My favorite thing about leopard print, besides its obvious feline connection, is the way it makes me feel. These days leopard print is regaining its sophistication and pulling away from a previous association to trashy and cheap. Similar to leather, leopard print in fashion is animalistic with a stong point of view. Therefore the challenge when wearing them is finding a way to express confidence in an understated way. This connection between leopard and leather, and also my admiration for Amy Schumer’s bold femininity, was the inspiration behind today’s post title.
Whether thift or high fashion, there is no doubt that leopard print in fashion represents power and an authoritative sense of style. In an article in The New Yorker titled ‘The Meaning of Leopard Print’, writer Katie Ryder expands on this idea and the way it has evolved. She describes leopard print on women today as signifying, more than anything,
“a certain knowingness, and the wearer’s confidence that her own sartorial intentions, whatever they may be, can withstand the print’s thick past: haughty luxury, prim sophistication, seedy overexposure, rock, kitsch, and, of course, many shades of sex. Leopard—though so fixed and loud—actually seems to be a welcoming surface for projection, if you can throw some self-possession behind it.”
The association between leopard and femininity really started to come to life in the fashion world in the 1920’s, when some bold female socialites posed with real leopards as a form of accessorzing. Hollywood then increased this link by showcasing leopard print in movies in the 1930s and 1940s. The fashion industry ‘pounced’ on this concept with mass production of everything leopard. This then began the sex kitten status from the 40s throughout the 1950s. It was then that Christian Dior became the first designer to put leopard print, not skin, on the runway. This became part of the designer’s post-war fresh look and revolutionized its role in fashion.
1. Try to only wear pieces of quality.
2. Own the sexiness that comes along with the print, but keep it a little bit sophisticated.
3. Juxtapose: Leopard print is aggressive, so having a one note look will pull it away from ‘fashion’ and either go to the matronly side of the spectrum or the trashy side. To keep the look young, mix it up. If your leopard print piece is feminine, pair it with something sporty. If your piece has a lot of fabric, make sure you expose some skin.
4. Add a special accent to balance out the print – bright lipstick, a graphic tee, a fun hair accessory, bold earrings etc.
1. Pizza Date Night
Style: The Roadie T-Shirt
Price: $130 USD
A little pricey but this oversized and relaxed T is worth it. A subtle leopard print design on a quality cotton jersey fabric, this piece has quickly become one of my favs. Its the type of shirt you would steal from your boyfriend and then roll up the sleeves or tie in a knot at the waist. I paired this casual piece with some ripped denim jeans and a bold red lip.
2. Thrift Shopping in London
Style: Moi Et Toi Dress
Price: $170 USD
Size: X Small
This dress definitely exposes some skin, but the loose silhouette keeps the sexy factor tasteful not tacky. It is therefore particularly important to use the correct styling when wearing this dress. I took the look to a more beachy bohemian vibe by adding in a summery hat, flip flops, and eclectic bangles.
3. Brunch with the Girls
Style: Flowing Shorts
Price: $40 USD
These Zara shorts appear more as a skirt, and are very comfortable and affordable. These ‘skorts’ are very feminine, and so I decided to add a little edge by pairing them with a printed sporty tank. Not pictured were some low profile Nike kicks, which helped to juxtapose the flowing shorts and keep the look casual.
4. Beach Day in Italy
Brand: Stone Fox Swim
Style: Namena Top / Laguna Bottom
Price: $88 USD / $88 USD
Not too much to analyze about this ensemble except to say that Stone Fox Swim bikinis are quality. Fun prints and figure flattering cuts are their specialty. The goal for this leopard print outfit was to stay true too Rule no. 2 and just go for it! After all, in his ‘The Little Dictionary of Fashion’ Dior states: “but to wear leopard you must have a kind of femininity that is a little bit sophisticated. If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.”