I recently got a question via the FFM facebook page asking me for tips regarding wearing animal prints in a classy way . This is a great question, thank you Leah!
The animal print trend has become more mainstream for the past few years but surprisingly to some it is considered a classic and it has always been a favorite of the fashion set .The key factor is quality and MODERATION :).
My oldest daughter in college who is an avid fashion/urban style watcher was telling me some horror stories of animal prints gone wrong (one horror involved a too tight cheap leopard print leggings where the print was used only on one leg while the other leg featured a leopard who not only looked distended but seemed to be about to bite the unfortunate wearer on the inner thigh....LOL it was so bad, I wish she would have taken a picture).
But back to our topic :) . Every year during the fall/winter season it seems that fashion goes a little wild print wise. Why? you may wonder...Mainly because animal prints are a cool fashion staple. I am delighted to see that more of us frummies have embraced leopard, zebra and tiger as eagerly as we do cashmere,twin sets, merino and cable-knits as temperatures get chilly. Gray python is also in but i am not sure how well it will catch in our circles as we are not exactly snake fans are we? ;)
I think this animal print going mainstream has a lot to do with the LOVE designers at Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo and Michael Kors (to name just a few) have shown for the print over the years. Animal prints may be considered a "new neutral" but that doesn’t mean that exploring the wild side of prints doesn’t still come with its own set of "risks". Some communities are more conservative than others so follow and respect your local sensitivities when choosing to prowl your local urban jungle with class and style.
Very conservative community ? no prob :) keep it VERY low key with accessories.
Indulge your inner cat woman with a leopard print scarf to liven up a black coat ,try it in gray hues if the traditional cheeta is too much for your crowd, a classic shaped purse or (my personal favorite) a pair of cute animal print flats will make you feel instantly trendy but not too bold.Worse comes to worse , wear the print as undergarments ;)
NEVER mix and match.
Say you are wearing a leopard print skirt....Please do leave your other leopard print accessories at home ! less is more should be your mantra here. The layering up of animal prints is hard to keep classy even for style veterans and should only be attempted by the pros (aka Cavalli runway). In the real world ...specially frum world, stick to one animal print detail per outfit. A print I absolutely LOATHE is cow print. It is IMNSHO NEVER cute! ....LOL. PLEASE never wear it on a dress unless is purim and you are trying very hard to look like a cow ,never wear when pregnant either...
*Do experiment with color and pattern.
You can wear a cute skirt or top in animal print and just pair it with a solid color in a flattering hue . I personally LOVE wearing my animal print skirt with a striped turtleneck ,flat boots and a black cardigan. I have even done a floral blouse underneath a animal print sweater and a coordinating skirt :)
*Biggest Issue when trying to wear this print : Don’t go too sexy.
The reason why many consider this print a no,no for Frum ladies is that they feel that animal prints ooze THAT kind appeal (you know ,the sexy kind ) ...so to keep the look dignified use your common sense and obviously stay away from boudoir staples like shiny satins, lace trims and the too small or tight over all look (you know ,the cheap snooky look ) The goal is to have fun with the print but avoid wandering into sleazy territory.
* Hair and makeup Issues :
Be aware of your hair and makeup when wearing animal prints. try to balance your look by going simple and classic and ideally light , a Red lip can easily push the look to the "dark side" . I like wearing my pearl earrings and my hair in a classic bun ,neutral makeup, I avoid big earrings when wearing animal print ,I just feel it cheapens the overall look.
Hope this helps my readers .