutch is the perfect complement to, say, a striped dress.
Shoes: Typically you’ll want to avoid an animal print, platform heel, but a flat is definitely something to consider. In Italy I saw a lot of looks along the lines of red lips, white button-down, skinny jeans and leopard print flats. It was super chic and effortless.
Scarves: You may be reading the many articles about how office temperatures are set for a man in his 40s, and are therefore a “sexist plot” to literally freeze women out of the workplace. No matter where you stand on the actual issue, it’s no joke that most offices feel like the arctic when it’s hot outside, and you need a little something with your black sleeveless dress. If you have an animal print scarf in your arsenal, you will not only stay warm, but also nobody will notice that you’ve worn the same dress every week if you spice it up with a scarf.
Belts: I love an animal print belt with a chambray shirt and light jeans. It’s also a great accent piece for the old work shirt/pencil skirt combo.