When I started working full time a few years ago, I never thought I’d be wearing animal print attire to the office. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my all-time favorite looks (true story—my childhood bedroom is still decked out with leopard curtains, rugs, and sheets), but there’s something inherently wild and rebellious about wearing animal prints that just doesn’t seem quite right for a conservative workplace.
Lucky for me and other leopard enthusiasts, animal prints were a huge trend on the fashion scene last fall and winter. All of my favorite style bloggers started wearing them, too, and in surprisingly work-appropriate styles: Leopard print adorned floaty blouses—Kim’s could work tucked into a pair of cigarette slacks—and fitted pencil skirts à la Kendi.
But, while it helps that the prints were available in silhouettes that lent themselves to professional dressing (and not, say, skinny jeans circa the 1990s grunge scene), there was still a style hurdle: The large-scale prints still felt too casual for my conservative law firm.
Then, in a defining moment for my sense of style, I stumbled upon leopard print’s older sister: cheetah print. Its pattern is much smaller scale, which looks less pronounced, more sophisticated, and altogether easier to wear. The black, asymmetric dots set over a beige background almost works as well as a neutral—you can wear it with anything!
We recommend trying it out with pieces that aren’t the “main event” of the outfit, like stilettos and cardigans, two subtle ways to work it into your weekday rotation. Bonus: The print works just as well for your weekend wardrobe as it does for your 9-to-5 wear. Now that’s making it work!