If you’re not in your 40’s already you probably don’t even know who Bet Lynch is. She was a rather buxom and very blonde (we’re talking peroxide pineapple on her head!) pub landlady in Coronation Street and had a penchant for all things leopard print!
It’s a look I also love and frequently wear but as you get older, it can be trickier to pull off without looking like a complete #cougar! Not that being a cougar is a bad thing! Ya’ll know that my boo is 10 years younger than me right so officially, I am Cat the Cougar!!!
Anyway, I do so LOVE a bit of animal print – shoes, coat, handbag, print on a shirt – hell I’ve been known to rock a few combos’ all at once. Bit daring that one though – it’s like doing double denim – you need to know how to pull off the femme fatale look without turning it into a massive faux pas instead! I just went and checked my wardrobe and I counted 2 coats, a suit, couple of t-shirts, a shirt, 2 skirts, a scarf, three pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of boots all in varying animal prints and colours from the classic brown and black print to red, khaki, pink, grey, blue and a rather fetching python design from Vivienne Westwood.
Leopard and animal print (thank god) will be eternally and perennially in fashion so here are a few style tips on how to channel and style this look in your 40's.
Shoes are an easy way to immediately add some OOMPH to an outfit.
Who doesn’t own a pair of leopard print shoes or boots? I have variants of both and differing colour ways too. Here’s a selection of some of my current faves out there.
Most leopard or animal print will invariably contain black in the print so keep it clean and simple and wear with colours like black, navy blue and burgundy.
Keep to strong solids when you have a statement shoe.
Ensure the attention is on your shoes and not all over the shop by avoiding too many other patterns and textures that create a complete clash!
Wear with denim – always, repeat always, a winner!
Experiment - don’t be afraid to go for different colour combo’s
Whilst prints that resemble the real thing look more sophisticated and classic, I have a fabulous pair of Khaki and black print boots from All Saints which I just love and a pair of pink Agent Provocateur mules too which I've had for about 20 years and still pull out from time to time.
My current favourite is one I bought last year from Marks and Spencer’s Autograph range which is an over-sized, manly affair, but a very striking coat that always gets me plenty of compliments. It's really easy to wear and quite elegant. I'll be wearing it for work today over a simple black shift dress.
I also have more vintage pieces in fake fur that have stayed in my wardrobe from my Uni days. Much to my Dad's horror who thought they made me look cheap back then - let alone now that I have the VERY blonde hair to match! It is however just one of those fashion staples that you know will always come back around so it's worth hanging on to your furs even if they do go back into storage every now and then.
The great news is there are always loads of options on the high street as well as high end labels to choose from, so whatever your budget, you'll be able to pick something up.
Pair with skinny jeans and a classic black sweater
Team with a single and simple bold colour dress
Looks just fabulous with a pair of denims and a white shirt – think Marilyn Monroe
It looks super cute and flattering I think with pink, especially baby pink
All black everything – natch - you can never go wrong this way
If the shoes and coat are too VA VA VOOM for your tastes, then look for a handbag that has some print detailing. I love my Meli Melo handbag and also my Vivienne Westwood one both of which have animal print detailing.
A belt, scarf or bracelet are also a good way to incorporate this look if you are on the more reserved side. Oh yes, or a pair of fabulous sunnies! I almost forgot about the must have animal print accessory, the sunglasses! Instantly taking you from the back street cobbles of Manchester (aka Bet Lynch) to Marilyn Monroe old school Hollywood on the Santa Monica Boulevard.
I will eventually take photos of me in my own genuine articles but the light in my flight is crap and I only have an i-phone so keep reading my blog and one day when I'm rich and famous I will be able to invest in a camera so that I can take some proper photos and even better still, someone to take them for me! (it won't be him indoors - he seems to have an almost legendary knack of making me look crap though he assures me he's done a photography course (when he was 5 wearing a blindfold!))
So there you have it.
If you want to be a bona fide Triple F, you seriously need to get some animal instinct in your life! You need to own it, and rock it. You don’t need a fag in your hand to pull off this look but you do need to bring your own unique #swagger!