Welcome to the Jungle

by Devon Scott

When I was little, my Mother took me to Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana. I remember staring in awe at the leopard exhibit, admiring their grace and sleekness. It made me feel like a jungle explorer: watching the big cats move with elegance and then, at the last second, BAM – attack their prey!

 The same can be said for the attack of leopard print overtaking the fashion world these days. It’s seen everywhere from the runway to the racks at Saks and beyond.

The print is about making a statement – being bold, but not overselling the look.  

Saks Women's shoes sales consultant Ronez McGrady put it to me like this as I was exploring the fashion safari, "Leopard print for women is the equivalent of camouflage wear for men – eye-catching, a bit daring, and easily accessorized." One man's army is one woman's jungle.  

But how to do it without scaring off your fellow fashion felines? 

I recommend the more neutral palette to rock this bold and feisty look. Black booties, black or white slouchy boots, or even the over-the-knee boots in grey, black, or brown are perfect for items like the monochromatic dress from Jessica Simpson ($118 at Von Maur) or the black leopard print David Meister dress, which also combines some glitz in the form of sequined accenting at the waist ($395 at Saks). Looking at the Meister dress, I also had the idea of some sassy red or silver heels.

For those of you not quite daring enough to go with the print as the focal point of your look, there is a myriad of accessories that will make the rest of the big cats in the jungle purr with adoration.

Roberto Cavalli, a master of all things printed, gives us this stellar shoulder bag ($2815 at cavalli.com).

If your bag is going to make a statement, pair it with a solid palette (a leopard print purse+leopard print pants+anything else printed will leave your prey cross-eyed). Victoria Beckham, high fashion jungle priestess she is, matches Marc Jacobs with a black mini-dress and simple black knee boots.

For shoes, I fell instantly in love with Stuart Weitzman's over-the-knee leopard print boots ($895 at Nordstrom.com). I have visions of skinny jeans and a black Kenneth Cole sweater to strut out in these.  

I also discovered Tory Burch integrating that familiar spotted print into this pair of wedges ($295 at Saks).  Not only are they comfortable (okay, I admit – I tried them on), but they'd look stellar with black tights and a sweater dress.

One more tip: I don't care how much in love you might be with a certain sleeved blanket, said item in leopard print is NOT a fashion statement!

Happy hunting, my pretties, and watch out for sharp claws!


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