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An Illustrated Guide to Wearing Leopard Print This Spring

An Illustrated Guide to Wearing Leopard Print This Spring
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This article originally appeared on xoJane. For more stories like this, visit xojane.com.

When I think about my spring wardrobe, my mind immediately goes to cotton sundresses, a few essential jackets, and an excuse to buy new sandals — or maybe a new bag in that dusty pink shade that’s everywhere right now. I can’t wait for spring. I obsessively check the weekly weather forecast to see if I’m in the clear to pack all my plaid, wool, and anything puffy under my bed until Fall. This would usually include animal print, calf hair, or anything with a fuzzy texture at all, but after witnessing the past month or so of fashion shows, I’m ready to make an exception.

The culprit? Leopard print. Designers are revisiting the trend with inspiration cues as diverse as ‘80s rock royalty to Anne Bancroft’s predatory look in The Graduate. At Ungaro, Fausto Puglisi explored the ultra glam side of the ‘70s by mixing the print with equally bold floral and fishnets. Nicolas Ghesquiere put the leopard on oversized bags that resembled regular plastic shopping bag for Louis Vuitton; Isabel Marant used the print on boots and a particular moto jacket that will definitely make the editorial rounds this September (I hope!). And though these were fall shows meant to inspire cold weather styling, I can’t help but consider that by fall we’ll have new trends to munch on.

Taking our fast-paced fashion calendar into account, here are a few looks that include leopard print in a way I found inspiring, and how I hope to translate into more seasonally-appropriate looks this spring.

Make a Statement (With a Moto, Perhaps?)

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I like to make endless lists on my phone when I ride the subway from point A to B. Things I want to accomplish, reminders for when I get home, aspirational notes (figure out stocks, write a book, etc.) and things I need/want to add to my wardrobe. Before buying my black leather jacket, it remained on the list for years. Currently, it’s a black suede jacket I’m after, then a vintage-inspired denim style. What I never list is a statement jacket, but now I’m reconsidering.

Fashion Illustration

Look at this leopard print wonder from Isabel Marant! It’s like Samantha Jones and Danny from Grease made a jacket baby…sigh. I would wear it with a monochromatic look to let the jacket do the work for me, but I also can’t help image wearing it with a liquid silver dress and super dark shades for a suck-it-suckers kinda feel.

Mix With Florals

Fashion Illustration

When I first saw this look, I swear it took a few beats to get my eyes to adjust to all that print. The painted florals aren’t my favorite — only because I think my Mom owned drapes just like that in the ‘90s — but that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the balls it took to mix the two in 2016. Leopard on a smooth or silky fabric naturally lends itself to a cheaper connotation (which isn’t always a bad thing) so mixing it with a floral just works. It’s somehow glamorous in that trashy ‘70s kinda way. Loooove it. I’d mix my leopard with a slightly less bold floral, because I’m a wimp like that.

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Spring for Cat-Like Trimmings

Fashion Illustration

Not feeling the all-over feline vibe? Opt for just a touch of the leopard spot, as seen on the Just Cavalli runway. This was another example of ‘70s — early ‘80s punk on the runway this season, and yes, it’s a bit much for IRL. Fishnets and vinyl skirts aren’t easy to pull off, but I love the attitude that comes with a red leather jacket with a fuzzy collar. You’ve gotta be brave (and maybe a little drunk) to pull it off, but it’s F-U-N and sometimes that’s what getting dressed up is all about. 

Pretend It’s a Neutral

Fashion Illustration

If you didn’t see it, this Mary Katrantzou show was bonkers. It was comprised of cartoon-y Western designs with flashes of leopard print throughout. The amazing thing about these pieces was that the animal print was the tamest part of each look. It gave the eyeballs a place to rest. So, in the spirit of Ms. Katrantzou, let’s stop being so precious with this print. Whether you wear it on a statement coat or on the liner of your bag, enjoy it — and try wearing it year round like a boss.

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Are you a fan of the leopard spot? Share all your outfit ideas below. 

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