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Animal Print 2.0

It is attention-grabbing, it is powerful and it is everywhere right now. Animal Print is not new but it has returned as a huge trend in 2019 and a lot of people are not so sure about how or whether to dip their toes in. This post is to answer questions I have been asked by a number of clients including:

  • How to wear it without looking trashy?
  • What message is it conveying? and
  • How to decide if it is for you?


Worn by Kings and African Tribal leaders alike, animal pelts have always been associated with wealth, status and power because of their scarcity and expense, however, its use as a fashion statement can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where women apparently stencilled leopard prints onto linen sheaths. In more recent times, women like actress Marian Nixon made it a symbol of Hollywood glamour in the 20s by wearing a Leopard skin coat whilst walking her pet leopard on a leash down Hollywood Boulevard. It has been favoured as a print rather than a fur since Dior muse Mitzah Bricard inspired the designer in the 40s to create a collection of silk-chiffon evening gowns and day dresses and has since become commonplace on the red carpet as well as the street worn by the sassy and sexy alike. If you have been turned off animal print because you saw one too many revealing, shiny, stretchy dresses, you can relax because the most recent iteration of animal print is far more casual and tasteful.


Right now, we are seeing a lot more diversity in an animal print out there. This modern take has a softer silhouette, is more chill and can be styled with ease to flatter and add depth to everyday outfits. It includes digital prints, coloured versions, print clashes, and more varieties than ever before. Think of pairing with a higher neckline, more volume and midi lengths and flats rather than the va-va-voom of yesteryear.


Animal print is stylistically amazing because of its texture, irregular shape and natural camouflage effect. The distinctly badass, bold message that comes from these design elements is naturally suited to women who have a dramatic rebellious or creative style personality (if you don’t know what this means, get your own style personality report here).  It can, however, be styled to suit a variety of personality types with ease. The secret is in the details!


Thinking that you can only wear animal print for evenings? Think again, modern animal print is wearable for all occasions, it’s just a matter of what you pair it with. For casual; keep it playful with flat, fun shoes; for Professional; ensure you are covered up and team with other structured items; For Evening; dare to pair it with a luxe fabric in a little more riské style; and for special occasions think full, flowing and finish with metallic accessories.


Animal print comes in a huge variety; Leopard, Cheetah and Snakeskin are some of the more popular varieties but expand your mind to the others: Zebra, Tiger, Ocelot, Giraffe, Cowhide & Dalmatian. Each of these prints has a different shape, contrast, temperature, background, texture & size and will have a different effect on your body and mood.

Questions to ask yourself when selecting animal print are:

  1. Is the print rounded or more angular/linear? This will have an effect on your facial features and can distort your overall silhouette. Cheetah, Ocelot & Dalmatian tend to be rounder whereas Zebra & Tiger are more angular and Leopard and Snakeskin are somewhere in between.
  2. Is there a lot of dark and light or is the colour more subtle & blended? The aim would be to match your natural levels of contrast, except where you really want to ramp up your impact which would usually require to make up o pull off the look.
  3. Is there a golden brown look or a crisp cool white/bluish tone? Depending on your natural colouring, you will be suited to one or the other. An easy way to find out is if you usually wear yellow gold, it is the golden brown that you need (like typical leopard print) whereas those that wear silver or white gold will want to select prints like snow leopard or zebra. The reason that it’s important to match your undertone is that it will compliment your colouring and the make-up/jewellery you already own. It will also help when choosing colours to pair it with.
  4. Is the background dark or light? Light backgrounds increase the apparent size of your body so if you see an item like this, ensure it’s strategically on part of your body you don’t mind magnifying or alternatively that the print is so dense that it’s not obvious.
  5. How much actual or visible texture does the print create? Remembering that texture adds apparent size, you may want to ensure it has great structure and balance to be worth the investment. Another idea would be to pair a heavily textured animal print item with something very sleek to keep your frame flattered.
  6. How big is the print? Medium-scale prints suit most people but if you want to upsize make sure you have height or personality to match. Likewise, a very fine print can make you look bigger if it’s too small for your bone structure.


Why not try it in small safe doses before you go head to toe? Add it to your wardrobe in an accessory like a scarf, shoes, belt, glasses or a bag.

That’s about enough of a safari into the world of animal prints but if you have any questions (about this or any other prints/personalities for that matter), feel free to email me at