Go Wild: A Guide to Styling Animal Print
As the seasons change, I always start looking through my closet to see what I still like from last year. Usually, I have a decent amount of clothes I still love or sometimes I find pieces that I completely forgot about that I’m excited to wear again. Once I sort through everything, I like to put together a list of what I feel like I’m missing or what I have that’s gone out of style. Each season I like to add a few new trendy pieces to refresh my wardrobe.
One of the biggest trends right now is animal print, which I love because it can be cute or edgy, depending on how you style it. However, it can be difficult to style animal print because bold patterns are difficult to wear with anything except solid neutral colors. Or, if you’re like me and don’t normally wear a lot of colorful prints, wearing animal print can make you feel more like you stepped out of a bad 80s music video rather than off the runway at New York Fashion Week. Luckily, animal print is easy to dress up or down with just a few tricks.
Start Small: Utilize Textures
Shop the Look: Chic Pointed Toe Snake Skin Booties
Let’s start by shedding the idea that animal print has to be a pattern! Yes it’s called animal print, but think of it more as “animal inspired.” One of my favorite animal-inspired trends is colorful faux fur. Unnatural colors like pink and teal or more natural tans and beiges both look beautiful as jackets, trim, sweaters, and more. Simply style these monochrome pieces with basics like skinny jeans and a bodysuit and you’ve got a classic upscale look.
Another fun textural piece is monochrome shoes with animal print texture, like these cute booties! From a distance, these look like classic solid color booties but a closer look reveals the subtle edgy snake texture. I styled these textured booties with the timeless denim and white turtleneck combo, then grabbed a couple black accessories. This is a great option if you have a strict work dress code, if you aren’t big on color but still want to up your style game, or just for a little change!
Shop the Look: Sassy Diva Animal Print High Heels
So you like animal print, but not *that* much? Or maybe it’s just overwhelming trying to change your whole look? Don’t stress! You can wear animal print without feeling like you’re being stared at like a creature in the zoo. Incorporate small items or subtle print into what you already wear or add a single bold accent piece! Start small, with accessories like a faux crocodile skin clutch, lizard print earrings or a decorative leopard print hair tie. Not all animal print has to actually be animal print though! Look for more subtle or abstract animal prints, like faux crocodile skin boots in a dark brown or a snakeskin print skirt that’s a little more ‘subtle reptile’ than “oh did you just skin a snake?” These subtle patterns and smaller items are fun and trendy yet are still easy to match with your outfits and they don’t take over your whole look.
To build an outfit with an accent piece, start by picking one bold item, like a dress, pair of shoes or a pair of pants. Then, build the rest of your outfit around that piece using neutral, solid tones like black, tan or white. For example, I’ll pair a snake print pants with a chunky white sweater and black faux suede booties. Another easy look is monochrome plus animal print. All-black isn’t much to look at, but try these tiger striped stilettos paired with an all-black ensemble and you'll be turning heads! Both of these looks let the animal print be the focus of the outfit and keeps the whole look clean and simple.
Start small, with accessories like a faux crocodile skin clutch, lizard print earrings or a decorative leopard print hair tie. Not all animal print has to actually be animal print though! Look for more subtle or abstract animal prints, like faux crocodile skin boots in a dark brown or a snakeskin print skirt that’s a little more ‘subtle reptile’ than “oh did you just skin a snake?” These subtle patterns and smaller items are fun and trendy yet are still easy to match with your outfits and they don’t take over your whole look.
Once you’ve reached this stage, you know you’ve tamed the animal print! Get that NYC street style vibe by mixing bold animal prints with more bold patterns, textures and even seasons! Try leopard print with more leopard print or snake print with rainbow colored bold geometric print. Pair a leopard print trench coat with a bright pink turtleneck, black plaid pants and leopard print booties! And don’t stop at mixing patterns; mix materials, styles, and more. I styled this bright red silky leopard print midi skirt with a cowl neck sweater and crocodile print booties then tied the look together with a wide brim black felt hat. The biggest key to styling animal prints is to make it intentional and to carry yourself with confidence. After all, the only rule that matters in fashion is to break the rules!
I hope this guide helps you tackle the animal print trend with confidence! If you post your looks, remember to tag us @shopshoetopia or with #shopshoetopia!