Animal print and I have never got on. Perhaps it has something to do with its once tarnished reputation as a saucy, cheap and garish print, relinquished to the mutton-dressed-as lamb brigade and brassy blondes. For years, this image has stuck with me, but for autumn I have decided to put my claws away and embrace animal print in all its glory.
And it is about time. Animal print has been the go-to print for the super sophisticated style set for many seasons now. Thanks to the purveyors of cool including Kate Moss, Gwen Stefani and Alexa Chung, not to mention the bevvy of fashion editors, stylist and bloggers who have all succumbed to the call of the wild in recent years, animal print is, and has been for some time, considered a chic and refined addition to any woman's wardrobe.
And for autumn, it is such an asset to both day and evening wear thanks to its uber versatility and wearability. Animal print is the perfect antidote to black, grey and navy, a fab pairing with bright colour, born to partner with luxe leather for autumn's urban wardrobe and the perfect print for instant and simple one piece accessorising. And don't worry; you won't look cheap if you wear it right.
The key to today's contemporary animal print is taming. Keep it minimal and wear in moderation. Now I am not saying don't wear an animal print dress, just be aware of your hemline (keep it at, or below the knee), opt for capped or full sleeves and keep your cleavage under wraps. Today's animal print needs to retain a demure and elegant finish. Again, an animal print coat is a great addition to your new season wardrobe; just make sure the rest of your outfit is free of wild additions.
In keeping with this more subtle approach, go for pared down shades and monochrome and sepia effects. They take the hit out of the print and are great for a more understated slant on animal print. An inky snake print top, muted tiger stripe sweater or abstract snow leopard blouse all work perfectly against more formal trousers and blazers for the office or offer a dash of elegance to simple off-duty jeans.
There are some exceptions to the minimal rule and animal print can still be fierce without making a fashion faux pas. For an all out wild look, team one or more different animal prints, but just make sure the prints do clash. Don't match your prints. Or hone autumn's tough luxe vibe and team animal print with luxe leathers. A pair of leather trousers, biker boots and an animal print blouse is the perfect combo. Black and animal prints were made for each other. You can also bring other colours into the mix – camel for example, or be bold and brave and team a leopard print skirt with an acid bright blouse.
Accessorising with animal print is one of the simplest ways to bring an existing wardrobe into the new season. Nothing could be more effortless than adding a pair of killer snakeskin heels to your all black ensemble, throwing a leopard print bag over your shoulder or wrapping yourself up in a giraffe print scarf. With one simple purchase, you will ooze new season elegance and can mix and match your animal pleasures at the drop of a hat. They say a leopard can't change its spots, but we can certainly change ours.
See below for the slideshow of our pick of A/W14 animal print...