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A Tame Guide to Animal Prints

Written by Caro Clark


Posted on January 15 2020


This season has provided another win for lovers of wild prints and patterns. Those who have closets filled with shades of black and gray may be letting out a collective groan, but don't be afraid to take a walk on the mild side when it comes to animal prints. 

Our personal rule with prints is never let the print wear you. If you tend to stick with solids but want to mix things up, don’t start with something that’s too bold. A lot of times we get this fitting room high where we look great in something new and tell ourselves we’ll wear it even if it’s not our usual style, but then 3 months go by and that piece has yet to be made into an outfit. Or, we’ll make ourselves wear something we aren’t totally into just because we bought it and feel guilty. Fashion should never be forced! Bold attire requires a particular attitude (the wilder the pattern, the calmer and more collected its wearer ought to be). Don’t overextend yourself and try to be who you’re not. There are more subdued ways to wear even the loudest of patterns. 

Start with the basics. Instead of grabbing a solid colored top, go for a printed one. Switching out a simple tee or tank with an eye-catching pattern is an easy way to level up your outfit without any extra effort. If you’re intent on keeping your look from being too bold, stick to larger patterns that aren’t too busy. A blurred or zoomed leopard print isn’t too flashy and won’t be a one season piece. Check out a top like this Esqualo pullover or this cropped Astr the Label sweater. Both are great for adding a little extra flare to a casual outfit without being too wild.

Printed pants and leggings don’t have to make a big statement, but they are simply perfect for when you just want to throw something on without looking like you just threw something on. You can dress a pair of skinny patterned jeans up with heels and a nice top or pair them with some converse and a chunky knit. If you don’t want to fully commit to animal printed jeans, look into something like these Black Orchid Army Cheetah skinnies. The print is noticeable, but subtle enough that they’ll never fall prey to the charge of tackiness. 

Downplay bold prints with neutral layering pieces or make them statement pieces by letting them stand alone. Play it safe with large, blurred prints or ones that have a dark overlay. When you want to make a statement with animal print, keep your accessories tame and let the print pop on its own. This Tart leopard print dress is one of our favorites for when we're feeling adventurous. It doesn’t look overly animal inspired, has pockets, and that waistline is flattering on every size! We like to accessorize it with a simple long necklace that draws the eye towards the waistline, like this Marquise Chain Link from Kendra Kist.

The key to wearing any print perfectly is always keeping balance in mind.