Leopard print clothing and accessories are nothing new. We've seen them year after year, season after season, on everyone from bombshells to hipsters. Yet I've somehow never really gotten on board. (Well, I did buy ONE leopard print belt from Forever 21 after seeing Nanette Lepore's Fall 2009 collection. Otherwise, I own nothing with the print on it.)
But in the last three weeks, as fall has descended and I've started really thinking about what I wish I had in my closet, spots of leopard have flashed across my mind and my day-to-day life.
First, a friend of mine showed up at a fashion show in Raleigh wearing this fab AKA New York Leopard Cocoon Blouse tucked into a black pencil skirt and gorgeous vintage necklace.
AKA New York top from Shopbop
Then, I saw the photo above of Rachel Bilson looking nothing less than stunning in this leopard Roberto Cavalli gown.
Roberto Cavalli Silk Chiffon Gown from Net-A-Porter
And yesterday, I saw these precious leopard flats in InStyle magazine only after seeing a woman wearing a very similar pair of shoes looking casual yet polished in cuffed boyfriend jeans, a white tee and a long sweater.
Ann Taylor Perfect Leopard Flat
Is there some reason why I've been resisting the urge all these years? I've decided that I will give in this year but am allowed no more than two pieces with the print on it- maybe a pair of shoes and/or a top. That's it! And certainly no COLORED leopard print. (Dear readers, please, I beg you, stay away from florescent animal prints unless you are 12 years old and under!!!)
But back to the point. Perhaps the reason why this is the year for leopard is because it fits in so well with its camel counterparts. The classic camel colored bags, shoes and coats this year are certainly wardrobe staples. But to keep them from being too basic, maybe a little leopard is in order to jazz things up.
How about pairing this Ann Taylor leopard silk crepe blouse with these Christian Louboutin Bianca 140 suede pumps?
Or wouldn't a classic camel coat from J. Crew or one by Lover add an extra layer of ladylikeness to this long-sleeved dress from Victoria Secret?
Lover Cottage wool-felt coat from Net-A-Porter
J. Crew Double-Cloth Lady Day Coat
Finally, how about a camel sheath dress with a faux leopard print coat? It's ladylike and classic without being boring.
Free People Coat from Shopbop
J. Crew Wool Oragami Sheath Dress
I realize that this concept isn't exactly groundbreaking, but what has come as a surprise to me is how versatile this print can be. Just because you don the pattern, doesn't mean you'll instantly be transformed into Dita Von Teese. You can do leopard with sophistication and ease.
But in case you do want to invoke bombshell status, keep that Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Lipcolor handy.