Thursday, November 10, 2011

Runway to Retro Way: Leopard Print

So leopard print is everywhere at the moment, Fashionable Reader. I was just glancing through my fashion blog feed (on a break from packing) and what did I see?

Keiko Lynn sporting, quite possibly, all of the fall trends in one outfit. Oddly enough, I own a cape just like that, in raincoat material, and those shoes in black. But not that hat, I sport many hats but bowlers aren't for me. Still I rather love this outfit, and I may do my own take on it with army green trousers and a black cloche.

But it's the pants I was struck by. Yet again with the leopard! I wouldn't go that far (leopard pants . . . not for me) but I have recently invested in two very leopard accessories.

 Pork pie leopard hat from Bon Marche Thrift Store, Sonoma, $15.

How could I resist? It reminded me so much of this iconic photo:

Tuppence Ha'penny by Charlotte blogs about the leopard pillbox hat, here as well. Thredbanger on how to make a pillbox.
Leopard print hide & leather bag, Church Mouse Thrift Store in Sonoma, $20.

I also scored this more subtle leopard scarf and a skinny gold belt.

The thing about leopard is it is very vintage. Yet it reminds me, when it is in anything clothing (rather than accessory) of the 1980s. And I just . . . can't. I feel very daring having even strayed into bag, scarf, and hat territory. I haven't had the courage to wear them yet, but I will soon. They are too cute to resist for long. Somehow I simply find leopard accessories more manageable.

Although, that said, I do have a leopard bathing suit I've worn on several occasions, so I guess I'm not that scared.

Leopard is so iconic of the 1950s that I believe I really must rise above these negative 1980s associations.

So I thought, with so many leopard bits and bobs surfacing, I might explore a few ways to buy leopard now, and make it look like it was from the past, but not the 80s past. Here we go!

You can wear full shirts, coats, dresses, trousers, or skirts of leopard and still look retro.

Queen Dita and Amber Heard for Guess Fall 2011
Dior's Mitzah Bricard Collection and the lady herself

I owned a beautiful pair of leopard peep toe pumps but they sadly got destroyed by an encounter with a street grate (ah the hazard of stilettos). It was very traumatizing, and, if you don't mind, I'd rather not think about the loss.
For a quick vintage take, I think the simplest is actually to add leopard trim onto a dress, hat, or coat.

Marilyn Monroe
Christian Dior coat dress ca. 1947 via The Kyoto Costume Institute
Dolores del Rio

But if you haven't the time or the sewing skills? Leopard accessorizes. I never think of combining leopard with color, btu now I might do it for fun.

Also,  I'm kind of dieing to try these:

Lastly, one for Alexia to wear . . .

Jacques Doucet dress ca. 1880 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


  1. I'm not usually a fan of the leopard print (or any animal print), but some of these looked alright. The vintage look definitely is better than the 80s look! However, I probably won't be rushing out to buy any of them any time soon (though I'm desperately craving some shopping time. Alas, with exams I've been reduced to online shopping only. But it was Diana Ferrari, so it's OK!).

    And I'm a little bit horrified by that last dress...

  2. Being fat, I don't do any animal prints. It's too much of a stereotype that we fat chicks wear them and like horizontal stripes and bold/busy patterns, animal prints make us look fatter. Despite what many of my fellow fatties want to claim.

    I think that last dress is more Ivy than Alexia. If Ivy was into horrible dresses the way she's into horrible hats.

  3. I love this! I have leopard shoes and just this morning saw a terrific leopard hat. I think this post has helped me make up my mind to get it....


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