Leopard Print After 50? Yes Ma’am!
By Kristina Robinson
First of all, you can wear what you want! You’ve earned that. Just like you earned every wrinkle, worry line, spot, and stripe. Clothing is a great way to express yourself. It’s a second skin that we can choose. It can be a form of self-expression or it can be a backdrop to our personality. The best clothing will give you the confidence to conquer the world without lifting a finger. Clothing has power!
Leopard print isn’t a print, it’s a neutral. It is not a trend or trendy, it is seasonless and never out of fashion. It goes with almost every color palette and compliments most skin tones. It can stand out or blend in. It is completely adaptable, just as its original owner is in the wild.
Why not wear leopard print?
Do you have an aversion to it? Maybe based on some residual notion that a woman in animal print is tawdry and wearing it will instantaneously brand you a bad mother? Well, I’m here to tell you, that stigma was short-lived and has no place in the world today.
At some point in the 1970s leopard print took on a wild, trashy, sexual meaning. And any woman over 50 who wore it was immediately branded as such.
Leopard Print’s History
But why? Well, prior to this unflattering reputation, women who wore leopard print were seen as old money with unwavering confidence and femininity. It was completely unaffordable to anyone without a large disposable income. Then in walks mass production and synthetic fabrics. As a result leopard print could be worn by all, including women who hoped to appeal to men with money in order to marry into a better lifestyle or just appear to wield some power and class. On the screen, women who played the role of a “bad mother” or of trashy women (think Peg Bundy in Married…With Children or The Graduate) were depicted in leopard print. Maybe the wardrobe team and the directors are to blame for further spreading the rumor. Regardless of whether or not this was already a commonly shared view the screen time cemented the stigma of wearing leopard.
Leopard Print’s Future
Luckily the cement has been worn down. Much progress has been achieved in the fight to regain its original status. The print is no longer the main factor in reputation labeling, it’s more about the cut and fit of the apparel. Thanks are due in part to couture and notable fashion designers using the print and the well-known people wearing it in fashionable classy ways. The perfect example is Michelle Obama who wore leopard print periodically during her husband’s time in the White House. She made leopard print approachable in a Jackie Kennedy meets Jcrew kind of way.
By wearing leopard print you are not demanding attention, you are simply practicing your right to wear what you feel fabulous in. If you are feeling a little uneasy about wearing it, start small. Choose a handbag, scarf, or shoe. Even a pair of pajamas seems noncommittal.
Leopard print comes in many colors and print sizes. Choose the one that gives your skin a glow and doesn’t overwhelm your figure. You can wear it to a gala, to the board room or to grab your coffee in the morning. There is no situation where you can’t incorporate leopard print into an outfit.
- Leopard print is a neutral.
- You can wear animal prints at any age.
- Leopard print is not a trend and is seasonless.
- Look for a colorway that gives you a glow (it doesn’t have to be beige based).
- Select a print size that is a good proportion for you.
- Buy pieces in the correct size and a good cut for your figure.
- It’s ok to start with accessories.
Leopard Print Pieces to Add to Your Closet
Easy to Introduce – Subtle Pieces
When you’re first trying new style tips, it’s intimidating, so ease in with these pieces.
Bella Satin Leopard Print Pajama Set by Apparis
There isn’t an easier way to try a print than pajamas. Practice wearing this pattern by yourself before introducing it to the rest of the world. Plus, leopard print pajamas are an ideal attitude for your next girl’s trip.
Pony Calf Leopard Wallet-on-Strap by Moschino
Fashion trends may change, but animal print bags have always been a constant. The smaller wallet size keeps this one from overwhelming the rest of your outfit, perfect for easing into more intensive animal print accessories.
Josephine Leopard Button-Front Shirt by Rails
With a subdued color combination, this leopard print blouse is easy to swap in place of a solid black or gray t-shirt for more visual interest. Layer it beneath a blazer for a more interesting outfit idea than a plain color.
Superstar Hand-Painted Leopard Leather Sneakers by Golden Goose
Thanks to their casual sneaker shape, these are the perfect complement to your favorite leggings or black jeans. The leopard spots are subtle, so don’t worry about pattern clashing.
Easing Into It – Transitional Pieces
Now that your inner stylist is comfortable with print, kick up the intensity.
Slim Signature Leopard-Print Blouse by Equipment
In the iconic brown-tone leopard print, this top balances well with other neutral colors for a timelessly on-trend style. After all, fashionistas have been styling this colorway of leopard for decades.
Leopard Jacquard Fit-&-Flare Midi Dress by Adam Lippes
Featuring a simple black-and-white leopard print, this dress is an easy entry point to animal print outfits. In fact, it’s so minimal, that it could be called cheetah print (since there’s no secondary color within the spot). The dress does all the talking while simple accessories finish the outfit.
Lazy Leopardesses Scarf by Hermes
For a unique take on the leopard print, why not wear the whole leopard? This scarf is basically a wearable art piece that’s bold, yet small enough to fit into your outfit without feeling intimidated. Tone it down with a casual cardigan or elevate it with a pencil skirt.
Once you’ve found your boldest self, re-style this scarf with another unique colored animal print skirt to pair up prints.
Portofino Leopard Ruffled Top by Alessia Zamattio
In a muted pink shade, the leopard print on this shirt almost falls second in command to the ruffles! The ruffles command visual attention, so the pattern remains subtle and secondary.
Not Afraid to Be Bold – Statement Pieces
At last, you’ve discovered the leopardess within. Disclaimer: you’re now unstoppable.
Slim Signature Blouse by Equipment
In a unique blue-toned leopard print, this is an opportunity to cool down an otherwise warm pattern. The best part? This one is available with two-day shipping from Amazon so you can try your next leopard print outfit fast.
Evan Silk Button-Front Cheetah Shirt by Ser.O.Ya
With large-scale leopard spots on high-quality silk, this top is bold, yet simple. The scale of the pattern itself is larger than you’d usually see, making a grander statement. The quality of the fabric speaks to a well-dressed mature woman, so don’t be afraid of this top.
Selma Leopard-Print Skinny Jeans by Michael Michael Kors
With a simple silhouette, these skinny jeans are a fun, fashion-forward way to upgrade your usual denim. The pattern is relatively subtle, but it’s unexpected. Elevate the pattern with dressy loafers and a crisp button-up.
Leopard-Print Ruffle Bustier Belted Midi Dress by Caroline Herrera
In an autumnal orange, this leopard print dress is bold, yet refined. The deeper tone of orange is fitting for older women (though, frankly, so is anything else). Pair it with high heels for a fun, evening look.
Leopard is a flattering and versatile neutral. It can be dressed up or down, it can play the power role or it can be understated. But most importantly it looks good on you and you look good in it.
So wear it! Be that independent, powerful woman you are or wish to appear as.
Next thing we know, you’ll be wearing snakeskin and zebra print, though not at the same time, please.
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