You could be forgiven for thinking the words ‘leopard print’ and ‘crop top’ should never be placed in the same sentence, but if there’s one thing I’m learning about fashion then it’s the fact you should never say never. There are items hanging in my closet I wouldn’t have thought of picking up five years ago, but as I get older my confidence grows and I learn it’s always a good idea to try new things; sticking with the same style, shapes and textures forever makes shopping a very boring (and restrictive) past-time, so forcing ourselves to push boundaries often injects fun back into fashion. In the words of Mark Heyes (the fashion reporter on Lorraine, my hero) “leopard print is a neutral, it goes with everything” – and I couldn’t agree more.
I’m naturally drawn to a bit of leopard and have been for the best part
of twenty years; I’ll never forget this oversized leopard print suedette
oversized shirt I wore with bootcut black trousers to the part of the
year when I was sixteen, even if it maybe should be parked in the
‘probably best to forget’ category. Since then I’ve loved a bit of
animal print as a way of spicing up an otherwise dull look, or for
working as a colour way that goes with literally everything (it’s hot to
wear leopard and florals this summer FYI!)
On a whim I picked up this cute tie shirt ‘cropped top’ from New Look because it looked effortlessly cool on the hanger while appealing to my inner Bet Lynch. I wasn’t sure what to pair it with (I hate wearing short tops with jeans as it exposes my wobbly belly,) until I remembered I had this awesome leatherette pleated skirt from Marks & Spencer – because if you’re going to do animal print, you may as well go all out. The top is long and relaxed enough that it covers and enhances, rather than leaving you feeling self conscious and exposed, so is perfect to pair with a midi skirt so you can tick multiple trends at once.
It’s easy to feel intimidated by certain trends, but more often than not it’s about finding the right style and fit for you, so that it feels effortless rather than forced; I’d look and feel pretty horrendous in a tight crop top, but the loose material and flattering shape of this keeps it classy and ‘age appropriate’ – because I don’t want to dress like a teenager.
The rest of the look consists of a pair of chunky leopard print heels I picked up in the ASOS sale (they’re no longer available but there are tonnes of alternatives!) I love the fact they’re a bit more relaxed and easier to walk in than normal heels, as well as the wider animal print style that keeps them fresh. You could easily style these up with a LBD or wear in the day with a floral midi – that’s the benefit of leopard print, because it really is neutral!
Finishing off the look is a pair of red tassel earrings from Topshop that I still blooming love six months on (you can pick up every colour in the rainbow for only a fiver now,) as well as my fave Zara studded leatherette clutch bag. Not forgetting these awesome YSL dupe sunglasses I found on eBay (with a little help from Hannah Gale) for a bargainous £2.99 – I’ve got them in black too, and honestly at a distance you’d never know they weren’t Saint Laurent.
Although this is probably a great outfit to take you from office to bar, I’d totally wear it out to lunch on a Sunday if I could get away with it… Being bold is everything.
Marks & Spencer Leatherette Pleated Skirt | £40.00 | LINK
New Look Leopard Print Tie-Up Shirt | £17.99 | LINK
SHOP THE LOOK
Photos Taken By Kirsty: fashionforlunch.net
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