Right On Track: Mixing Animal Prints and Pattern

Photos by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Somewhere in the fashion world a year or so ago, instead of announcing that “animal prints were in for fall”, which is a statement we hear every year, the fashion gods decided that “leopard is the new neutral”. If you keep up with this sort of thing, as I do, you know that animal prints are NEVER out of fashion and leopard is a wardrobe staple. Nevertheless, mixing animal prints with other patterns, like stripes, is a big look right now, and I am a huge fan. The art of mixing it up makes your look very chic while appearing nonchalant about the whole business, the hallmark of the naturally stylish set. And the French. 

The Striped Shirt

I am having a bit of a moment with striped shirts. I love how they look when mixed with patterns like floral, underneath my “uniform”--that would be a grey sweater—my favorite thing to wear with everything, or layered with a black blazer. Imagine my joy when I discovered this endless rose Lace Blacket Button Down Shirt that rocks two trends: the long button down shirt and lace, both big looks for fall. The oxford shirting behind the ornate floral overlay makes this very unique approach to your everyday shirt.  I recently added this Madewell Striped Mix Button Down to my closet too because not only do I love the mixed stripe design, I also love the hidden pockets. Sweet. 

My Favorite Denim

I have been hooked on Frame Denim since I bought a pair of Le Frame Skinny Distressed Denim in Gray from Intermix Bellevue last year. They have a great fit, the perfect amount of stretch, and are cool and sexy. I pretty much lived in that pair all of last year, and then I bought the Noir pair, and then the Frame Le Garçon Boyfriend over the summer. I am wearing the Le Garçon Tailored Boyfriend pair in the photo story for this blog post. Note: I have bought the distressed denim style in Frame but there is a lot to choose from, including tops, coats, sweaters and more. Check out what they have here. Next on the list: the wide legged Le High Flare Jeans.


I have always loved animal prints so to see them so prominent in everything from jackets and handbags to shoes and accessories makes me happy. You can use animal prints to make a major statement, or just add an accessory to the mix for a more subtle effect. If the pattern is bold, like my coat, then mix it with either one other bold print from the same color palette, or with pattern that is softer, like my stripe and lace button down. This coat is vintage, but you can find plenty of options out there. I think this Alice + Olivia Montana Faux Fur Coat is fabulous. The great thing about leopard? It is very ladylike and racy at the same time. Leopard mishap: the time I bought leopard pants. Enough said. 

Pointy Toe Flats

I think a pointed toe on a flat just adds an edge to your look, wherein a round toe is more demure. These Christian Louboutin blue pony hair flats are super pointy, making them edgy enough to wear with the stand out coat. This pair of Anjelina Studded Red Sole Flat would also be gorgeous and they would go with everything from denim to trousers to skirts and dresses. Always, always, get good shoes. You will wear them season after season and a new sole and a professional polish from your neighborhood shoe repair will make them like new again. #lifeistooshortforcheapshoes

Mixing patterns is a fun way to give your wardrobe a modern update. Whether you are pairing stripes and prints or florals and animal print, it only takes a little imagination to give your attire a little attitude. Go for leopard, cheetah, or zebra, add another pattern, and let animals prints give you permission to walk on the wild side. Have a great week!