A Surprising Wardrobe Essential: The Leopard Print Coat
If you watch my Youtube channel, you’ve heard me say many times that leopard print – or any form of natural animal print for that matter – is a neutral. Knowing this, you would think I wouldn’t be so shocked at how easy it is to wear a statement coat like leopard print for so many occasions.
As bold a print as it is, leopard can be a surprising essential for a closet that thrives on minimalist and functional pieces. If your closet is full of bold prints and punchy colours then I’m sure you’re already familiar with the power of leopard, but as someone who considers a red shirt “wild” this was news to me.
I’ve had my leopard coat for a full year now. I bought it off an acquaintance who is a MASTER thrifter and DIYer. It’s vintage, has a 60’s swing silhouette and florette buttons. To be honest I will change the buttons next season as they’re a bit too costumey for my liking, but for now, I’m happy with the oversize silhouette and silky smooth fuzziness of it.
For all its charm, I understand why leopard prints – especially in a coat format – can be intimidating to wear. They’re big, bold, sometimes bulky, and well … would animalistic be too literal?
So here are a few tips on how to wear the leopard print coat, as well as tips on how to purchase your very first if you have yet to take the plunge or are thinking about it, and want to make a mindful choice.
HOW TO WEAR A LEOPARD PRINT COAT
Whether its a bulky silhouette or not, you can cinch your leopard coat with a wide or bright coloured belt for extra punch. This completely changes the silhouette to something a bit less daunting.
Although my favourite combination is with black so as to pull from the spots, because of the mottled colour combination of the print, most colours tend to work really well with leopard.
I like pairing unexpected garments together for an equally surprising look. I do this by mixing clothing with opposite functionalities. It’s a styling hack that a lot of style icons (think Sharon Stone in her groundbreaking red carpet look that featured a men’s button-down with lavender evening skirt – if you don’t know it, stop reading and click here) use to create unexpected looks.
I should say monochrome with an all-black ensemble underneath because to me, that is the chicest form of monochrome dressing around, and looks killer topped with a leopard print coat of any silhouette, BUT – navy or cream would be beautiful as well. Or – whatever colour floats your boat!
BUYING A LEOPARD PRINT COATnt
Secondhand or vintage
Leopard print was EVERYWHERE on the runways for Fall 2018 and while this means there is an abundance of leopard print in retail stores, I would recommend hitting up your local thrift, consignment and vintage shops first. Why? Because second hand is always best – for the environment, your wallet, and most likely, in terms of garment construction as well.
Whether shopping secondhand or retail, the abundance of leopard around means you now have the freedom of being extra choosy in your quest to find the perfect coat. Pay close attention to what silhouette suits your shape best, and what style of coat suits your lifestyle best. Living in Canada, I was super appreciative of the heavily lined weight of my coat, however I would have totally gone for a long-line blazer version if I lived somewhere warmer.
It’s always best to pay extra attention when purchasing a print because usually retailers take this opportunity to hide shoddy work. Watch out for prints that don’t line up as a sign of lower quality construction.
I know, here I am taking a bold and fun print like leopard and making it boring. But buying leopard in its natural colours – orange, light yellow, black, brown – will ensure you’ll be wearing this statement piece for years to come.
If you just bought a leopard print coat and are unsure how to wear it or just fancy some leopard inspo – have a peek at my Youtube video on the topic with some more interesting visuals and happy music.
As always, thanks for reading!