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The Capsule Wardrobe Essential: The Leopard Print Coat

They’re EVERYWHERE and I’m over the moon about it…

You know the deal with these ‘Capsule Wardrobe Essential‘ posts – right? Instead of prescribing to you the items that you should have in your wardrobe, these are must-haves in my closet that I just can’t get enough of. What is an absolute essential to me, might not be to you and if your capsule wardrobe is absolutely banging with colour and patterns without a hint of black, then be my guest. However if you are a neutral lover who gravitates towards head-to-toe black and labels a black and white polka dot piece as an ‘out-there’ choice then the chances are that if we ever meet we’ll pretty much be wearing the same outfit, and my recommendations will be right up your street and vice versa. Mi casa es tu casa, and all that.

So in my second instalment of this series I thought it was time to inject a bit of fun because so far all we’ve had is the humble white shirt – which is certainly a need in my wardrobe, but isn’t exactly jazzy is it? It’s time for jazzy and therefore, it’s time for some leopard print. I’ve loved leopard print since I was a teenager and decked out my University room with as much low-budget leopard print homeware items as I could find, but for some reason, this season it’s EVERYWHERE – and I ain’t mad about it. For years I’ve made do with the sub-par scraps – shirts with a print that were just too yellow, or pattens that were too small – but this is our time! Right now you can’t walk down the high-street without seeing it in every single shop window and the patten itself graced the cover of Stylist this week with the title – ‘The New Neutral’. Am I in heaven? It’s the season to stock up, so I thought I’d take you through my leopard print coat journey…

Two years ago I picked up this ASOS Leopard Print Coat (no longer available, but I’ve linked up this season’s version of it) and it was love at first sight. It was more brown than yellow, the thin fabric didn’t make me feel like the Michelin Man whenever I put it on and it just fitted like a glove. The fabric hasn’t bobbled up over time and because of the colour it’s a dream at hiding spills and stains. Grim, but fab. I absolutely love it. However, I must have ordered about 15 coats and returned them all before I found this one. Originally I wanted a fluffy version and I just found it so much harder to find the right fit. Some were oversized and too baggy and others were too short on the arm and too much of a sixties swing style. In the end I decided that I was better off to abandon my mission and opt for a thinner more transitional jacket-material instead and I have #NoRagrets. I wear it all the time and it’s such a great antidote for all-black outfits which are unsurprisingly my favourite thing to wear.

Here’s the thing though, whereas in previous seasons I was struggling to find leopard print coats, in AW18 there are hundreds that I’ve seen. All different price points, all different tones of leopard print and all different styles. This ASOS number is fab for days when it’s not too chilly, but I can’t help but feel like a fluffy version would be the cherry on the top and I’d get just as much wear of it on days when it’s so cold that you just want to bundle on the sofa under a blanket and watch repeats of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Maybe if something crops up in the Black Friday sale? You heard it here first.

So haven’t found the right one yet? I have some recommendations. Firstly there is the current season version of the coat that I’m wearing in this post. The print looks a tad more yellow and the fit a little longer, but overall it’s a pretty good dupe. If you’re looking for something thinner in fabric ASOS or John Lewis are probably your best bets as all the others that I’ve seen around tend to be thicker in fabric.

Let’s chat about those shall we because lets face it – it gets cold and I like to be warm and after being on the hunt for about three years, I have a feeling in my bones that this winter I might finally find my match. The Mango Faux-Fur Coat looks like a safe bet; not too oversized and a print that isn’t too big, nor small or yellow. The Free People Faux-Fur Leopard Print Jacket is definitely shorter and more like a bomber or a leather jacket in fit – so good for those who find themselves living in those styles more than any other design. I think the one I’m going to have to give a go though is the Whistles Leopard Print Animal Faux Fur Cocoon Coat. Whistles always do cracking leopard print items (they’ve finally bought back their Leopard Print Boots that I LOVE) and the fit of this just looks so darn luxe. I’ll report back when it’s time for my winter capsule.


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TIPS FOR FINDING THE PERFECT LEOPARD PRINT COAT

Be fussy. There are so many leopard print coats out there at the moment that you can afford to be fussy and take your time to find the right one. If you feel like the print or fit just isn’t right then do your research and find yourself the perfect one. It’s out there waiting for you.

Go classic. For us neutral gals and guys, leopard print is a statement that we often feel comfortable with, but it’s still a statement – so opt for a shape that you wear often in your wardrobe and find yourself gravitating towards.

Check the print. A sign of a truly high-quality patterned piece is that the pattern matches up on the seams. Now this doesn’t matter so much with leopard print as it’s a pretty hodge podge print, but if the spots are bigger and more defined then it’s definitely something to look for.

Double up. Love leopard print? Your wardrobe brimming with it? Don’t feel like you can wear only one leopard print piece at the same time. I’ve doubled up in the photos above and adore this outfit. Just make sure that the prints are different enough – in tone and size – so it doesn’t look too matchy matchy.

Photos by Emma Croman

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