When Does Animal Print Go From Foxy to Fugly?
I was (of course,) out shopping… (I need to stop starting my posts like this) when I saw this woman wearing cheetah pants, a tiger scarf and a shirt spotted with some mottled stripes no doubt belonging to some other large cat. Normally I would think she was an amateur performer on X Factor or something random, but she was sane and appeared to be what I would classify as a “normie.” Her pounce ready presence got me thinking… is there such a thing as too much animal print? And if so How much, is too much?
On any given day there is at least one person wearing animal print on a city block. Animal print rocks! I love it, designers like DVF and Michael Kors have made millions using bestial prints in their collections for decades! More recently Celine and Balmain have dipped into the mammalian notion for their Fall 2014 Ready to Wear lines and come up with some wicked wardrobe building pieces. Animal pattern is a great concept for all ages and wearing it is awesome. But is a full length giraffe coat overkill? Will pairing a python scarf with the giraffe coat make it a little too untamed for the streets? Will adding a pant swiped with zebra stripes turn the look too zoological? Let me break down the ferocious world of animal prints and how to successfully pair them together without having onlookers want to feed you to the lions.
First, remember that animal prints make a statement, and depending on which animal you choose to adorn yourself with, the statement will change. An exploded tiger print will say: “I’m dangerous, but looking for a fun time.” A snake print may leave others around you uneasy and thrown off by your Medusa-like look. While on the other hand, a panda splotch can be welcoming and even comical. You don’t want to send a mixed message when you chat with people so why would you jumble up your subtle clothing communiqué?
That being said, unless your Shania Twain in her music video ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ with jaguar printed boots, pants, a bando, some gloves, a hooded full length wrap dress and an oversized hat box… then you’re not allowed to wear more than two items that are animal printed -regardless of if they’re the same print or not! Honestly, I would say wear only one animal at a time and a maximum of two pieces in that print. Otherwise you can come across as predator and prey and it’s altogether defeatist.
Lastly, when wearing animal print make a statement and do it right. Pick one piece, a pump or a scarf and rock it! If you have a full look in animal motif, break it up and wear the individual pieces with neutral accessories. Rachel Bilson wore an Isabel Marant cheetah printed dress to the Blue Valentine after-party back in 2010, but the look is perfect and comes across as sophisticated because of the black belt, bag and shoes.
Long story short, even if you ARE going on safari… appreciate the wild… don’t imitate it.
Just for fun: