Colgate Couture: Walk on the Wild Side

Alexis Manrodt

I am a firm believer that leopard print is as essential to a girl’s ward­robe as a little black dress or a good pair of jeans. Leopard print has been such a fashion mainstay for the last several decades that it should join the ranks of style classics like the LBD. Whether it’s Edie Sedgwick dancing around in her leopard swing coat at the Factory, Barbra Strei­sand in Funny Girl wearing a leopard cloche hat and matching coat or bombshell vixens like Brigitte Bardot sporting a tight wiggle dress in the print, leopard has been part of the wardrobes of every major fashion icon of the last half century. What would Kate Moss be without her leopard print London Sole ballet flats? Barefooted, probably.

I don’t recommend investing in real furs like Edie did lest you attract the attention of PETA, but I do encourage trying one of fall’s most fun styles. A little goes a long way with animal prints, so it’s best to choose one item as the focal point of your outfit. A statement-making piece like a dress or blazer would be perfect for the daring fashionistas out there. For the gal who is a bit wary of wearing such a wild print, simple accessories like a bangle bracelet, scarf or shoes are enough to be on-trend without the worry of looking like you’re on your way to a jungle-themed frat party. And don’t even think about mixing prints unless you want to look like you have jungle fever. While zebras and giraffes are just as cute as leopards, spots and stripes do not work well together. An easy way to try out the trend is to wear a printed scarf. A simple accessory that can be tossed on to any outfit while you’re on the go, a lightweight scarf adds extra flair and hipness to your look. Large stores like H&M and Nordstrom offer a diverse amount of styles – everything from the classic infinity scarf to faux fur – for less than $20 dollars.

Designers like Sam Edelman, Steve Madden and Jeffrey Campbell have each come out with a collection of leopard print shoes that are moderately priced and come in varying styles and materials. Whether you prefer a classic canvas shoe or are looking for patent leather, there will be a style out there perfect for you. Pony hair loafers by both Edel­man and Madden’s upscale Steven by Steve Madden line are particular standout styles for fall. Perfect for the preppy girl who wants to try the trend, Sperry Top-Sider has updated their classic boat shoe design to feature leopard spots.

The Kardashian girls, all leopard-lovers themselves, designed a light grey leopard print blazer for their K-DASH by Kardashian collection for QVC. Priced at just $86 dollars, the three-quarter sleeve blazer is stylish enough to transfer from day to night. Also available through their QVC line are a modest knee-length shift dress with small leop­ard spots and a one-shouldered maxi dress with large spots and tons of gathered fabric. The sisters also heavily feature leopard print in their Kardashian Kollection for Sears. With pieces at a slightly higher price point than their QVC collection, the line offers a mix of pieces very reflective of the girls’ own personal styles. There is a mesh wiggle dress with light boning detail and bustier-style top that is reminiscent of something Sophia Loren would have worn back in the day while co-starring alongside Marcello Mastroianni.

Leopard print is always a mainstay with Betsey Johnson. The print can be found all over her collection – with ballet flats, high heels, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, tulle dresses and angora sweaters being just a short list of pieces with those signature spots. Johnson herself used to supply a lot of the leopard fashions to Edie Sedgwick back in the sixties, the decade from which Johnson quite obviously still draws her inspiration.

No matter if it’s a simple lightweight scarf, a pair of shoes, a blazer or a dress, you simply cannot go wrong with a classic print like leopard. While it’s one of the biggest trends for fall, it is also a look that never goes out of style.

Contact Alexis Manrodt at [email protected]