I recently had the pleasure of writing a piece about animal print (one of the big fashion trends for autumn/winter 2018), for Total Guide Swindon.  And it inspired me to write this blog focusing on professional women, apropos following fashion trends such as animal print. The what, the where and the how.

As an independent personal stylist, I don’t encourage women to wear a trend for the sake of it. After all, not every trend works for every woman.  Nor is it necessarily their taste.   Nor do I conform to the notion of wearing the dress/ statement bag/shoe etc of the season, simply because it’s the thing to have.  Though I know what they are of course.  I love fashion and so follow the trends in the shops and online.  Useful tip: if you’re on Instagram, follow some style influencers. Look for Doesmy bumlook40, luludumas or chloelovestoshop.  They’re a great way to discover what items are the season’s ‘must haves’, without having to figure it out for yourself.  You can also see how they style it which is fab too.

Anyhow, I’ve digressed!  Part of my job is knowing what the current and future trends in clothes are, and will be, but my main work is helping my clients discover their own personal style.  With that established, I then show them how to work some of the trends into their current wardrobes and their lifestyles, so that they work for them.

So, back to animal print.  Can anyone wear it? The short answer to that is: Yes, they can. But how to wear it, what sort of print to wear and the colours to choose are a different matter.  Along with when to wear it and how much of it to wear.  So not so simple is the longer answer.  If you do like animal print and want to wear it for work but could use some advice you’re in luck. I’ve set out below some simple guidelines to the purr-fect wear to wear animal print. The caveat being that they’re only guidelines.  My main aim as a personal stylist is to make you feel amazing in what you wear. It’s not for me to decide what’s right for you. Only YOU can decide that.

Animal Print at Work

Unless you’re a regular wearer of prints and patterns, turning up to work in an animal print wrap dress may cause some heads to turn.  Not mine of course, as I love a good animal print dress and I would be complimenting you on it. And why don’t women do that more?!  But, depending on your work dress code and your current style, you will have an idea of what would be appropriate.  In a more conservative profession, you may wish to stay subtle and opt for a belt, shoes or a bag in animal print.  In my article in Total Guide I described my top picks.  A scarf is another way to work the look into your professional wardrobe.  Keep the rest of the outfit simple and in plain colours if you’re wearing animal print in this way.  That way you can feel uber stylish without sending shock waves round the office.

If your work/business is more open to style choices, go for a silk shirt or a maxi skirt in an animal print.  Alternatively, trousers or a blazer, but keep the print subtle.  A smart work dress in animal print with a simple blazer on top would look professional and feminine without losing authority.  The key is keeping accessories simple and elegant. Wear good quality fabrics and make sure the style of what you’re wearing suits your body shape.

There is so much animal print in the shops at the moment that you should also be able to find a flattering print for your skin tone.  Cooler toned skins should wear warm toned colours such as cheetah, leopard or giraffe prints, in shades of brown and yellows.  Warmer toned and olive skins should wear cooler toned prints such as zebra or snake skin in blues, greys, whites and backs.  Wearing the right shade of animal print will make your skin glow.

The next important consideration is what sort of print and what size of print is best suited to you.  Big bold prints may overpower you if you are petite. In that instance, go for smaller and more delicate patterns. This applies to florals, or any other print for that matter.  Ask yourself if the print is the first thing you see in your outfit.  If it is, people will focus on your clothes rather than the important point you made at the meeting, or the great presentation you’re giving.  You want people to focus on you and your abilities rather than what you’re wearing.  Your clothes should enhance your brand and your professionalism, not contradict it.

You can apply these loose guidelines about animal print to most prints and patterns and indeed colours.  Think about your work environment, your dress code and, above all, the message you want your clothes to convey.  What we see influences us far more than what we hear – whether we realise it or not. Hence, I repeat: your clothes should not distract from how amazing you are at work. Rather, they should enhance your authority, professionalism and intelligence.

Animal print, worn in the right way for YOU can do exactly that. So for specific advice on how to make this trend, or any other for that matter, work for you, please do contact me.  I do love a good animal print conversation! OR I love a roaring good animal print conversation so contact me via LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.  You can also call me on 07538946839 or email me at info@ishbelswardrobe.co.uk