Recession Living 101: Taming the animal print trend

Angelica Bonomo

Photo Caption: Photo Illustration by Angelica Bonomo / Staff Photographer
Photo Caption: Photo Illustration by Angelica Bonomo / Staff Photographer

I can’t help but cringe at the phrase “animal print trend.” Tacky Jane of the jungle dresses comes to mind.

The truth is animal print can be a fashion disaster, or pleasantly pleasing, depending on how you wear it. Even though it seems as if animal print comes in and out of style every couple of years, it’s always in, whether it be tiger, cheetah, zebra or even giraffe spots.

The trick is because animal print is such a bold trend you have to be even more discrete about how you choose to wear it. In other words, don’t let the trend wear you, you wear the trend.

The most important thing about animal print is that which ever way you choose to incorporate the animal print into your look it should be seamless. The reaction shouldn’t be “Oh you’re wearing animal print today.” It should be about you and feeling great. You should be the focus, not the print. Here are some general guidelines on how to wear it successfully:

Be an animal print minimalist: Animal print looks best when present only in one pattern, in no more than one element of an outfit. You don’t want to look like a coach. However, don’t let this discourage you from wearing an animal print dress. Keep the length above your knees, the skirt slightly A-line instead of clingy and throw on a blazer and leggings to tone it down.

Think about the shape: Because the print is so bold make sure to keep the silhouette of whatever you choose simple. Also to keep from looking like a cougar on the prowl, try wearing animal print tight only as a skirt and wearing it with a solid color flowy top or vice versa.  I recommend a loose top in animal print, with skinny jeans and a blazer thrown over it.

Avoid anything fuzzy or weird colors: Just because somebody decided to make a pink zebra top, doesn’t mean you should wear it. Also refrain from fuzzy animal print in any form unless you’re under the age of 10 and your mother still picks out your clothes. Felt and color is too Lisa Frank for you.

Pair fun colors with animal print: Bright colors like green or turquoise add a little freshness to this classic print, making it more youthful. Try pairing bright colored shorts.

Accessories are usually a safe bet: Animal Print was made to be a great accessory, especially for those you who are shyer about wearing it. However, whether it is an armful of bangles, a scarf, or cute ballet flats, remember to keep the rest of the outfit simple.

All in all when it comes to animal print, you must exercise good fashion judgment. Just because something is available in animal print doesn’t mean it should actually be worn. There is no shortage of clothing manufacturers out there committing fashion crimes with animal print.
Unless you’re a six-foot fashion model or a tour guide at the zoo, it’s probably not a good idea to wear pants, jackets, coats or skirts in animal print patterns– unless, that is, you’re going for the Cruella DeVille look.