Leopard Print Clothing: Sexy Animal Prints Are Not Endangered Style Species

Leopard print clothing and animal prints have been stylish so long, it isn't fair to call them a trend.

I've been thinking since I started writing Fashion After 50 that leopard and faux animal prints garments and accessories would go out of favor. I am wrong.

Seasonal preferences may change from leopard to zebra to snakeskin to pony prints and beyond, but there is no sign this style is becoming endangered.

Real Simple magazine declared that animal prints are one of six timeless styles (see Daly and Sanchez-Lincoln, Sept. 2013).

Animal Prints Are Style Investment with Perennial Payoff

Hardly a fashion, popular culture, or celebrity magazine has not covered animal print styles during the last four years.

We can indulge our taste for animal print clothing without wiping out entire species, and faux fabrics are a fun way to express our inner wild woman.

Whether you choose an animal print in traditional neutral colors or a zingy neon clone, you can't go wrong.

Leopard and animal print handbags, shoes, belts, and accessories are classics in their own right.

If you are looking at cost-per-wearing for your basic wardrobe purchases, you may buy accessories with confidence that you will be able to use them for years to come.

Faux Fur Vests and the 2014-2015 Winter Winner

Cozy, plush faux fur vests are a good bet for sprucing up your winter wardrobe.

If you long for leggings but are concerned that you are too old for this style, team a bulky animal print vest with a tunic top and nice tall boots. Make sure the leggings smooth and enhance your thighs.

Leather gloves and a fetching hat to keep your ears warm will complete this cunning ensemble.

Leopard Print Clothing Has Long Popularity

Animal skins were stylish long before Bob Dylan crooned Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat in 1966, and promises to remain fashionable for generations more.

Katie L. Conner wrote in Marie-Claire (Oct. 2009) that leopard print was made famous by designer Norman Norrell in the 1940s.

Conner adds that leopard “has been a symbol of luxury and glamour for decades. Everyone from Versace and Cavalli to Marc Jacobs and Matthew Williamson has put a signature spin on the pattern,” notes Conner.

Black, brown, taupe, and white are the usual colors to mate with leopard prints.

For extra spark, that is simultaneously retro and fresh, try wearing a leopard print skirt, blouse or accessory with bright teal color, mauve, or the color coral or tangerine.

How Many Ways Can You Use Leopard in Your Wardrobe?

From dresses to accessories, exotic faux skin prints for women's clothing and fashion accessories are among the trendiest accents to add to your wardrobe.

Animal print shoes may spark an outfit that is a solid neutral or a brighter color, such as pink, red, or yellow.

Accessorize for a Pop of Faux Animal Print Style

A classy leopard skin belt or bangle adds glamor and sophistication to black, charcoal, or brown.

Animal print fabrics add fun, drama, and glamor to your wardrobe.

As the perennial appeal of vintage leopard skin, alligator, and snakeskin apparel shows, leopard-print-clothing is an investment that will earn great interest now and in the future.

Why Faux Is the Way to Go

Two articles from the New Zealand National Archives Library online remind us just how long exotic animal skins have been a style favorite -- and the terrible toll this fashion yen has had on the environment.

The statistics from this 1912 article are horrifying.

The Evening Times reported on Feb. 12, 1912, "The skins of wild beasts, such as the leopard, tiger, and jaguar are transformed into coats and are used as trimmings in the forms of collars, cuffs, and hembands upon mantles and jackets. . . . furs have been worn throughout the summer, and the peltry makers anticipate a great fur winter" (p. 7).

That same paper noted on Nov. 25, 1913, that the fashion trend was decimating wildlife populations.

Siberia, 1912, The Death Count

In Siberia alone, the dead were:

  • 4.5 million squirrels
  • 1.5 million white hares (for fake ermine)
  • 1.2 million sable
  • 200,000 real ermine
  • 200,000 skunk
  • 200,000 pole cats
  • 16,500 gray wolves
  • 1500 brown bears.

It makes a heart glad that there are so many bright fakes to make sure that animal prints are fun to wear.

Today's fabric technologists are creating manufacturing miracle textiles. We can wear giraffe print fabric and other magnificent faux animal fabrics guilt-free.

The casual aura of khaki slacks or jacket offers an interesting counterpoint to the implied sophistication of leopard print clothing and animal print fabrics.

The whimsical trendiness of neon leopard prints will keep the outfit casual. Avoid something super sheer or light, such as a silk blouse. This texture will not complement cotton twill fabric.

A faux fur muffler or infinity scarf, a leopard print beret, shoes, or handbag will provide just the right touch for afternoon lunch or going to the movies on Saturday night.

Pale yellow will fade in leopard print, but a bright shade, such as taxi-cab yellow, will add a bold touch to black-and-white zebra print clothing.

The Color Yellow Sparks Creativity and Appetite will tell you how to use this sunny shade in your wardrobe.

I'm crazy about red, a bright counterpoint for animal-skin prints; you'll find out why here.

> > Leopard Print Clothing

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