Look, you can read blogs till you're blue in the face, study different looks, do whatever it is that you do in order to get to your own sartorial safe place, but leopard will always be leopard, and leopard is always going to be just a wee bit difficult.
Sure, it's easy enough to do a handbag here, a shoe there…in fact, that's a great way to sort of build your leopard tolerance up a bit if you're looking to be a bit braver in your choices. But don't let that cute little pair of leopard ballet flats fool you - leopard will always be preceded by its reputation for appearing in such unsavoury places as seedy hotel rooms with heart-shaped vibrating beds, or perhaps on the upholstery of the Louis XIV chairs in Donald Trump's gold-plated boudoir.
Sorry everyone…sorry. I'll give you a moment to erase that visual image before proceeding. *takes deep breaths while focusing on a purifying white light*
Okay, we good?
My larger point here is that while leopard is a tricky print to work with, it is also a pretty awesome neutral, and when you wear it well, is a real confidence-builder. However, the question remains - can leopard ever be classy?
My answer to this will be pretty obvious to those of you who have been hanging around a while (and thanks for that, by the way), because it's the same answer that I tend to give to a lot of the sartorial questions that pop-up around here; it's all about the balance.
Because leopard is leopard, you really don't need anything else. You don't need it to be exceedingly tight; body conscious is fine, head to toe skin tight is trying too hard. It doesn't need to be ultra short, mega low-cut, or have a lot of ruffles and flourishes on it. I like to think of leopard print in the following way; the print has already done all the work for me. All I need to do is put it on, choose a few (very few) well-appointed but minimal accessories, create a simple hairstyle, and I'm good to go. It's actually quite freeing. So..you know…rawr.
thrifted Ralph Lauren dress, similar / Stuart Weitzman shoes / Honora earrings / beaded clutch (old), similar