Blazer: Banana Republic, Shirt: Vince Camuto, Jacket: Forever 21, Skirt: The Limited, Shoes: Aldo and Jessica Simpson, Necklace: Express, Bracelet: lotus and Ivy & Leo, Rings: Express and lotus, Watch: Michael Kors (photos: Olivia Ervin)
Thoughts of leopard print used to invoke terrifying images for me. Think...Peggy Bundy from "Married with Children", or if that reference is before your time think a of character with about as much class as our modern-day, Snookie. You can't hep but secretly have a (small-to-medium sized) amount of affection for them, but fashion icons they are not. I always imagined leopard print in the form of a hideous, skin-tight body suit accessorized with a lit cigarette, low IQ, and bad decision making. However I have worked thorough my issues with the legendary animal print and embraced it; in the form of 3 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 clutch, and counting. The inspiration for this outfit actually came from a pair of shoes that I recently saw. They were a mix of black leather, red patent leather, and leopard print. They were 5" platform heels, and while we all know I am not afraid of a platform or a high heel, these bad boys looked more like they belonged to a woman who "dances for dollars" (if you get my drift). I walked by the shoes (only stopping briefly to judge them) but the combination of the colors and print stayed on my mind. I started to wonder if I could take something that I thought was down right trashy and put it together in a way that worked for me...a way that was even, dare I say, work appropriate. GASP! I started with this leopard print blouse. You can't really tell from the pictures, but it has a wide neck, an asymmetrical cut at the bottom and over-sized sleeves. It is a far cry from a skin-tight, Peggy Bundy bodysuit. I paired it with this fitting, yet, almost knee length red skirt, and threw on a black blazer (everything looks more classy with a black blazer). Once the blazer was on you could really only see a sliver of the leopard print anyway. (The first picture of the post shows the outfit I wore to my 9-5.) I kept the shoes low profile with my absolute favorite pair of nude, patent leather pumps from Aldo. (These little suckers run really small though, I swear it took me months to break them in; considering I could only wear them 5 minutes at a time before I started wincing. Always try on shoes before you by them. I have bought 30 pairs of shoes at Aldo all in the same size and this particular pair sucked my will to live! If I didn't love them so much I would have donated them. Miserable.) I had fun plans after work and wasn't going to have time to come home, so that morning I threw my cropped black (p)leather jacket, black Jessica Simpson shoes (*amazing right?!), and an even more obnoxiously large bracelet than normal in a bag and headed out. Sometimes it is annoying to plan out (at 7am) what you will want to wear at 7pm, so instead of over thinking it and dirtying up more clothes I try to just find one (or three) things that will easily take my day outfit to night. Leopard print, black (p)leather, and fire engine red...check. Bouffants and bad decisions ...we will save those for the Snookie's of the world!