September 8, 2011

You'll go wild for this fabulous leopard print dress

Day 251 of Vintage 365


Maybe it was my cat's recent birthday, perhaps it's how often my husband and I watch Animal planet (how awesome is Austin Stevens?!), or maybe it's simply the fact that it's always been my most favourite animal fur patterns, whatever the case, there's no denying that I've been feeling leopard print in a big way recently.

Leopard print falls in out out vogue as a trend, yet also has an endearingly timeless quality that ensure one can almost always find a piece or two  featuring this pattern in nearly any well stocked boutique or department store.

Some people shy away from leopard, fearing it's ability to quickly turn from sultry to trashy, but I think such folks do themselves (and their wardrobes) a disservice, as this classic pattern can look flat out amazing on anyone. The trick merely lies in the colours, size of the pattern and fit of the garment (and really, isn't the same true of just about all clothing?).

Those who have not given into their sartorial animal intuitions and donned leopard print before may be prefer to start small, say with a handbag (love this red rose adorned leopard print purse over at Plasticland!) or a pair of very pin-up worthy high heels (such as these gorgeous leopard print peep toe shoes), before venturing into to larger garments.

To the best of my memory, my first brush with this age-old feline pattern came all the way back in grade eight when I had a pink leopard patterned hair scrunchie. Though these days I keep my leopard print on the classic tan, brown, black and orange side, ever since then I've tried to maintain at least one (and often many more) leopard items in my closet.

This pattern, in it's natural hues, is comprised of neutral tones and as such it can be paired with a broad range of other colours. Personally though I do tend to prefer it with darker shades of black, brown, cream, grey and denim blue.

Calling to mind vixenish women of the 1950s (think Bettie Page or Jane Mansfield in their tantalizing leopard bikinis), leopard can play both the sexpot and the innocent kitten with equal skill. Again, it's all in how you tame this bold pattern. Small doses tend to be more subdued, whereas head-to-toe leopard can be simultaneously racy and elegant.

If you're feeling adventurous and want to tackle leopard full on, I recommend hunting down a vintage or vintage inspired leopard print dress, such as the knock-out number below from UK seller Aspire Style.


This wonderfully lovely leopard print dress features cap sleeves, a very 1950s inspired neckline, fitted seaming through the bodice, and a swingy a-line skirt. The spots on this particular leopard pattern veer on the larger side, almost giving the dress an abstract art quality.

One solid glance though and it's plain to see that this beautiful frock (which is available for £65.00 from Aspire Style) is bursting with leopardy charm and appeal.

I'd wear this dress in a heartbeat (the tailoring is just my style!), sporting it with understated black heels, simple cream pearl or gold jewelry, an upswept hairdo, and perhaps a black cardigan or faux fur wrap as the seasons transition in the coming weeks from summer to fall.

Leopard print is no where near as scary or imposing as the wild creature whose fur inspired it. There's no need to fear it more than any other pattern, simply embrace the scale (be it a small leopard print scarf or a commanding dress like today's pretty frock) that you're most comfortable with and go for it.

This fun, vintage approved, completely delightful pattern is perfect for fall's colour palette and will surely make you the cat's meow when you sport it!  Smile