Animal Prints Roar

Animal prints are a perennial fashion favorite, and they are back again this fall. Leopard print coats in particular are seemingly ubiquitous, although they require a certain energy to wear. These are not coats for those with shy, sweet personalities. These coats are attention-getters. Below, a sampling of this season’s leopard print coat offerings, from the August issue of InStyle magazine.

The high-energy symbolism of the leopard coat can be seen, for example, when beleaguered advice columnist Plum Kettle, the protagonist of Dietland on AMC, begins to step out from her old life and routines on the road to self-discovery. A newly exuberant Plum appears in several episodes wearing a leopard print coat.

If you love animal prints but a full-length coat may be a bit too much – trust your instincts here—there are all manner of accessories and garments that can bring a dash of animal print without taking over the look. Some examples can be seen in the fashion spread from the September 2018 issue of Glamour pictured above. The leopard print blouse would be striking with black slacks, skirt or suit.

A revved-up variation on the animal print is Gucci’s vibrant panther print. Singer and actress Kesha is lost in the Gucci dress she wears pictured in the August 27, 2018 issue of People. The print draws the eye, and the lovely woman wearing it is not the focus. Contrast that with singer Nick Cannon wearing a tracksuit made of the same panther print material. Cannon’s energy rocks the print; it doesn’t wear him.

If the energy conveyed by the print suits your personal energy, it can be a great match.

Getting the Max from Maximalist Fashion

As stated in the September 2017 issue of InStyle magazine:  “The latest way to express yourself? However you damn well please.”

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Or put another way, also quoted in the magazine, picturing two over-the-top looks by Gucci, “Getting dressed has never been such a party.”

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The looks are conversation starters, to be sure, but keep in mind that the conversation will be largely about the clothes. Authentic personal expression should be the foundation for every such display of exuberant dress. If the look makes you feel joyful, go for it. That excitement will come through in those conversations the clothes start.

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A variation on the theme utilizes animal prints as the main component of an ensemble. Eye-catching, to be sure, but the wearer can get lost in all those feline motifs. Be mindful that animal prints are a sexy motif and can easily overwhelm one’s personal style.

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In a fashion spread celebrating the art of embroidered fashions in the August issue of InStyle, actress Camilla Belle remarks: “It might seem too busy or colorful at first, but somehow it just works.”

Trust your instincts. If you get lost in your ensemble so that it is wearing you, give that maximalist look a pass. On the other hand, if the exuberance of the ensemble makes you smile from ear to ear, go for it!  Don’t be afraid to break a few rules. Celebrate! Have fun with fashion.

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Don’t Ever Let a Print Wear You

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is so lovely that one would think it almost impossible to make her look bad in a fashion spread.

Indeed, she looks radiant on the cover of the December 2012 issue of InStyle magazine in a dress and belt by Nina Ricci accented with beautifully chosen jewelry by Fred Leighton. Notice how the staggered chunky bracelets visually repeat the pattern of the serrated lacy edge of her dress.

Peer inside the magazine, however, and you will see Zeta-Jones photographed sitting in a Stella McCartney leopard-print coat worn over a Dolce  Gabbana dress and Valentino Garavani heels.  The print visually enlarges the coat, with the result that the wearer appears to be twice the size of Zeta-Jones. The print is so dominant and visually overpowering that one barely notices that the woman wearing it is Zeta-Jones.

The coat does no favors for the jewelry selected either. Zeta-Jones is wearing a pair of stunning diamond, platinum and 18kt gold vintage brooches from Beladora.com, one placed above the other under her face near the top of the print coat. The soft gold designs are completely lost against the busy animal print.

Animal prints are perennially popular, but always step back, look in a mirror, and consider the big picture. Never wear a print that wears you.