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Style Tips from an Image Professional

Silk Kaftan - Leopard Print - Simply Silk

Style Tips on how to wear this winter’s key trend.. animal prints.  Emma McDermott from My Personal Stylist discusses how to wear this key trend, no matter your age, body shape or personality. Emma works with mainly with women aged 40-65, helping them rediscover their identity with an updated image.

Here’s what she has to say:

There’s a lot of animal print around for autumn/winter 2011. I’ve seen it everywhere from luxe high-end boutiques to chain store “cheap and cheerful”. Personally this is a trend I love. I am known for incorporating a little leopard into my wardrobe from time to time. However, like most fashion trends this is one that can be confusing if you’re not sure how to wear it. And its an easy one to get wrong!

To avoid looking like you’re trying too hard, this is one trend where less is most definitely more.  If you want to try it out but don’t know if it’s your kind of thing here’s a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. COLOUR: Go with a print that will match your colouring – eg if you have warm, toasty tones in your skin/eyes/hair colour then the browns, bronzes and earth colours of leopard and giraffe print will work for you. But if you’re a cool profile with deep hair and eyes and a high contrast between your skin tone and hair/eye colour, then a zebra or snake print or something that also has a high contrast will be better for you. Knowing your colour profile (in general) will help you find what you’re after more quickly and also avoid costly wardrobe mistakes.
  2. SCALE: If you are fine boned and petite then your frame will be overwhelmed by large amounts of print or a print with a large pattern – ie bold stripes and large ‘spots’. A smaller print will work best for you.  However if you are fuller figured and/or taller then you can carry off larger areas of print and also a larger scale print.

How to wear animal prints

  • Scarf: if you really just want to ‘dip your toe in the water’ with this trend then consider a scarf tied around your handbag strap, to ease you into it (Myer, DJs, Sportscraft, Portmans, Diva, Temt).
  • Bangle: for ‘toe-dippers’ there are also several really smart leopard and other jungle print bangles around in chunky resin styles (Lovisa, Mouche and Diva) . These work well to liven up a black outfit, but also complement cream, red or earth tones very well. Or if you’re really not sure sure then perhaps an animal print handbag hook (Myer) will give you a way to express your wild side safely.
  • Sunglasses: Another good way to try it out without being overly dramatic. Leopard, giraffe, tiger stripe, or tortoiseshell acetate frames will work well on those with warm and not too light colouring.
  • Belt: Alternatively you could consider incorporating a leopard or crocodile print belt (Sportscraft, Valley Girl, Glassons, Myer, Portmans) either with jeans, or worn over a slim line shirt, jacket or cardigan with black pants or skirt. If you are going to wear a belt this way, work with your body shape and emphasise your narrowest part or use it to enlongate your torso.
  • Shoes: If you’re bold go for all out sex-appeal in high heeled leopard pumps (Nine West) or to downplay it leopard loafers (Sportscraft). Snake or crocodile print is also a good way to bring some animal print into your wardrobe without being too OTT.
  • Cardigan: I have found several very smart slim cut ‘twin-set’ style cardigans (Basque, Ezi-Buy ‘Emerge’, Wheels & Doll Baby) in leopard print …in colours from very earthy browns and black through to delicate cream, pale pinks and grey. These look great teamed with simple black, tan or cream pants or worn over a dress in these colours.
  • Trench: If you really want to amp up the drama and the ‘wow factor’ then an animal print trench may be more your speed. Bear in mind with this look that you will be noticed, so walk talk, smile and enjoy the attention.

If you have more thoughts on how the animal print trend can be adapted to suit women of all ages and sizes then please share your comments below. I’d love to hear how you wear it.

Author’s note: I have no affiliation with any of the stores mentioned here and receive no incentives or ‘kickbacks’ from them.

To find out more about how your image can influence your personal and professional goals visit My Personal Stylist

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