Fashion: Animal Print – Call of the Wild Child

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Throw in a few leaping leopards, pulsing pythons and zippy zebras, and you’ve got an animal menagerie that is creating a fashion jungle out there this fall.

The cats haven’t been howling as much as they have on this season’s runways, since legendary fashion editor extraordinaire Diana Vreeland pushed the animal prints of a young Yves Saint Laurent. Vreeland was a big fan of animal prints — she not only adopted them as her own uniform, but she used them liberally when decorating her own home. The print that can truly be called a classic has now found its way into stylish wardrobes everywhere, young and old. Animal-print diapers, anyone?

smo080310adAP2Here are a few ways to get your fall wardrobe roaring with chic animal prints:

— Dress it up. Yes, this may be the ultimate style statement — head to toe animal prints in a chic dress. But you can get away with it, especially for evening occasions when you’ve got your claws out, ready to scratch your way out of the little black dress crowd.

— Jackets required. Another way to do animal prints big time. Top off jeans and a white T-shirt with a cropped animal-print jacket, and you’ve got a winning combination. Or dress up in a satin version a la St. John (www.stjohnknits.com), and you’ve got elegant cocktail attire ready for any party.

— Skirting the issue. This fall, the perfect foil to the classic black turtleneck the animal-print pencil skirt. Pair it with black tights and ankle boots for an instant trend boost. Find a bargain skirt at JCPenney (www.jcp.com).

— Power plays. Even the suit gets a lift doxycycline cheap online from animal prints this season. When you want to look powerful, suit up in a spotted leopard-print jacket, belted, and worn over a matching skirt like the ones in the fall collection at Moschino. (www.moschino.com)

— Faux fur. The cat fur was flying off the runways, especially in coats and jackets, but vests are one of the newest ways to get the feline fashion growling in your wardrobe. Vests are easy to wear and layer over T-shirts and turtlenecks or even sweatshirts — and another way to dress up jeans or leggings. Check out the leopard-print puffer vest by Rebecca Taylor at Neiman Marcus (www.neimanmarcus.com).

— Topping it off. Want something new to wear with those trusty black trousers to work? How about an animal-print bow blouse? Or a belted animal-print tunic top? It’s the perfect way to perk up basic black or camel basics. Dolce and Gabbana and Dries Van Noten have some of the best toppers, but for less expensive animal-print tops, check out the ones at Top Shop (www.topshop.com).

— Catty accessories. You may not want to dress up like Cat Woman in that suit or cocktail dress, but you can at least purr over a furry wraparound muffler or an animal-print tote bag or a spotted leopard belt. There are plenty of shoes and boots in a wide range of prices that will give you even more meow pow. My favorite animal-print accessory spot? The python leggings from Wolford (www.wolford.com) Happy hunting!

Image: One of the best bargains this fall is JCPenney’s animal-print pencil skirt by Worthington — a classic way to dress up a career look for the office. Photo courtesy of JCPenney.

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