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Animal Prints — Love Them Or Not

| Jan 19, 2015
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animal print - leopardAnimal prints are classic prints. They may become more and slightly less popular, but never really go out of style. There are lots of different kinds of animal prints. These days leopard print is almost considered to be a neutral!

  • Python
  • Leopard
  • Zebra
  • Giraffe
  • Cheetah
  • Dalmation
  • Snake

I was not a fan of animal prints for a long time, but my opinion has changed in the last few years as I’ve seen some really hot combinations and was dying to try them. My favorite was always leopard but it came in predominantly warm colors and I have a cool complexion. That has changed and now I’d call myself a fan. It just points out that not all women are animal print fans but if you are willing to give it a try, I think you’ll be surprised at the results — sultry and sexy.

Animal prints never go out of fashion. In fact, every season and every year, people parrot, “Animal print is on trend!” But it’s the same print. If there’s anything new, it’s purely a matter of interpretation.

Imogene in animal prints
The question isn’t about “should you” or “should you not” own an animal print. Every fashionista must own at least a piece of this print, be it a dress, a top, a pair of shoes, a scarf or a bag. The question therefore is — how do you make it right?

If you don’t want a print to date too quickly it needs to:

  • Be small to medium in size
  • Be medium in contrast
  • Be fairly simple in its design
  • Be a stripe or an animal print that are not too large or obvious
  • Slimming prints have one thing in common — they are dense — there is little ‘negative space’ between elements of the print or pattern.

slimming with animal prints

How To Wear Animal Prints

leopard dressDon’t match animal print if it’s large

Matching colors and prints is very common in styling. However, not only does going too matchy-matchy not work but it’s kind of an obsolete way of styling. It’s considered a big NAY when it comes to animal prints.

Choose only one large part of your outfit that’s wild. For instance, if your top is a leopard/tiger/zebra print, let the tights/skirt/pants be non-animal. If it’s your dress that has the print, then let your shoes be plain black or nude.

A touch of the same print on your footwear only works when the black, beige or white shade is dominant.

leopard pantsTone your leopard print down

If your outfit is too wild, tone it down. If you wear an animal print mini dress, you can tone it down by wearing a single-colored-cardigan over your dress in color that blends well with your wild print.

If you wear leopard print tights for example, you can tone down the print by wearing them with knee-length boots in color palette that blends but suppresses the strongest shade of your animal print.

You can also decide for the color of your boots by taking a non-dominant shade from your other accessories. Again, in shades that complement your animal print.

Take a look at Whitney Port’s outfit. If she just toned it down with this Willow casual leather knee boots, she could have saved her fashionista image and avoided some OMG writers from asking, “Is it just us or is it these skinny leopard-print pants?”


leopard accessoriesOnly match animal print if it’s accessory

If you feel the urge to go matchy, you can do so on your accessories provided they don’t clash. For example, if you wear leopard printed boots, you can take a tiny purse in leopard print.

If your tiger bag is with considerable size, you can take a pair of tiger print stilettos. But hopefully, your long scarf is no longer a leopard/tiger and your head gear does not scream jungle. The key here is getting minimal.

leopard as single pieceA single animal print.

What I do mean is that you would never go wrong if you take only a single item of animal print, either for your top, bag, shoes or scarf, while the rest of your outfit is entirely neutrals.

I’m not certain though, if this would also work if everything in your outfit is brown – if that won’t make you look like a walking dead trunk? But give me a benefit of the doubt. You can actually go for a pink leopard bag for an all brown outfit. Let me know how it goes.

dolce and Gabanna leopard style clothesTry D&G style

If you want to be effectively daring, you can try Dolce and Gabbana style. A fitting sleeveless top with low cleavage tucked in a black and white polka dot midi skirt teamed with black booties, is a fabulous look to steal.

A pair of fitting long sleeves top and below the knee pencil cut is otherwise an alternative.

layering leopard colorsAnimal print teamed with another print

So D&G showed us how to pair a tiger print with polka dots, but fashion blogger Arianne did a more daring combination – zebra print with another bold print.
To give the two prints a good contrast, she layered between the two prints a single colored pattern (in the same shade as of the animal print). Also, she opted for light colors for her tights and boots to avoid looking too dark and heavy

constasting colors with leopardAnimal print and color clash
A new way to wear animal print is to team it with bright colors. Now, not everybody has the heart to apply this idea but it´s something worth a try. The key here is to go for only one single vibrant color.
One color that is best to clash against the print, and is certain to stand out, is green. There are many shades. My favorite is emerald-green, but deep green, getaway green or pebbled green are also good. Create a match. Let your shoes be green too.
But shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and pastels work well with leopard print too. Really, you just have to find your color. Think leopard skater mini dress and pink ballet flats. Delicious!
I love this style idea because colors are actually used to steal some attention from the print, a great way to tone it down.

So my fashionistas, I would love to see how you combine your animal prints. Send me a photo and I’ll feature all the different ways we use animal prints in our wardrobes on Sister House. If you need a few more ideas, check out this Pinterest page from Fashiontribes.

Don’t have a local store near you or want an easy look, then check out these Sister House stores below. All have a selection of animal prints (although I only checked for leopard). Just type the name of the print you want in the search box on the site. Between these stores you will have a wide selection from dresses, skirts. blouses, shoes, belts, handbags, scarves, jewelry and even hats.

So until next month, come visit us at Sister House and enjoy the many subjects of interest to the transgender woman in any of our six rooms.


Click below for an excellent selection of animal print clothes and  accessories

Ashley Stewart


Resources for this article are from:

Imogene Lampart’s  Insideoutstyle blog

Creative Fashion Glee

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Category: Style, Transgender Fashion


About the Author ()

Tasi was a transgender, married, lifelong crossdresser. She passed away in late 2018. She’s the founder of the Ladies of the Blue Ridge transgender group in Roanoke VA, a prolific writer, commentator and blogger including fashion articles for Tri-Ess, TG Reporter, Repartee, and Pretty T-Girls magazine. Tasi currently resides in Merida, (Yucatan) Mexico. Her new website, Sister House and her blog, the Fashionable TG Woman are dedicated to fashion and style for the transgendered woman. Tasi’s book, "Top Ten Fashion Mistakes By Crossdressers and How To Fix Them" is available on Amazon or on her site free to subscribers.

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