I got an email from the lovely Tanya last week, asking me how she can style a pair of leopard-print tights. As a fan of adventurous legwear, I jumped at the chance to help her out.
To start with, leopard print has a bit of a bad reputation. It tends to be associated with, ahem, women of loose virtue (or skanks if you prefer). There are a few simple rules to help you shake off the Peg Bundy vibe that tends to linger around anything leopard print.
First of all, you must follow the ‘legs or boobs’ rule. This rule states that when you want to show off your legs, your boobs must be covered up. Similarly, if you want to showcase your cleavage, you need to hide your pins. Showing a moderate amount of skin is sexy, without looking over-the-top.
Secondly, it pays to make sure that any leopard-print garments fit you well. If they’re a poor fit, they can tend to look cheap and a little trashy. Keep things trim and tailored (unless you’re intentionally going for an oversized look, in which case, ignore this rule).
Finally, leopard print is bold and brash, and it attracts a lot of attention. Use this to your advantage to highlight body parts that you want to show off. If you’ve got gorgeous legs, then leopard print tights are a great move. If you’re uneasy with your pins, you might prefer to wear a printed top or shoes.
O.K, now for the fun part. Leopard print is really versatile, and can be worked in to a huge number of looks. Punk, rockabilly, bombshell, bohemian, minimalist and retro looks can all benefit from a dose of leopard print. Tights are a great way to try out a new print, because they are easy to wear with your favourite dresses and skirts, and they’re perfect for re-purposing your summer wardrobe for the colder months.
Here are a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:
– Wear your tights under a pair of ripped jeans, so the print shows through the tears.
– Spice up a little black dress by popping the tights underneath for a bold statement.
– Experiment with clashing prints. Leopard goes gorgeously with red tartan for a punk look, or pop your tights under a flowing, floral skirt for an eccentric outfit.
– Leopard print tights look great with heels, but they’re also fab with pretty flats. The juxtaposition between sweet and animalistic is great fun.
– Pop your tights on under a pair of black or denim shorts. Add a fun tee shirt and some wicked sneakers for a fun weekend look.
– Add a wiggle dress and sky-high heels for a bombshell look. Finish your outfit with a swipe of vampish red lipstick.
– Wear an entire outfit made up of a single block colour. Red, black, royal blue and emerald green work well. Add the tights as a fun pop of print.
I’ve put together a couple of outfits to get you started. See how many different ways these tights can be styled?
You might also like to check out this post I wrote a while ago, about How To Wear Coloured Tights. It has even more tips for dressing up your legs.