How to Wear Leopard Without Looking Like a Cougar

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I belong to knitting circle in my area in which we rotate the meeting place at each other’s homes. I do mostly small projects with fat knitting needles or crochet rectangles of various sizes while the ladies around me turn out marvelous needlepoint and cashmere sweaters. This week we met at home of an incredible collector and her decorating inspired this post. The house is filled to overflowing with antique and flea market treasures, the walls are covered in floral wallpaper, handmade quilts lined stair rails and chair backs. Every inch of space was filled with something special. I felt like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy arriving in Oz. It was perfect like a museum diorama or movie set, yet somehow, it just felt rich and wonderful to be in the space.

The owner gave us a tour and as we were going from room to room I noticed one constant: there was something in leopard print (usually a rug) in every single room. Aha! She was using leopard as a neutral to anchor everything else! This is exactly why I love leopard. There is something about the evenness of the spots and the warmth of the colors that render it a perfect building block to any outfit. It is also something that never really goes out of style. Sure, there are seasons when everyone is mad for animal prints and the streets are a jungle of ladies in tiger and zebra. But when the trend dies down, leopard is still there, a wardrobe workhorse always ready to bring out your wild side.


The amazing Dawn Doherty giving 5th Ave a Leopard FabInjection in this month’s Mann Report.

 Leopard 101

 Spotty Attitude

  • Men like leopard a lot.  I used to have a pair of leopard ballet flats that I wore until they were falling apart. I never thought they were that flattering; I have wide feet and a flat shoe tends to accentuate that. But they were comfortable for running around New York City concrete and worked with all my clothes. It was like being blonde—men would stop me on the street to tell me they liked my shoes.
  • If you are not sure about leopard, a shoe is the perfect gateway drug. I have a leopard pump that I wear all the time.
  • Make sure the color is a background of rich golden with dark brown/black spots. I’ve found that this is the most versatile color combo and you know how I love versatility.
  • Leopard is the one thing that older women can pull off better than younger women.  I think it has something to do with self awareness and  sophisticated sexuality.
  • It is perfect for print mixing—florals and leopard, polka dots and leopard, stripes and leopard. Think Dolce and Gabbana. It’s all awesome.

Create your own concrete jungle. When you are making outfits with leopard, follow the FabFour rule from Fab7: How to Love Getting Dressed.


  • Leopard sheath dress—yes. Try layering with a crisp white shirt underneath.
  • Leopard shoes—always. If they are seasonally appropriate, wear them with everything.
  • Leopard jacket—I say only if you really know what you are doing. It can cross over to Cougartown real quick.  Every time I think of a leopard jacket I imagine crispy blonde ladies in expensive but ugly black jeans, lambskin boots, flashy diamonds and a trailing floral miasma. I can’t shake the image.
  • Leopard trousers or jeans—Yes as long as everything else is a solid earthtone or black.
  • Leopard pant suit—hell yes! This is a case where too much is just right. But please make sure the thing is fitted perfectly. I have visions of long butt and camel toe and that is bad, people. Black closed toe killer heel only and no jewelry. Wear the jacket closed at all times polished spotness.
  • Color pairing: no red—try blue, green or pink for something fresher. Go for a pastel for a sweet/sexy thing.
  • Leopard coat—always. (Never fur!) See my amazing friend Dawn Doherty on the cover of the Mann Report this Month. That bitch is owning 5th Avenue in that leopard coat!
  • Leopard camisole—Another piece I wore to death. Freaky Frenchy Girl and Joan of Arc in one! Use it under a wrap dress for a little peekaboo.

 Try a little leapord today! Rawr!

Do you need a little leopard love in your life?  Do you want to stop wasting your time and money on clothes that don’t work for you? Could you use some style guidance or a closet co-pilot? Are you ready to develop your own Wardrobe Language to tell the world about your amazing self? Do you want it for FREE? You are in luck! I’m giving away FREE 30 minute FabVirtual sessions! This is your chance to work face to face with me for FREE! Let’s log on together and get your style on track so you always look the part!  Fill out the form below and type FabVirtual in the comment section to get started! 

Reminder: Fab7 Workshop: Perfectly Imperfect will be held this Sunday!  It’s free!  Learn how to Dress for your Body Type and Get Out of Shopping Overwhelm. 3PM Hampton Coffee Experience Store, 749 County Road 39 A, Southampton, next to BMW Southampton.



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