Often the reserve of our female counterparts, leopard print is leading the pack this season as part of the wider animal print trend.
Having recently emerged from the fashion wilderness, animal print emphasises menswear’s ever-broadening horizons and continual move in a bolder and braver direction. Long gone are the days of monochrome monotony – a walk down the high street is now an experience awash with colour and pattern.
Quickly working its way down to the high street after Saint Laurent, Burberry et al. set the tone on the runways, the print has been featured prominently within new AW13 lookbooks from the likes of ASOS and Boohoo MAN.
It has also been the focus of recent celebrity collaborations, with Professor Green making use of the print in his range for Puma whilst Oliver Proudlock, of Made in Chelsea and Serge DeNimes fame, incorporated it into his Oliver Sweeney capsule footwear collection.
With all this in mind, the print looks set to become as popular with men as it is with the fairer sex this autumn/winter. However, its prominence within womenswear circles means that working out ways to wear it can be a bit of a challenge – something we intend to address today…
How To Wear: Leopard Print
On The Runways
Animal print, and leopard in particular, made its presence felt at the global AW13 fashion weeks, with it being applied to everything from subtle accessories at Burberry Prorsum and Carven to footwear at Roberto Cavalli to bold statement overcoats from design houses such as Etro, Louis Vuitton and Saint Lauren:
Modern Lookbook Inspiration
Bringing the look from the runway to the masses, everyone from Topman and H&M to House of Fraser and ASOS have included leopard print within recent lookbooks and campaigns:
Look One: Casual Statement
Our acclimatisation to print over the past few seasons may have reduced its statement-making impact somewhat, but leopard print offers a fresh take that can help effortlessly separate your look from the crowd.
Something as simple as a tee with an all-over print is all you need to really make your casual ensembles pop this season – and that is exactly what we build our outfit around in this first look.
Allow the print to stand out by combining with pieces that don’t distract too much. A pair of grey minimal chinos and dark burgundy desert boots anchors the tee, whilst the layering of an on trend biker jacket over the top is ideal for dealing with the transitioning weather:
- Pro Green X Puma T-shirt Honey B Leopard Print
- Allsaints Brute Leather Biker Jacket
- Slim Fit Twill Chinos
- Pierre Hardy Velvet-trimmed Suede Desert Boots
Look Two: Casual Accent
If making a statement isn’t your style, or you simply want to build up to a bolder print by experimenting with subtler detailing, then utilising leopard in an accent role is the way to go.
A printed pocket on a plain tee or a pair of socks glinting out between your trousers and trainers will inject a sense of life and personality into any look, without drawing too much attention.
We opt for both within this outfit – with some timeless navy chinos sandwiched between the two. A denim jacket is a year-round staple well worth investing in, and here we layer it over the tee.
Complete this casual ensemble with some minimalist trainers and an of-the-moment backpack, for a look that is perfect whether you’re on campus or simply running off-duty errands:
- River Island White Wesc Leopard Print Pocket T-shirt
- Allsaints Fremont Denim Jacket
- Reiss Wickham Garment Washed Chinos Midnight
- Sandqvist Roald Canvas Rucksack In Navy
- Asos Leopard Print Socks
- Veja Mens Esplar Leather Sneakers
Look Three: Statement Footwear
Leopard print Derbies were a feature at the Burberry Prorsum AW13 showcase and footwear is shaping up to be a key way to wear the print. Put a casual spin on the trend with some retro runners that feature a printed panel.
With the dressed down feel, light jeans are a great option and a wash that continues to be underused – allowing you to stand out amongst a sea of indigo. Take your first tentative steps into the world of pattern mixing with a sparsely printed motif shirt, before layering up with an off-duty staple, the sweatshirt.
By confining the leopard print to a smaller panel, it doesn’t grab the attention like a pair of full print Derbies or loafers would, yet the detailing still makes a statement in a more subtle, understated way:
- Topman A Question Of Pirates Long Sleeve Shirt
- Acne College Crew-neck Sweatshirt 163294
- Saint Laurent Slim-fit Washed 17.5cm Hem Denim Jeans
- Asos Trainers With Leopard Print
Look Four: Unexpected Formality
Bring some unexpected formality to leopard print with a contrast sleeve blazer. Certainly not suitable for the office or a formal event, but at smart-casual affairs or when you want to dress up with an edge, a flash of leopard is an unexpected way to mix it up.
With a white shirt and black trousers setting the foundation, the look below is simple, effective and ready to support the boldness of the blazer and accessories. Although patent leather shoes work extremely well within this outfit – patent double monks are even better.
Accessorise the look to give it an edge. A collar chain and/or half-spiked belt are unusual accessories that bring character to the look and emphasise the pattern’s rock ‘n’ roll connotations:
- Allsaints Redondo Shirt
- River Island Grey Leopard Print Sleeve Skinny Blazer
- Tally & Hoe Rose Collar Chain
- Reiss Poker T Classic Work Trousers Black
- Burberry Shoes & Accessories Studded Cross-grain Leather Belt
- Okeeffe Vernice Patent-leather Monk-strap Brogues
Look Five: Accessory Accent
Leopard accessories offer a versatile way of incorporating the print. These half leopard print leather gloves would transition well between casual and formal wear, especially when paired with a classic overcoat for a bold but successful contrast.
In this instance, we’ve erred toward the casual side. A knitted long sleeve polo under the coat helps create a refined top half that retains a relaxed appeal. Heavyweight trousers give depth to the ensemble due to their tactile nature, whilst the neutral colour is the epitome of versatility.
Complete the look with some solid boots to bring a rugged charm that belies any femininity associated with the print; they will also ensure you are 100 per cent prepared for the incoming adverse weather as we enter the seasonal segue.
Support your choice of footwear and feet with a pair of boot socks, which finishes this practical, casual ensemble off perfectly:
- Reiss Gates Extra Fine Merino Polo Navy
- Allsaints District Coat
- Burberry Prorsum Leopard-print Calf Hair Gloves 163084
- Asos Slim Chino In Brushed Cotton
- Topman Purple Twist Boot Socks
- Dolce & Gabbana Textured-leather Boots
Key Pieces: Leopard Print
- Topman Grey Denim Wash Leopard High Roll T-shirt
- River Island Pink Leopard Print T-shirt
- Acne Isherwood Leopard-print Cotton Shirt
- Adidas Leopard Sleeve Shirt
- Topman Leopard Print Bomber Jacket
- Raf Simons Leopard-patterned Sweater
- All Over Long Sleeve Leopard Print Shirt
- Worland Leopard Pocket Tee
- Topman White Hem Leopard T-shirt
- Mi-pac Leopard Barrel Bag
- Sheriff & Cherry G12 Clear Leopard Sunglasses
- Asos Derby Shoes With Leopard Print
- Asos Desert Boots In Leopard Print
- Topman Hudson Tan Leopard Print Loafers
- Saint Laurent Leopard-print Silk Scarf
It’s highly likely that leopard print is going to polarise opinion; the biggest challenge with wearing it is fighting the social stigma that comes attached. That being said, it does have a lot of potential for those brave enough to incorporate it into their look and has certainly helped shake up the print scene, which continues to dominate menswear.
But now it is time for your view:
- Will you be taking a walk on the wild side and trying out some leopard print?
- Or is it simply not for you?
- Do any of the looks above suit your style?
- How would you wear leopard print?
Let us know in the comments section below…