Animal print has been the loud, expressive child of the fashion industry for years. From alligator skin boots to zebra-patterned pants, nature has been a prime inspiration for streetwear for as long as streetwear has existed.
While loud colors and bold patterns are always acceptable under the right circumstances, the question remains: what are these right circumstances? And what exactly can be worn to complement these patterns? Looking at leopard print specifically, there is always a time and a place, and that time and place are also subject to the proper complementary colors and apparel to wear with the leopard print in question.
First off, white shoes most certainly go with leopard print. White is among the easiest of colors to compliment, without overpowering the primary pattern or focus of the outfit.
The easiest way to determine what colors go well with a specific pattern is to ask a series of questions: Does this complimentary color make an appearance in the primary pattern? If not, does this complimentary color clash with any of the colors in the pattern? It should not take long to determine if the color you are trying to wear with your leopard print is a yes, or a no.
“You’ll never go wrong wearing an animal print with a solid neutral color like white, black, brown, khaki or taupe” (bandbblog.com). While this is correct, there are always exceptions. If the color in question is white for example, you would not want to wear this color with a pattern that holds any off-white colors such as cream, or sail. While with black, you wouldn’t want to pair this up with certain blues, or browns.
Looking specifically at shoes, white is an extremely easy color to pair with almost anything. Leopard print is no exception to this logic. White shoes will compliment, and stand out just the right amount while wearing leopard print joggers, or pants. White shoes also work great with a leopard print top, while maybe wearing blue jeans, black, or even white pants, or leggings.
Leopard print dresses are also a suitable look to pair with all-white shoes. The combinations are nearly endless as white shoes do not clash, or overpower leopard print.
Now that white has been established as a safe color to pair with leopard print, what specific style of shoes can be worn to compliment the outfit? This all depends on the occasion, the mood, and the story you are trying to tell. Heels are dependent on the outfit itself. White, black, or nude heels are a great option for a leopard print dress.
Heels will also work for a variety of other styles. Say, for example, you are wearing leopard print slacks, or dress pants, with a business-casual solid-colored buttoned shirt.
The heels would be a great compliment to this look. Say you’re wearing a casual sundress; while heels most certainly work as a pair for this style, you could also wear white sneakers or slippers. For most other casual looks, such as a leopard print sweater, jacket, shirt, or joggers, sneakers and slippers are the most wearable.
As per usual, there are always ways to “overdo it”. Leopard print stands out on its own. You do not need to cover yourself from head to toe in the pattern unless you are attending a Halloween party or an edgy Gala event. Under “normal” circumstances, use your eye as judgment, and don’t let yourself get too carried away.
Rely on the complimentary and subtle components of the outfit just as much as the leopard print itself. The attributes to the look that you may feel go unnoticed may be just what brings the whole ensemble together.
Fashion is fluid. Fashion is entirely subjective, as is true for any form of art. The eye of the beholder has the most power, but that is not to say there is no wrong way to go about fashion. Leopard print has been a favorite over decades of fashion trends and is showing no signs of retreat.
With this in mind, it is most certainly not too late to hop on board or to dig through your closet and find your favorite animal print blouse from the ’80s. When you find that leopard print shirt, outfit, or style piece that speaks to you, wear it.
Find those neutral tones to compliment your look. Rock those white sneakers, or lace up your white heels before you step into the world with your energetic style. Leopard print is a statement, but it can also be an everyday expression of who you are. To say it is loud, does not mean it is without purpose or reason.
When worn correctly, your leopard print look will catch eyes without drawing negative attention. Wear colors that compliment your pattern without overpowering and you’re sure to nail the look you’re going for.