Wild things: With animal print it's cool to be kitsch

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Don't hold back – animal print is everywhere this season, on scarves, gloves, trainers and even bloomers. It's cool to be kitsch, says Harriet Walker

On accessories

One easy way to avoid animal print overkill is to introduce it to plain outfits by way of smart accessories.

Try changing your spots with Christopher Kane's cashmere mittens (£135, www.matchesfashion.com), or a leopard print scarf. They're a high-fashion hero piece with a heritage: American artist Stephen Sprouse designed a blown-up and cartoonish leopard print for Louis Vuitton in 2007 and the caramel splodges became a cult classic, slung around the necks of A-listers and the fashion pack alike and much copied on the high street. The classic Vuitton version is still available (£715, 020 7399 4050) and as classy as ever, but it is joined this season by acidic bright tiger prints at Mulberry and rich violet-indigo hues from Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent (£650, www.net-a-porter.com).

This season, the belt is key to any look: it should be narrow and fastened at waist height over cardigans and sweater dresses, with the end looped under the strap in a loose knot. And there are plenty of animal styles to choose from in everything from leather to Boden's strokable calfskin (£23.20, www.boden.co.uk).

On top

Nothing captures the imagination like an animal print coat – from Mrs Robinson to Bet Lynch, safari-spotted outerwear renders a woman modern and vivacious yet classically elegant. The trick is to get the proportions right. Longer lengths are best kept minimally styled – collarless, for example, and in wool or gabardine, rather than faux fur. The line should be simple and fitted, perhaps with a Fifties-esque nipped waist or swing detail.

Short jackets can be more daring – this is the place to introduce some fuzz, if that's your bag. Banish leopard print's naff associations with barmaids and working men's clubs: a faux fur jacket or chubbie can be dressed up for a bit of vintage glamour or down for latter-day grunge (jacket £120, French Connection, www.frenchconnection.com). Similarly, sweaters and cardigans are sturdy separates that mean you can invest in this trend without overhauling your entire wardrobe (jumper £220, D&G, www.my-wardrobe.com; cardigan £145, APC, www.net-a-porter.com). Make sure, though, that if you choose an animal print pelt to keep you warm all winter, you wear it in isolation. Don't go overboard with this trend – one layer is quite enough.

On your shoulder

Printed bags aren't just for the beach; they also work well with a dour winter wardrobe to add a bit of much-needed pizzazz. The latest batch of must-have Mulberry bags arrives in stores at the beginning of December, and what a bright prospect they are. Following on from autumn's hallucinogenic fluoro prints, they feature a bleached but vibrant tiger print in pink on white and come in favourite styles the Bayswater and the Alexa (£795, 020 7491 3900). Or there are clutches available almost everywhere on the high street ("Perfect for the party season!" is the advice from most of the fashion oracles), from Zara's roomy envelope clutch to Topshop's slouchy baguette style. Or slip the latter's compact mirror (£14, www.topshop. com) into your bag to add some grrr to the daily grind.

On your feet

What could be more charming, slapping through the urban slush, than Lanvin's leopard trainers (£425, www.brownsfashion.com)? They take some of the femme fatale out of animal print and inject a bit of fun. If you're after something more feminine, though, Stella McCartney's grey leopard heels are a good option (and with this eco-designer, you can be doubly sure no leopards were hurt in the making of these shoes), or New Look's ballet pumps (£16.99, www.newlook.com) are an excellent everyday choice to liven up your skinny jeans.

On the tiles

A party perennial, animal print is ideal for making a festive statement, and works across the spectrum from high-camp glamour to lo-fi elegance. Zara's skater dress (£69.99, www.zara.com) is a young and girlish option, while Project D's asymmetrically draped zebra print number (£210, www.my-wardrobe.com) would work well for a more formal cocktail party – with pared-down accessories, of course. This turquoise silk top by Joie (£175, www.matches fashion.com) is a gentler way of doing statement bright prints, teamed with black trousers and flats.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions