Celebrate the Animal Kingdom this Autumn
If you believe art imitates life, it’s easy to see how fashion imitates nature, particularly wildlife. For example, our fascination with big cats in the wild translates into looks coming down the catwalk and eventually into our wardrobes.
“I especially love leopard because of its strong, graphic identity,” says Patse Hansen, a Billings native who says wearing animal prints makes her feel empowered.
Hansen has a few tips for beginners. First, one print at a time. Second, tops or jackets—such as those found at Neecee’s in Shiloh Crossing—have a huge “rawr” factor. Finally, for more of a “meow” statement, hunt for animal print accessories—sold at Dillard’s in Rimrock Mall. If you’re keener on channeling your inner safari guide, elevate khaki fever and try to incorporate other shades and pieces that hint at a walk on the wild side.
If you’re not yet comfortable dressing in animal prints, bags are one of the easiest ways to incorporate them into your look. Start small with a snakeskin convertible crossbody clutch from Hobo Bags or opt for a classic black handbag with a statement cheetah print bow like the Bow You See It bag from Betsey Johnson.
Adults are better off not wearing Dalmatian—unless they want to be likened to a particular puppy-killing Disney villain. But kids can totally rock the look in these 100 percent Italian leather loafers. They’re made-to-order in the U.S., and the only complaint a canine can make is we’re copying their style.
A leopard print top can be worn with only so many ensembles, but leopard print jewelry can be paired with almost any outfit. For starters, slip on a handcrafted cuff with tassel tie enclosures from FERVOR Montreal. They come in snakeskin and lizard designs but the boldest are the feline prints with piercing almond-shaped eyes staring back at you.
Bohemian meets safari in the Karen dress by KAS—a New York fashion company founded by a mother and son designer duo. This jungle-inspired dress is ideal for unseasonably warm fall days. With its comfortable loose fit, handmade tassels and delicate plant pattern, it skirts the fine line between tomboy and feminine.
Cooler fall days call for jackets like this army green anorak from Chico’s. With its pockets and roll-up sleeves, it looks like something you’d wear to protect yourself from the Serengeti’s sun. But, it features embroidered flowers for bright pops of color and a longer cut so you can wear it with leggings and cinch the waist for a more slimming fit.
The final layer for a serious safari-goer is the vest. But to keep from looking like a fly fisherman, opt for a sexier silhouette such as what you get with Filson’s Quilted Mile Marker Vest. This lightweight piece features flattering diamond quilting, but it’s also a practical choice given its water-repellent finish and four pockets.
No trip to the bush is possible without a pair of boots. For safari-inspired footwear with a sophisticated flair, opt for Sorel’s Conquest Wedge, a “hybrid of hiking and high fashion.” Or, go laces-free with Olukai’s slip-on Kamahois boot. Both are made from full-grain leather and will take you from 5 feet to 5 feet 3 inches tall.
Finally, to complete your safari-inspired look, add a hat. New this fall, the Monrovia Fedora from Chico’s is a fresh spin on the classic fedora. But featuring a fuller brim and a belted hatband, this maroon piece looks much more safari-chic than Frank Sinatra.