Not so long ago, animal prints were about as stylish as me building a Celtic Roundhouse in the woods on a drizzly Wednesday (don’t ask), but these days they are ALL the rage. Leopard print has been a Front Row favourite for a few years now, but this season it has prowled into the mainstream, managing to straddle that tricky divide of being ‘on-trend’, but also a classic. Snakeskin, on the other hand, has been in the sartorial woods for a little longer. Lesser spotted than leopard, it’s now having its turn in the spotlight and is beloved by serious fashionistas and those looking for a new take on the animal trend. With both prints offering some serious style points, which print tribe are you?
Why? The classic. The Firm Fashion Favourite. The ‘New Neutral’. Leopard print shook off its Bett Lynch connotations years ago, possibly around the time that French Voguettes like Emmanuelle Alt adopted it and made it their stylish own. Last year, you couldn’t call yourself a blogger unless you owned a faux fur leopard print coat or a pair of leopard print shoes (both of us are guilty as charged), and this year, the trend has spread to dresses, trousers, shirts and well, everything! Yes, it is BIG, yes, there are a few people wearing it (although not in my village!), yes, that might put you off, but don’t worry, the leopard-lunacy will die down and it’ll go back to being a classic that you need in your wardrobe…
Wear…leopard if you are a naturally classic dresser, but want to feel a tiny bit edgy, as despite it being adopted by the likes of Boden and Next, it still gives off that slightly ‘cool’ air, even if you’re just jumping into the car to do the school run. Accessories are always a good place to start – a bag, a belt, shoes – these will all help you look ‘in the know’ now, but will also stand the test of time and look good next year and for years after. If you’re feeling braver then go for a coat – faux fur is always fabulous – or a shirt (I have long lusted after this one by Lily & Lionel), whilst the hardcore leopard lovers are embracing skirts or dresses this season.
- Silk chiffon blouse, £249, Ridley London (skirt also available); 2. Lizzy faux fur coat, £220, Hush; 3. Scarf, £18, TAE; 4. Cashmere wristwarmers, £49, TAE; 5. Ruffled Frankie blouse, £140, Lily & Lionel; 6. Roseberry boots, £140, Boden; 7. Oversized leopard sweater, £69, &OtherStories; 8. Leopard dress, £39.99, H&M;
Why? Lenny Kravitz, Steve Tyler, Rod Stewart….these hoary old rockers are what I used to associate with snakeskin. You too? Well, banish all thoughts of tight ball-hugging trousers from your mind as snakeskin is the fashionista choice of animal print this year. If you are – whisper – just not that into leopard, then snakeskin might just be for you. Having tried and fallen in love with a snakeskin effect skirt from Zara last week, I am now a convert, even buying a pair of snakeskin leather-effect leggings from Zara on Monday! I also spied a snakeskin bag by Amanda Wakeley for QVC on the gorgeous Chloe Loves to Shop’s Instagram feed, which I am now slightly obsessed with, so it’s safe to say, snakeskin is firmly on my radar. It looks cool, it feels cool and it feels new. Snakeskin definitely has a rock’n’roll edge, that 70s groupie/Almost Famous vibe about it, which is something I’ve always loved, and I’m firmly on board.
- Silk python print trousers, now £80 (down from £210) Mercy Delta; 2. Snake pinafore dress (wear over a polo), £65, Topshop; 3. Snakeskin skirt, £49.99, Zara; 4. Snake effect hobo, £29, Topshop; 5. Stowe python silk shirt, £230, Mercy Delta; 6. Faux snakeskin leggings, £25.99, Zara. 7. Pleated skirt, £39.99, H&M; 8. Snakeskin dress, £79.99, Mango