How to wear leopard print

I’m not generally a pattern kind of fashion-wearing-chick.

I make exceptions for stripes, spots … and leopard print. All classic patterns and ones I can buy safe in the knowledge that they’ll be faithful to me for many a fashion season to come.

Today I’m talking about how to wear leopard print because there is a lot of it around this particular winter.

It might be a classic trend that you’ve wanted to try but haven’t known where to start.

It might be a trend that you consider your signature style and are looking for some new ways in which to embrace your inner fashion feline.

You might just be after some leopard print shopping suggestions.

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

How to wear leopard print Sussan dress

Sussan dress $129.95

Style tips

1. Consider leopard print as a neutral. This is a good thing to take on board if you’re trying to get your head around how you’d actually wear this print. Whether you’re opting for leopard in a pant, skirt or top, know you’re doing so with so many possible wardrobe mate options. See below.

2. Pop an outfit with a leopard print accessory. This is a good place to start if the concept of leopard print is a little daunting. Think a scarf, shoes or bag … any of these accessories will get noticed in a good way.

3. Avoid the leopard print overwhelm. Or not. It’s up to you. I believe leopard print has most impact when it forms a focal point of your outfit – not the entire outfit. If you think it’s too much near your face, stick to accessories and pants or skirts.

4. Work leopard print back with with other neutrals. One of the easiest ways to wear leopard print clothing pieces is by teaming them with black, white or stone colours. This is such a crisp, timeless look. Works every time. Denim and chambray are also considered neutrals and they also make good leopard print partners.

5. Work leopard print back with a pop of colour. Leopard print is also roaring screaming out for a block colour wardrobe mate. My picks are fuchsia, emerald green, orange and red.

6. Work leopard print back with stripes. This is about the extent to which I pattern clash. And considering that I approach both stripes and leopard print as neutrals then I’m not really clashing, am I? I love the look of a leopard print scarf or bag with black or navy and white stripes and jeans. Add in a pop of red in a pair of shoes and hear me roar.

Ok enough of the roaring puns and Katy Perry lyrics, for more style inspiration, check out my animal print board on Pinterest. Or come shopping …

Shopping suggestions

Where to shop leopard print AW14 1. Sussan skirt $79.95 |  2. Peter Morrissey for Big W jacket $40 |  3. Blue Illusion bag $159.95 | 4. Motto leggings $69.95 | 5. Country Road shoes $149 | 6. Seed scarf $49.95 | 7. Rockport wedges $189.95 @ Styletread | 8. Trenery belt $79.95 | | 9. Blue Bungalow pants $49

Ok, over to you … do you embrace your inner fashion feline? With a purr or a loud roar?

PS. My blogging mate Sonia (Sonia Styling) has a “thing” for leopard print. Particularly when worn with pink. It’s become her signature and she does it very well. Follow her #everydaystyle on Instagram.

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  • Great tips Nikki – long live the leopard for instant chic and glamour! Love it mixed with a stripe, but haven’t tried it yet. Eyeing off that Morrissey blazer x K

  • Love your tips as always. Also – HOT TIP – there are really similar leopard loafers at Target for a fraction of the price 😉

  • I have a shirt and a scarf but I hardly wear them. Might need to set myself a challenge.

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  • Julie

    I love a bit of animal print Nikki – that Sussan dress is lovely – thanks for the inspiration: yesterday I wore a navy striped tee with my bargain $5 leopard print scarf in blue, green and grey, with my CR animal print flats! xx

  • I love leopard print. I have quite a few pieces but I only wear one at a time of course! I haven’t tried leopard with stripes. Will have to give that a go. How hot is that Sussan dress and the Peter Morrissey blazer! Swoon. xx

    • I did stripes with a leopard print scarf last weekend – that’s the extent of my colour clashing!!

  • Dianne

    Hubby reckons it’s trashy but that hasn’t stopped me buying a couple of pieces… Maybe more now I know the secrets to styling it.

  • Janice Jones

    Love animal print have the lot tops scarves shoes pants trimmed gloves have not got a dress but love pairing it back with black camel but all time fave is flame

  • Sharon Coutman

    Leopard Print, let me see! 2 x Pencil Skirts, Cardi, Heels, Wedges, Flats, Clutch, Bag, 5 x scarfs, wrap, 6 x blouses, 1 jumper… Worn one item at a time though. That’d explain why i was stalking your pinterest post last night. Now don’t get me started on pops of leopard in home-wares.

  • Paula

    Trenery have a great leopard print blouse just in that I bought this week, there’s a shirt too, both lovely!

  • esteem empress

    I lurv leopard print…I’m drawn to it every time. Its my fav thing about winter.And I happy to say I’ve embraced your styling rules.

  • Kathryn

    I love leopard print, I bought a cardi from Sussan a few years ago and haul it out each winter, always get a compliment so it’s a favourite. I picked up a fine knit leopard jumper from Big W a few weeks ago, it’s in muted tones with a camel background. Add a few scarves and ballet flats to the collection. Oh, and some pants I bought that I LOVE but my partner is a bit iffy about! I have worn them but only with black or white, they are in the soft pant style. Love those loafers too.

    • Don’t you love being able to haul out a fashion piece and have it work for you again?! And re partners and fashion … they just don’t get it!!

  • mary_j_j

    That jacket is fabulous!! I think I have to rush off to Big W. Its too too good. Am yet to leap onboard the leopard print thing – and I think that is about to change!

    • Hope you got the jacket?!

      • mary_j_j

        Ha, I went and tried it on and decided against it. I know, out of character for me!

  • The Plumbette

    I have two leopardrint scarves and I just bought a pair of leopard print loafers this season. I have done the leopard print dress but I felt like an extra from the Flinstones so I tend to accessorise with leopard print.

    • LOL re the Flinstones Bec … I’m the same with most tops in leopard I try on.

  • HootinTootin

    I have a patent leopard print handbag which I love. It’s square and structured in shape and works well with most of my corporate wardrobe.

  • I’ve been wearing a lot of black and I’ve been eyeing off a pair of leopard flats for winter.

    • Sharon Coutman

      They are gorg Kat, im eyeing of the vans in leopard print myself

  • Petra

    I remember wearing leopard print and black patent loafers when I was 22 – wore them with jeans and always got comments. I don’t have any of that now but always feel I would like to introduce it again – for me it’s a “winter” design so a skirt or shoes would be my cup of tea! I like the look of that Sussan dress but I think one would need to be fairly slim and very confident to pull that one off! Thanks for sharing this Nikki.

    • Playing catch up with my comments Petra! Shoes – and those loafers – are a great way to bring in the trend!

  • Petra

    I remember wearing leopard print and black patent loafers when I was 22 – wore them with jeans and always got comments. I don’t have any of that now but always feel I would like to introduce it again – for me it’s a “winter” design so a skirt or shoes would be my cup of tea! I like the look of that Sussan dress but I think one would need to be fairly slim and very confident to pull that one off! Thanks for sharing this Nikki.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I like leopard print I have loafers and a scarf and bag and one cardi. I wouldn’t wear it head to toe though,I think it looks classy in small doses and is always chic,Great post Nikki!

  • I’ve only recently started incorporating leopard print as I was slightly scarred by a former boss who wore leopard print from head-to-toe (and not in a good way), so for a long time I associated with her (she was a scary boss too!). Now I love it for accessories – I’m wearing leopard print shoes right now – but I’m yet to go the whole way and buy an item of clothing. I think it might be time though!

    • I would feel the same if it happened to me Liz … leopard print overwhelm with a touch of nasty on the side! Shoes are always a good idea, leopard or no leopard!

  • Thanks so much for the special mention, Nikki! As you know, leopard print is most definitely My Thing and I absolutely treat it as a neutral. It’s a classic print that suits just about everyone. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Blue Bungalow to purchase my first ever pair of leopard print pants…

    • ROAARRRRRRRRRR … oh yes you are and they will be fabulous on you. Can’t wait to see them pop up in #everydaystyle x

  • I have only just started adding the leopard print into my closet over the last few years. I love that Sussan dress. I also have my eye on a fabulous one from French Connection as well. Now which one to buy. V x

    • Try them both on Vicki – the Sussan one is different with the white background so it will either work for you or not. Sounds like you need one of them in your wardrobe!!

  • Cheekie

    Love leopard print.
    Oh dear, memories of black heels, leopard print leggings and a red swing coat in the late 80s. Glad I did it, shame there are no pics!
    It’s all subtle now, a scarf (I have 5 of different colour ways of leopard print) and some hot pink or red lippy. Also I am in love with those Rockport shoes.

    • I think you could rock that now! Well at least the colour combination. The Rockport wedges would be comfortable but a great statement with jeans or black pants!

    • I think you could rock that now! Well at least the colour combination. The Rockport wedges would be comfortable but a great statement with jeans or black pants!

  • chile_chicken

    I don’t seem to suit animal print- and then I found a leopard print cardigan but in grey and I love it. I think the colour may not work for some people, but the pattern might, so I am pleased I found an alternative.

    • There are only certain undertone that work for me close to my face so I completely get that. I like my recent Motto leopard print pant purchase as I can wear the trend but put a block colour or neutral near my face.

  • Claire Chadwick

    I’m a huge animal print addict. I can’t seem to get enough of it this season. And I always love seeing Sonia’s IG piccies and how she styles her gorgeous leopard print pieces.

    Ooh- I love that Sussan dress in your title pic.


    • I go to put leopard print on and think … yes I’m channelling Sonia today!! Congrats on your new blog!

  • Great post Nikki. I love all these tips and am channelling them today – I’m wearing a black dress, tights and shoes and pops of leopard with a skinny belt and bag. Can you hear the roar from Melbourne! x

    • Oh yes I can Vanessa! hope you post up a photo in #everydaystyle!!

    • Kathy

      Visiting Melbourne in a few weeks from Perth. Any ‘reasonable’ store suggestions to visit? Thanks. K

  • merliyn

    something primal in us all I think nikki!
    I’m with bev and i have shoes and scarves and a purse …
    born in the year of the tiger i have to love a bit of animal lol m:)X

    • Go Merilyn! And my leopard print scarf is one of my faves – a few years old now but fabulous.

  • I’m definitely a purr…a shoe or scarf work best for me worn with cream, caramel, denim or black xx

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