Friday, July 18, 2008

Leopard Print...A Fashion Do or Don't???

This is the first of what will be ongoing "Fashion Do's and Don'ts " posts. Being a boutique owner, many friends and customers are turning more and more to my opinion on what is ok to wear in real life, vs. what is best left for the runway and celebrities. So, I thought it would be fun and hopefully helpful to have some blogs offering up some fashion wisdom:)

While on vacation this summer in St. Louis and Lake of the Ozarks, MO, I noticed that many women are trying out leopard print in all sorts of applications....I saw it on bags, dresses, shoes, swimsuits and more. And, indeed this is something that the fashion magazines and runways are alive with this year. In fact, one of the brands we carry at Flourish Boutique is Rebecca Taylor. Rebecca Taylor is known for doing tops, dresses, and more in different color variations of leopard print, and we will be carrying some of these pieces at our store this fall. SO, it would be easy enough for me to say; "Yes, this is something that you should incorporate into your wardrobe and wear with no fear!" However, even though leopard print is even a personal favorite, I think it deserves more elaboration and some guidelines in order to make it truly work as a FASHION DO!
So here we are some basic guidelines so you can better wear the felines:)

1. NEVER, repeat never, wear (or carry) anything leopard print that is made with actual fake fur. I have seen bags, parts of shoes, and even skirts made with acrylic-like fake fur in leopard prints. Leopard print is bold enough that it can look tacky if you are not mixing it with a cheap texture makes it look really over the top!

2. Leopard print is best worn in small accent details. Here are some examples of ways it might look good; as a small scarf tied around the neck, in jewelry pieces, on a part of a shoe, on a handbag, on a headband, on a belt, or even on a shirt that is then layered under a blazer or sweater. This means stay away from wearing multiple pieces of leopard print at the same time, an entire coat made with leopard print, tall leopard patterned boots, etc.

3. When wearing leopard print, make sure your other clothing items are conservative. Leopard print can in addition to looking tacky, also look too seductive for the workplace, school, church, etc. How do you make sure your adorable leopard print fashion items don't send the wrong message? Wear the leopard print belt on a conservative dress or with a long black pencil skirt? Don't wear leopard print short skirts, over the knee boots, tank tops, or with low cut tops.

4. Keep your other items simple and monochromatic, when wearing leopard print. Mix leopard print with all brown, all black, soft pinks and peaches, camel, or white. Do not mix it with hot pink, other animal prints like zebra or cheetah. Plus, keep your jewelry understated too.

5. Lastly, the more you weigh and/or the older you are, the less your leopard print details should be...This one may seem a little confusing, but let me explain. If you are young and slender you could get away with a leopard print sheer tunic, with a cami underneath, worn with dark jeans, and sandals....(*We have a tunic like this at Flourish, pictured on the right)...The whole top, being a soft leopard print, works fine on your age and body type....however, add a few years and a few pounds and this kind of top can draw attention to the wrong places...It would be best as a more mature woman to pair a leopard print belt with a black fitted suit...or wear a black top, with dark wash jeans, and black pumps with a small leopard print detail on the toe box. Or...feel free to wear the all-over leopard print tunic, but wear a denim jacket or cardigan layered on top.

So, I think that pretty much sums up my thoughts on leopard print: a pattern that can be fashion forward and feminine...or it can go terribly wrong and send the wrong message. Use these tips and you're sure to be a FASHION DO!

Now, just for are some pictures and examples to help even more.
From the Pool at my vacation in MO:
One good leopard print poolside ensemble and one bad...

Why it's bad: Leopard print, when
worn as a bikini, should be worn on only
the very best, most in shape body types...
while this woman has a cute shape, she chose the
wrong pattern to wear with such a skimpy
swimsuit....the suit is revealing too
much skin for age and then
combined with the tricky pattern it ends
up looking tacky. She would have been
better off wearing an all black one-piece
halter suit with a small leopard print stripe
across the neckline and into the halter ties.

Why it's good: A Leopard print
swimsuit is in and of itself somewhat it's important to wear layers, as this adorable mom has. By pairing her leopard print suit (which has more conservative lines) with a simple solid cover-up, she has toned down the bold pattern and correctly made the leopard print a fun accent rather than the focus.

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