How to wear leopard with your classic style wardrobe
I'm bringing leopard back
I gave up leopard three years ago because I was told it didn’t go with the bold hues in my wardrobe, and it’s true that SOME leopard prints don’t. But I’ve had leopard envy every since. I’ve missed it. A lot. It’s a very classic print, and it’s considered a neutral by many. It can also be tricky for a Classic Style Woman because of the colors and how busy the pattern can be. I decided there IS a place for leopard in MY wardrobe, and I went on the hunt until I figured out what is perfect for me!
the right leopard print
The problem with leopard is that it is typically variations of brown and very warm, which may not play nicely with bold hues (although if you read this post you know I recently bought some brown boots and I LOVE them). There are leopard prints that are are bold colors, like cobalt, with a black leopard print, or white leopard, and those definitely work. But that wasn’t the leopard I was missing. I wanted neutral leopard. Real leopard. Real leopards aren’t blue. Not all leopard prints are right for me, but I finally figured out what makes a leopard print work in my wardrobe.
The leopard print that is going to work with your classic wardrobe is going to be BLACK instead of brown. The base tan color needs to be cool instead of warm, and as close to your own skin tone as possible. For some of you, finding one that is two dimensional (only two colors) will be key, and for others, 3 colors will be fine. To really nail it, find one with black leather trim and it will match perfectly with your black bag!
how to wear leopard
The next potential problem with leopard is it’s busy, and as classics we tend to be drawn to neutrals, solids, stripes, plaid (which is still stripes, according to my husband), and occasionally other patterns in small doses according to our Classic Style Types. And for me that means I want to wear leopard in small doses, which would be accessories. Shoes, belts, and bags are where I feel most comfortable with a pattern like this.
I don’t know how I would feel about having that tan color up by my face with a scarf, and a shirt or pants would be way too much pattern for me. I’ve looked at a skirt or two, but even that feels like a lot to me. It might be perfect for you, though! We are all different in our preferences, so listen to what feels right for you. I most prefer to wear it with a predominantly neutral outfit, but I particularly like it with red.
I found my leopard flats on Poshmark, and I’ve been wearing them constantly. I. LOVE. THEM. They are black with a cool, light tan background, 2-dimensional pattern, mostly solid, and black leather. I wish these were still available in stores, but there are some available on Poshmark and Ebay. (The Lex-2 DV by Dolce Vita)
which classic style types should wear leopard
That’s a tricky question. I mean, on the one hand it’s pretty much a classic standard. Jackie Kennedy wore a full on leopard coat, which makes it pure Classic. But then again, so did Peg Bundy, so there’s that. It could be considered more Edgy Classic because leopards eat people, but Cute Classics like to play with other styles, and depending on the pattern it can resemble polka dots, so they may also enjoy it. Sporty classics might like it because it speaks to their inner hunter/outdoorswoman. Even Soft Classics may like it because the edges of the pattern are soft, and the pattern tends to be smaller scale. Which brings me back to the original theory that leopard is a purely classic pattern that all classics can enjoy, and the shape and details will make it more appropriate for one type or another. (Did that logic remind anyone else of Vizzini’s dizzying intellect in The Princess Bride?)
Remember that leopard may not be for you, and even though I found what works for me, it doesn’t mean you have to like it. This article may also be the permission slip you’ve been waiting for! Decide for yourself whether leopard has a home in your wardrobe.
where can i get some classic leopard
I found a few for you to check out. I wish mine were still available, but here are some others to try. If you aren’t sure if leopard print is right for you, look for something less expensive on Poshmark, Ebay, Tradsey, Mercari, ThredUp, etc. That’s what I do when I want to try out something I’m unsure of before I invest in something more expensive.
I chose varying shades of tan because we all have different skin tones. Mine are really light because I am. If you have a darker complexion, you will want something closer to your skin tone. Disclaimer: I did the best I could from online pictures. They may look different when they arrive.