When I was little, I had an idea of what sophistication and glamorous looked like. Here are a couple of things that fulfilled my vision:
• The ladies at the country club pool who laid out on loungers all day, slathered in oil, smoking cigarettes. (I knew the cigarettes were bad because I read Ramona Quinby books, but like a good ciggie ad campaign, they just looked cool.) I was certain they walked around with clinking glasses at 5:00 in their modern Miami Vice inspired homes.
• Big, blonde hair on women with visible make-up.
One would not think I would pursue a career in fashion with these visions of beauty, but time and many fashion faux pas of my own have smoothed out the rough edges. I see the cigarettes and tanning oil as serious carcinogens and I strongly feel that you should only choose one feature to highlight with visible make up. I still passionately love animal print, however. Whether it is in or out for the season, I covet a pretty kitty or slithering snake print. It is a classic, not a trend. The key to animal print is to limit your audience’s exposure to it. Head to toe is a no-no, but a well placed and designed print is always a yes!
Dresses: Worn on their own, you can easily go into an evening affair with ease. Layer a jacket or vest over them to dress them down. A denim or moto vest is an instant way to look right on trend for this season.
Bags: Even if you do not love wearing animal prints, how can you not love to carry one? In a casual canvas, this is an ideal beach or overnight tote. Much better than an everyone-has-one stripe, no?
Try a clutch with all black for a very quick and simple formal outfit.
Belts: A skinny belt is the best, and you can wear it with everything. Add it to a simple shift dress for work appropriate drama, belt over a sweater come fall, or add interest to slouchy boyfriend jeans and your favorite tee. Thin is elegant and timeless.
Scarves: I am a huge, giant, massive fan of scarves. Take your most basic outfit of jeans and a tee. It’s classic, but nothing special. In one quick step, you have a sassy little outfit just by adding a scarf. You get double sass points if it’s an animal print scarf! If you are scarf challenged, buy an infinity scarf. All you have to do is loop it around your neck.
Jewelry: This can be a challenge, but I like a challenge! Here is the key: if you are going for animal print jewelry, it MUST be bling-free. Go for tougher looking details, spikes, metal, chains; not rhinestones or you are venturing into Las Vegas territory.
Shoes: Animal print flats are about the cutest options ever. I have a pair of Manolo Blahniks and they make me giddy. I really like neon green paired with animal print this season, but if you are gutsy, mix them with a floral jacket. Here are a couple of similar options for inspiration.