A few years ago, I felt about leopard print on clothes how I feel about playing sport for fun or cheese fondue – nice for some people, but definitely not for me.
But then strange things started to happen – my mentality towards it began to alter. I’d like to say this change in mindset was to do with reading Vogue, but the reality is I spend a lot of time with my tabby cats – and I began to realise how their multi-tonal brown and black coats complemented other colours. (Not when their fur sheds all over EVERY ITEM OF CLOTHING I OWN, but that’s another story.)
Then I started seeing leopard spots in shops, and realised that actually, perhaps this print wasn’t just consigned to the Kat Slaters of the world – maybe – just maybe, I could get away with wearing it too.
I started small, I bought a little bag from H&M to test the water. I wore it with blue. I wore it with black. I wore it with stripes. Lo and behold, it went with near enough everything! I was sold.
Then I decided I wanted a leopard print coat. But I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on one, so I scoured the charity shops and a couple of months later one turned up in a British Heart Foundation store. And when I bought it, I knew I’d made a good choice, because the girl behind the till petted it like an actual cat and said “ooh it’s so soft”.
I did wonder if I’d ever wear it, but once again, I found that surprisingly it went with a lot.
Then the obsession intensified – I bought plimsoles in a monochrome leopard print. I bought flat mules that I wore so much I had to bin them. I bought a jumper. I was converted.
And then, in the recent Next sale I discovered these beauties – faux pony hair leopard print block heeled shoes for only £15. And they’re cushioned inside! I’d go as far as to say they are one of my great loves in life…other than my husband, friends, family, cats and red wine which are obviously the priorities. I love them even though the other night when I wore them to dinner, an elderly lady leaned over to my table and said “I see you’re wearing Theresa May’s shoes.” I chose to take this as a compliment – the woman may have questionable taste in many things, but she does own an excellent footwear collection.
I now think I might need to curb my leopard print enthusiasm – but the print is such a great way to jazz up an outfit that I don’t think I’ll ever stop lusting after more. While I definitely prefer it as an accessory or statement piece rather than block print, I’m not going to say I’ll never own a leopard print dress or trousers. After all, if the cats can get away with head-to-toe animal print, maybe I can too…?