4 Irresistible ways to wear animal prints

There are no rules for wearing animal print, just a few guidelines that this post outlines so you look your best when donning these patterns.

Las Vegas January 2001

Circa 2001 I had a bad shopping habit.

Who am I kidding, I’ve always had a shopping habit. 

You know those people that fight for cheerleading to be considered a sport?? I’m thinking about starting up a grassroots girl gang to fight for shopping to be recognized as a sport. It takes lots of practice, you have to be conditioned to do it well, and you have to build stamina. Those who can go the long haul get the best stuff. You in? 

I digress.

Back in the early aughts, there was a boutique a stone’s throw from my apartment. Packed with everything from designer barrettes to underwear; I loved, and bought, lots of it. 

One of my fave purchases was a zebra-striped, sheer top that I bought specifically for my 30th birthday trip to Las Vegas. (See photo above)

I lost that shirt in a subsequent late-night dance floor accident. I got too hot and tied it around my waist, finishing the night strong in the camisole I had on underneath. 

The zebra shirt was never to be seen again. 

I picture it sometimes on a waitress that worked at the club. Score for her. An overpriced, super cute top for free!!

Well, imagine my animal print-loving delight when I started to see zebra patterns emerging for spring attire. Of course, there are still leopard/cheetah and snakeskin prints. These are classics, in my opinion,  But zebra, tiger, giraffe and other animal prints are growing in popularity. It only took 21 years, but this may be my chance to replace that zebra top I lost all those years ago.

This one will not be sheer and because the only dance parties I go to anymore are in my kitchen or living room, I’m sure to hold on to this version for longer.

Are there any rules for wearing animal print?

It’s fashion, there are no rules, just some guidelines when you’re not sure what to do. Below are a few tips for when or how to include animal prints in your outfit.

  • Head-to-toe animal pattern. Just jump in and go for it. Be bold and don’t look back. Keep accessories and shoes simple and solid. If you go for this option, you can also wear a solid colored blazer, sweater or jackets to break up the pattern. 
  • Find a classic silhouette, like a swing coat, in an animal print and wear it with solid colored top and bottom. 
  • If wearing animal print is new to you start by adding small pops of it by wearing belts, bags, scarfs, or earrings. 
  • Pair animal print with a bold color. This tones down the animal print a bit. You could pick an item from last week’s bold color blog and pair it with an animal print skirt or pants for a unique look.

Remember these prints are a great addition to any capsule wardrobe they can spice up your neutral essentials. 

How to style animal print garments.

Visual inspiration is the best way to learn, so I’ve pulled together some ways to style animal prints. Click the links below each photo for further details or to shop any of the items shown.

If you want to go head-to-toe animal print, a dress is a great way to do it. The classic, chunky gold hoops and solid black heels allow the dress to be the star of this outfit. This oversized one-button blazer breaks up the pattern while adding that third piece that can often pull an entire outfit together.

This Dalmatian patterned coat offers a bold style, and you don’t need to wear much else with it for this to be a stand-out outfit. Pair it with a black turtleneck, jeans, lug sole boots, and a textured bag for a cool look that is really all about the coat.

Here we have a dress with a zebra pattern in color as well as a floral print, and it somehow works. The feminine touches on the dress soften the pattern and make it really pretty. The edgier gold earrings add some contrast to the dress and the neutral colored heels keep the focus on the statement piece of this outfit, the dress.

A linen t-shirt with a zebra print in a neutral color is a fun way to wear animal prints. Pair it with flared jeans, a gorgeous linen army jacket that cinches at the waist, olive green clogs, and small gold drop earrings from my new fave jewelry spot and you have a cute outfit for lunch with friends, kids pick-up, or running errands.

Here is an option for a mini-dress in a giraffe print. This is a smaller dose of a pattern, but with the feminine vibe of a dress. Tall solid brown boots and simple hoops make this an outfit for the office, a luncheon, or Sunday brunch.

Other ways to incorporate animal prints into your outfit

If you want to dabble in animal prints, start with small pops of it. Wear a pony hair belt with jeans and a t-shirt or a pair of black pants. Add cheetah print heels to a black suit. Throw on this beaded zebra bag or bracelet with a pink or green dress. Get creative and have fun. There really are no rules for wearing animal print, so play around and see what you come up with.

Let me know in the comments what is your favorite way to wear animal print.





I show women over 50 how to get noticed, stay relevant, and be connected through their wardrobe. Getting dressed is something you have to do each day, why not make it fun.



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