The legacy of animal print is one of the most interesting pieces of history in the fashion world. Throughout the decades, animal print has been touted as world-class, upscale, trendy, kitschy, and even cheap. Because of the many opinions that animal print dredges up, it is one of the most divisive trends in fashion.
So where did the trend come from? Fashion and history often work together throughout the decades because historical events can influence the fashion industry. In the 1920s, animal print became vogue when glamorous movie stars like Joan Crawford brought the style into popularity. After World War II, leopard print clothing was mass-produced and gained popularity from Christian Dior, who once advised women, “if you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, a leopard coat was the signature of a very well-off woman. In the late 1960s, animal print was condemned for animal cruelty reasons, and the fashion trend slowly turned from posh to tawdry. In the 1970s and 1980s, animal print made a comeback thanks to female rock stars who wore animal print as a sign of power and dominance.
Regardless of the cyclical evolution of animal print, it remains a favorite for many of us, and it represents a bold statement of daring femininity.
Here are a few tips and ways to properly wear and style animal print clothing and accessories.
Anyone can wear animal print
Any woman regardless of age or body type can proudly wear animal prints! Some women shy away from bold prints like leopard or zebra for fear of attracting too much attention to themselves. Sure, as with any kind of bold look, it can be overdone. But there are ways to wear animal prints in a tasteful, decadent way that can work for anyone.
Remember, in nature, an animal’s fur is used as a disguise, not to make them stand out. The gorgeous fur that has become an inspiration for our fashion is meant to help animals hide in the wild.
Therefore, we can use this as a firm guide on how to properly wear animal print. Keep animal print sleek and not overly attention-grabbing; it already stands out.
Wear animal print sparingly
One piece at a time is more than enough to make the statement you’re looking for. Choose one piece of animal print at a time and keep the rest of the outfit mild. Choosing a tiger print handbag or wearing python pumps is all that is needed to make a bold statement. Choose one piece of animal print at a time: one bag, one piece of clothing, or one pair of shoes, and stop there.
Choose sleek-fitting pieces
Stay away from anything frilly, shiny, or overly revealing when wearing animal prints. Keep animal printed shirts, skirts, and the like at least somewhat form-fitting and sleek. Prints combined with too much fabric and frills can be a disaster. Imagine a slinky leopard and keep it graceful.
Stick to natural colors
Especially if you’re shy about wearing animal prints, choose prints that are similar to the ones found in nature. Neutral creams and browns are subdued, and the prints themselves already make a statement. Prints that come in bright colors can come across as too much. Also, wear solid colors like black or brown with animal prints. Neutral colors paired with prints will be much more elegant than if paired with fuchsia or aquamarine.
Remember that animal accents can transform an outfit
Of course, animal prints can be fun and bold! They can also be incredibly chic and stylish. Sometimes the best way to wear animal print is to add a printed piece like a bag or shoes to an outfit, much like you would add a pop of color to spice up an outfit.