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10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print Without Going Wild

October 15, 2018

If you’ve been hanging around Dressed for My Day long at all, you know how much I love wearing leopard print. It’s really trending right now, but has it ever really been out of style? I hope not because I’ve had at least splashes of leopard print in my closet for years!

I’ll admit, however, that every time I put on a little leopard print, whether it’s on my feet, around my waist, in my handbag or in some larger piece of clothing, I feel a little nervous. I worry about going too wild with this powerful trend. I don’t want to look like a vixen, ya know. And while I don’t mind looking competent and confident, I don’t really want to look overpowering either.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without going Wild
(Shop this look here)

I had a feeling that if I feel a little skittish about wearing leopard print, some of my readers might, too. So I’ve done some research to help us all tame the leopard into submission. It turns out there are some great guidelines that can help us style this trend so that we look great in it without going too wild.

Let me give you the basics first. In fact, you will notice a progression from ultra safe to a-little-on-the-wild-side with these 10 tips. But all of them will help you wear leopard print with more confidence, while looking chic, contemporary, but oh so classy.

1. Add leopard print as a tiny accent on an otherwise clean and simple outfit.

If you’re nervous about wearing leopard print or you just don’t want to invest a lot of money in it, go small. A skinny belt, a small wristlet or crossbody bag or a silky scarf of leopard print can make a powerful statement, especially when you add it to a monochrome or neutral based outfit.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without going Wild
(Shop this look here.)
10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without Going Wild
(Shop the look here.)

Shop Leopard Print belts, handbags and scarves here:

2. Treat leopard print like a neutral and use it that way in your outfits.

In fact, leopard print is three neutrals: black, brown and khaki. So anywhere you’d add a dose of one of those colors, you can safely use leopard print instead. If you’d normally wear a brown belt, switch it out for leopard print. If you usually default to your black handbag, pick up a leopard print satchel instead. Or if you’d usually wear a khaki jacket, you can wear leopard print instead.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without going Wild
(Shop this look here.)

3. Beware of being over zealous with leopard print.

While I did find high fashion examples of women wearing multiple pieces of leopard print in one outfit – say, leopard print pants, coat and handbag all together – I think it takes extreme boldness and pizzazz to pull off that look. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you’re going to layer multiple leopard print pieces, they need to all be or at least look like high end (and pricey!) separates. And you would need to wear them with other high end pieces, too. Otherwise, layering animal print upon animal print can look cheap and overdone.

But I can’t spend big dollars on animal print. So it’s safer (remember, we’re taming the leopard here!) to add just one component of leopard print to an outfit. You won’t go wrong this way, and the results will always be classy.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without Going Wild
(Shop this look here.)

Shop Leopard Print Tops here:

4. Leopard print always pops against a simple t-shirt and jeans.

Adding animal print to a simple white t-shirt and jeans is really a great place to start, and it’s oh so classy. Plus, adding leopard print to jeans and a tee is just plain fun. It makes you happy!

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without going Wild
(Shop this look here.)
Utility Jacket Completes Fall Weekend Look
(Shop the look here.)

5. Start from the ground floor with flats.

If you feel like wearing leopard print heels is a little too fashion forward for your workplace or social life, then, by all means, go with flats instead. Leopard print flats are a classy and even conservative addition to your work attire, but they’re also great with jeans, joggers and leggings for the weekend.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without Going Wild

6. Wear the animal print skirt…simply.

The slip skirt is a beautiful place to add some cheetah or leopard. But to keep the look decidedly feminine and classy, pair the animal print skirt with simple black or white pieces, heels and lady-like jewelry and handbag. You don’t want to confuse people with your leopard print; you want to wow them with it. So it’s important to keep your overall look consistent when wearing it.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without Going Wild
(Shop this look here.)

Or you can certainly amp this skirt up with an edgier or more casual vibe by substituting a simple white tee for the classic cardigan and layering on a denim jacket. The point is, pick a look and stick with it head to heels. Otherwise, the leopard print skirt gets lost in the fuss.

7. Steer clear of skin tight leopard print and choose loose fitting, feminine pieces with relaxed lines instead.

Unless you’re wanting to look like a s*x kitten (and you’re probably at the wrong website, by the way!), stay away from tight leopard print that accentuates your curves, reveals cleavage or shows too much leg. The leopard print alone provides just a hint of s*xiness, so if you add any more. well, you know. (Pardon my little att*mpt to keep my google analytics rated PG.)

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without Going Wild
Photo source

8. Because you can treat leopard print like a neutral, you can also mix it with other classic patterns.

This concept can feel quite fashion forward, and it does take a little practice. But, truly, you can mix leopard with other patterns. You can mix it with plaids, stripes, polka dots and florals. Just be intentional and go for it.

While you can certainly take a bolder approach, one of the easiest ways to practice this concept is to wear one print up top and the other below, creating a balance. Also, if you choose to wear leopard print plus another print, keep the look from becoming busy by layering in neutral clothing and accessories.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print without Going Wild
(Shop the Look here.)

9. Use leopard print to add glamour to your outfit by utilizing the trend in heels or a faux fur coat.

Don”t be afraid to add leopard print to your dressier outfits, too. Whether you choose kitten heels, block heels or stilettos, high heels of leopard print will certainly elevate your look. But you can also raise the bar with a sleek leopard print clutch handbag or a faux fur leopard print coat
Bow Crepe A-Line Dress // Kendra Scott Lacy Drop Earrings in rose gold // Sam Edelman Halton Pump // Rebecca Minkoff Clutch


Shop for Leopard Print heels here:

10. Go full in with leopard print and wear it with confidence and balance.

As with pulling off most trends, the most important tip is to just “go for it!” When you straighten up your posture, put a smile on your face, walk into the room with confidence and put your best foot forward, you can wear anything well. Isn’t that really part of the secret of the “emperor’s new clothes?” Not that I recommend wearing those, of course!

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print Without Going Wild
My sheer leopard print dress is vintage Talbots, and I’ve had it in my closet for at least 10 years. (Nude suede pumps from Target)

Wearing leopard print with confidence is crucial, especially if you decide to go with the bigger pieces, like leopard print pants or a dress. While you want your leopard print dress or pants to fit well and skim the body, you don’t have to choose body-hugging pieces (see #7). Keep them classic and flowing. Then layer on a belt or a jacket to break up all that print, and keep the look grounded with simple accessories and neutral flats or pumps.

10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print Without Going Wild
These black/grey leopard print pants are also vintage Talbots and about 5 years old. (Black blazer, white t-shirt)

Shop Leopard Print Dresses & Pants here:


Are you ready to tame the cat?

You can shop most of the looks above in my Shop My Looks page, (in fact, it helps me tremendously when you shop my looks there), but I’ve also included affiliate links in this post and in the widgets. When you shop through them, I earn a commission, but at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting what I do here!

If you liked what you learned here today, I hope you’ll pin this post to one or more of your Pinterest boards. And it would be great if you shared it on Facebook, too! I’d love it if you left me a comment. Tell me what leopard print pieces you enjoy wearing, any styling tips you have or what you’ve learned here that has inspired you to tame the cat…and wear it!

Blessed for My Day

There are some days when it is just hard to trust that God truly is working things together for your good, aren’t there? When things get a little rough or the unexpected happens, I can usually hang in there and keep the faith. But when bad news compounds bad news I begin to falter. When one thing breaks and then another followed by another, I get frustrated. And when my “deadlines” for God to work in certain things seem to pass without action, I feel discouraged and lose heart. I wish I didn’t. Don’t you? But I do lose heart sometimes.

That’s when I have to doggedly and stubbornly remind myself “not to lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 tells me the remedy for my faint heart: For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 

Today, let’s choose to not lose heart. Let’s choose to remember that God is good and He has good plans for us. Let’s be patient and watch them unfold with gladness and anticipation. Let’s press on.

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for spending some time with me today. I appreciate your presence and your comments so much. If you’d like to visit more often, why not subscribe to my email list so that you never miss a post? You can find out more here.

I’ve linked this post to Jo-Lynne Shane’s Fashion Friday Link-Up, so be sure to check out the other great styles there.

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xoxo, Kay
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6 thoughts on “10 Tips for Wearing Leopard Print Without Going Wild

  1. I love how leopard is fun again. And we see it quite a bit now so it’s not so trashy!!
    I just bought some leopard ankle boots, and I’m sure they are going to get a ton of love this year!!
    And that dress?? It’s fabulous Kay!!

  2. Thanks, Kay! Helpful! You & Jo-Lynne on same wave length. Lol. And you did include blouse/tops in #3. I think you commented to J-L that you forgot. You did good!! Have a blessed day.