How to Look Classy with Leopard Print

by Anna Villaruel
(Seoul, South Korea)

May 15, 2012: Leopard prints are timeless and can be worn all-year-around without looking outdated. It might appear “loud” for fashionistas who appreciate solids but this print can be a great way to step out of the box and add a pop of the unexpected! This trendy but classic statement print is easy to wear and can be worn tastefully.

Let’s take a look at how you can look classy with leopard print..

How to look classy-chic with leopard print
Courtesy of Celebutopia (left) - Amber Easy Petite Looks (center) - INF Daily (right)


A couple of do’s and don’t’s of wearing leopard print

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re out shopping for leopard print clothes and accessories. For me personally, these are my general do’s and don’ts that help narrow down my search and pick out a leopard print piece that go hand in hand with a Classic fashion persona. These guidelines also create an aesthetically pleasing look.

  • Don’t wear more than one piece of leopard print at a time.
  • Don’t wear it with other loud pieces if you don’t have the right style and attitude to go with it
  • Do invest in a leopard print piece in a neutral to guarantee the flexibility of your closet. Colorized in shades of pink, blue, or yellow are harder to combine
  • Do mix and match it with other prints (guidelines apply)
  • Do buy a leopard piece that has clean, classic lines. For example, a shift dress or a knee-length pencil skirt. You can be naughty and nice :-)

Leopard print + Neutrals

A sure-fire way to retain your classy look with leopard print is to keep the color combo simple with soothing neutrals such as nudes, browns, black, dark navy blues and olive greens. These versatile colors are usually “emotion-less” and help balance out with the sexy animal print.

Pair leopard print with neutral colors
Product info: Dress - Blazer - Sandals

Have fun with print and color-mixing


And since the classic leopard print already consists of neutral beige and brown, it can be paired with other colors without looking too much (check out the hottest colors this spring/summertime).

Olivia Palermo (left) adds the unexpected with trendy high heels in pink and purple. No Pants Tuesday (center) combines her casual leopard print top with a floral pencil skirt, giving the ensemble a fun and flirty look. Mana1 (right) injects a pop of color that also ties in with the leopard print with mustard yellow, giving a chic look with finesse.

Wear leopard print with a pop of color or print
Courtesy of Celebutopia (left) - No Pants Tuesday (center) - Mana1 (right)

Another outfit example can be seen on Rachel Bilson below. She combined red pants with leopard print pumps. She also had fun with this outfit by print mixing the pumps with a floral blouse.

The reason why this combination works so well is because of the reds in the blouse which tie in with the pants, making it look like a suit. The color scheme flows better with the leopard pumps this way and doesn't look cluttered.

Rachel Bilson print mixing leopard pumps with floral blouse
Courtesy of Getty Images

Leopard print + Wardrobe Essentials

Think Wardrobe Essentials and classics like a pair of black pumps, pearl earrings and tailored blazers. In general, these are foolproof pieces that can turn most clothing styles into a chic look – creating a fresh juxtaposition with sleek and trendy.

Wear leopard print with the Wardrobe Essentials such as pearl stud earrings, black tailored blazer, black pump and clutch purse
Product info: Dress - Earrings - Blazer - Purse - Pumps

If you're wearing a fitted leopard-print garment such as a dress or skirt, you'd want to make sure to balance it out with a looser, casual piece to avoid looking tacky. Or if you want to go for a revealing leopard-print piece such as a short skirt or shorts or a tank top, I recommend pairing it with a modest garment like a blouse that provides coverage or a bottom that covers more of your legs.

Take Baby Steps with Leopard-print Accessories

If you’re shy but still want to dip your toes in this attention-grabbing print, then start small by wearing one leopard-print accessory, such as a pair of pumps, clutch purse or a scarf. Try the Little Black Dress with leopard-print purse or a tee-and-jeans outfit with a leopard scarf. Or do a subtle print mix-combo with floral or polkadot clothing with leopard.

Start small with leopar print accessories
Product info: 1. Pumps - 2. Flats - 3. Sunglasses - 4. Purse - 5. Tote bag - 6. Scarf



So what do you lovelies think? Yay or nay to leopard print?

Comments for How to Look Classy with Leopard Print

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 12, 2013
still fresh NEW
by: Denise

I have had my classic lepared print scarf for 13 years and it still looks current.

Jan 04, 2013
Leo trying to overcome shyness NEW
by: Caasi

I've always been confused on how to wear leopard without looking like I raided Peg Bundy's closet. Definitly going to try these :)

Jun 17, 2012
A definite 'Yay' but well-dosed! NEW
by: Expat50

Last night I was invited to a very chic cocktail party in probably one of the chicest spots in the world: Le Petit Palais, just a stroll down le Jardin des Tuileries from Le Louvre. The invitation stated 18.00 to 21.00pm. A tricky hour to dress for, since few people would have time to go home from work first.

So I decided to wear one of my simpler little black dresses to the office (a scoop neck A-line, knee-skimming one). Using this as my basis, I went to the rest room at the office and added an opera length rope of cultured pearls (to match the stud earrings I was already wearing), put on a very sheer (10denier) pair of black stockings, and swapped my ballet flats for leopard-print Louboutin stilettos. I vamped up my make-up, added my favourite Guerlain perfume, and put my essentials into a classic Chanel quilted bag with a fine shoulder chain (black, of course). That small dose of leopard print on my stilettos made all the difference. It was a discreet use of something that can be tricky to pull off, yet it was the transforming note that took my LBD to a swish cocktail. (I have a classic style, so - as with everything, really - LESS leopard-print was definitely MORE!)

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More Shopping & Chic Inspiration at the TCF Blog:
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