Welcome to the jungle: The do's and don’ts of animal print

We asked stylist Lynn Spence for her advice on how to properly wear animal print!

Unlike most fashion trends and statements that go in and out of style, animal print seems to be one that has stuck around–since the 1960s! For that reason, companies need to keep coming out with different ways to incorporate it. Today, animal print can be found on: shoes, pants, skirts, dresses, belts, shirts, coats, purses…you name it, it’s probably been made into an animal print version. Most pieces you see today will be faux. But faux doesn’t have to mean artificial-looking. Fake animal print, if bought correctly, can appear to be expensive and classy.

Just because animal print is available in every piece possible, it does not mean they all need to be worn at once. Animal print is great for adding emphasis to our everyday look and works exceptionally well to get you noticed when you feel like going out and turning heads (in the right way).

We asked stylist Lynn Spence for her advice — follow these tips while buying animal print pieces and you will avoid a fashion faux pas!

One print per outfit: “It is not a print that can be worked in with other prints, it is happier on its own.”  You do not want to look like the entire jungle at once.

Pair your animal print with solids: Pair your animal print pieces with plain colours and avoid additional patterns. Colours such as orange, black and red match perfectly, denim also pairs well with animal print. Lynn adds, “I think what people forget is that it is classic for a reason.”

Know your animals: Wearing and owning animal print can be tricky, so know your prints, from leopard to zebra. The more you know about the pattern, such as the undertone and what pairs well with each it, the easier it will be to rock a great look. “It’s got a honey background most of the time,” Lynn says. “As soon as you start adding purple to it and different tones and hues, it changes it to something that it’s not. The purer it is, the better it is”. It is important to know which colours match the undertone of your print of choice.

Among the prints you’ll find in today’s fashion: cheetah, tiger, leopard, zebra, giraffe, snake, spotted hyena, striped hyena and African wild dog.

So how do we make animal print sexy without it looking overdone?

“The moment you think you can combine animal prints or more than one piece together, it’s a mistake,” Lynn says, adding that less is definitely more with animal prints, especially when going for a sexy look.

Remember, when wearing animal print, it acts as the main piece. Ninety-nine percent of the time, animal print will catch the eye of whoever passes your way. So you are going to want to make sure that you wear animal print in an area you are confident about or that flatters your body the most. Make sure that you are still dressing appropriately for your body type and choosing the animal print pieces that will flatter your figure, and that you feel comfortable wearing it. You do not want to draw the wrong type of attention to your outfit.

“A longer skirt just below the knee in leopard is sexier than a short one because the more you get out of the animal print the more elegant it looks,” Lynn notes.


If you’re not ready to go animal print in your wardrobe, consider it as an accessory. “When in doubt, when I’m trying to find a shoe or a bag and I’m really struggling, animal print generally works. So a bag or a shoe is a good way to go,” Lynn tells Cityline.ca.  Animal print accessories can add instant emphasis to any outfit. This way, you’re still demonstrating the bold look without it being the main focus of the outfit.

Smaller accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, the band of your watch, the rim on your glasses, etc., do have the ability to pair well with each other, the reason being that they are subtler. Accessories usually finalize our outfit and we match them to what we are wearing, whether we’ve chosen silver or gold. Now we have animal print to choose from, too.

Now you know everything you need to know about wearing animal print. Take our tips and put together an outfit that will turn heads. Rock your piece and own the jungle!