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A Word about Animal Print | Manolo for the Big Girl

A Word about Animal Print

Be Careful.

Okay, that’s two words, but I mean it. It is hard, if not downright impossible, to do animal print on a budget without it looking campy (at best) and French-tipped New Jersey velour-sweatsuit enthusiast at worst. Now I love camp like John Waters loves eyeliner mustaches, but there is a time and a place for camp. That place is Paramus.

A black shirtdress from Ross can look like you bought it Bergdorf’s but –and sad to say, I must relate this from experience– a low-budget animal print will always look cheap. Cheap? Cheap. Always? *sigh* Always.

Expensive animal print can look cheap too (sadly this is another lesson I had to learn in person via a $700 pair of zebra-print calf hair pumps I bought on clearance that still have never seen daylight) so please, be vigilant. Your best bets are scarves and shoes.

7 Responses to “A Word about Animal Print”

  1. Annie June 10, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    I agree wholeheartedly with this post. I’d like to add a couple more rules:

    only wear animal prints in the colors of the animal in nature. i.e. no purple zebra stripe and no pink leopard dots.

    do not be “matchy matchy” with animal prints. For example, if you are rocking the leopard pumps, do not carry a matching bag (go with brown or black to complement the shoes). A little animal print goes a long way!

  2. dcsurfergirl June 10, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    I guess I had better be careful with my leopard print scrunchie!

  3. La Petite Acadiene June 10, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    Another note is that animal print looks best in very classic, simple shapes. A knee-length pencil skirt? Yes. A ruffled skirt with an asymmetrical hem? Hell to the no. A simple, structured bag? Absolutely. An unstructured hobo bag with zippers and bling? Don’t.

    Whatever you are doing in animal print has to be very, very simple and classic in shape, or else it risks looking not just cheap, but trashy.

    And Annie is absolutely right — a little bit of it goes a long way. The only animal print I own is a pair of leopard-print ballet flats. With a black turtleneck and dark denim trouser jeans, they look quite chic. I’d never wear them with anything more elaborate or fussy than that. And leopard print is one of the more forgiving animal prints. As Plumcake has learned, other animal prints are HARD to carry off.

  4. Style Spy June 10, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Mmmmmmm… Run fix Mama a drink, wouldja, hon? I need a moment alone with those shoes.

  5. slownews June 11, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    and this is the word of the Plumcake

  6. B.S.A.G. June 11, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    And remember, kids: More than one animal-print item at once = Edith Prickley.

  7. La BellaDonna June 18, 2009 at 6:13 pm #

    Tsk. Why, leopard is my favorite colour! I must have at least … four? different leopard skirts, a fabulous silk wrap dress, a couple of blouses … but no, I don’t combine my leopard. Not yet, at any rate.