Wearing Animal Prints Without Looking Like a Boozy Cougar

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We all know that excessive amounts of leopard print remind me of my childhood friend. Her mom consistently wore leopard bustiers to EVERYTHING and she always paired them with leather jackets and a generous helping of wine. I will NEVER shake that image. That's why wearing leopard print always seems like walking the fine line between looking fashion forward and looking for 20-year-old college boys who are into wrinkles.

Since it's fall, animal print is back in full force. I love me some animal print and have tons of leopard, zebra, snake and peacock in my closet. I just can't say no. But I CAN say no to leopard bustiers and wine because that's just how I roll.

Don't ever by afraid of animal prints. They don't have an age limit, especially when done appropriately. By thinking differently about how to use animal print in a fresher way, it doesn't have to be all Real Housewives-y. Unless you want it to be Real Housewives-y, in which case I also recommend Botox and lip injections until you look like an unrecognizable blowup doll version of yourself.

Check out some new rules for making animal print mom-appropriate. This way, no one will hide their teenage boys when you're in the school pickup line.

Kick It Casual:


Quiksilver cotton shirt, $44
Bootcut jeans, £25
Ballerina flat, $50
Wet Seal tote handbag, $22
Beaded earrings, $12
TopShop leopard print scarve, $32

Sometimes animal print is seen as more of a club-scene pattern. Like, in bustier form. Or in a miniskirt. Creepy. But animal print is awesome for plain casual wear. By pairing something like a leopard scarf or flats with jeans and a tee, the look is fashion forward without looking like you're headed to ladies night. I especially love it with a little distressed leather to help dress the print down a bit.

Mix Patterns:


H M short jacket, £30
Dorothy Perkins black skirt, £24
Rocket Dog zebra print shoes, $45
Green ring, $39
Dorothy Perkins purple jewelry, £10
Avance Molly Clutch, $49

K, so don't go crazy on me here, but it's OK to mix animal prints as long as you stay within the boundaries of neutrals and pick two patterns only. I like the mix of zebra and snakeskin because they're both subdued. Because of that, it's fine to do one piece that's more substantial. Had this been a leopard skirt and zebra shoes, you'd look like you were headed on safari. Weird. If you want to mix two contrasting animal prints, do it in your accessories, not your clothes. Keep the look tight with monochromatic colors, adding in pops of color with your accessories.

Brighten Up:

Daytrip top, $21
Daytrip military jacket, $40
Hydraulic faded jeans, $43
H&M knee length leather boots, £40
Hobo shoulder bag, $45
Peacock jewelry, $5.99
ASOS vintage jewelry, $18

Animal print doesn't HAVE to be all boozy coug. By picking animal prints that are in appropriate colors, it looks fresher and more fashion forward. This does not mean you should go buy neon pink leopard print. You're not a 14 year old girl shopping at Claire's. Instead, more abstract patterns work best. This print mix works because it's more suggested, rather than a literal animal print. Love how the colors work well with peacock because I LOVE PEACOCK AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS. I also love the idea of anchoring such a bright, outgoing piece with some harder-edged additions, making the textured jacket and moto-boots pretty much perfect.

So who's with me? Anyone brave enough to try animal prints this fall? I promise I won't judge, unless you're wearing leopard print AND drinking wine from a box. Deal?


Jenna said...

You're so good at this!

Jae said...

Haha Jenna, I was just really good with paper dolls as a kid.

Amanda said...

You wrote that after seeing this boozy cougar picture of me huh?


P.S. I love love love those zebra shoes . . . must buy NOW!

Jae said...

AHahaha Amanda, you coug. It's OK. I lust over Zach Efron.

Bugs said...

I seriously just spent a week of my life looking all over town for yellow flats.... and there they are. You find all the good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Agree about the yellow flats. Thanks for posting British stuff every now and again. Makes me happy.

professional hair shears said...

Thanks for providing this type of very helpful information. I genuinely appreciate your expert approach.


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