For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Can Leopard EVER Look Chic? Fun Outfit Ideas, over 40

Layered Leopard Autumn Outfit | Fake Fabulous

Here's a question I'm often asked:

Is wearing Leopard print over 40 okay? 
Or, is it tacky and cheap-looking?

This question might seem confusing (and crazy!) to any leopard-lovers out there BUT I completely understand why people ask me this.

Leopard is a statement and sometimes the message can be unclear.

Here in the UK leopard-wearing is often associated with famous TV characters.
In particular; soap opera stars.

Historically, Julie Goodyear played the leopard layered, big-haired Bet Lynch on Coronation Street.
A classic character.

And who could forget Jessie Wallace as Kat Slater on Eastenders?
Trashy and Brash to the max!

Both seriously flawed but lovable characters.
Both overdoing the leopard BIG TIME!!

Maybe characters like these plant seeds of doubt about our old friend leopard print?
Maybe the fear of looking a bit Bet Lynch/Kat Slater puts a few women off.

Fear not!
There are LOADS of modern leopard loving muses who wear the print with style and sass.

Think of Alexa Chung, Kate Moss, Bella Hadid... and many more!

These women are making leopard look classic and edgy without the trashy undertones.

Get onto Pinterest and search for some leopard inspiration.
Yes, there are some tacky ensembles BUT also some super-stylish outfits to get your creative juices flowing.

Layered Leopard Autumn Outfit | Fake Fabulous

There 4 simple rules to keep leopard looking chic:

1. Choose Quality Fabrics.

Cheap fabrics look cheap.
That's the bottom line.
Bargain bucket leopard (unless it's a sale bargain or a charity shop find) is never pretty.

2. Avoid Flesh-Flashing!

Want to flash the flesh but keep it classy?
Avoid leopard print.
Bare legs and cleavage in a leopard dress can look cheap.
Having said that, it can also look incredibly sassy and sexy!
So, it depends on the aim of your fashion game, doesn't it?

However, if you want to keep things looking chic: Cover your bits up.

3. Keep it REAL.

Don't panic!
No real fur needed (😮) just realistic colourways.

Sticking to realistic leopard print colours (the classic tan/cream/browns and the black/white/greys) will keep your outfit looking classic and feeling much easier to wear.

Of course, if you're a leopard print aficionado then go for those bold and beautiful leopard print colours!
Blue looks particularly lovely as does red.

I'm no aficionado BUT I do have a red leopard skirt which I wear on repeat... see it HERE and HERE.

4. Keep it simple.

If you're not a hard-core leopard lover then stick to one leopard-print item in your outfit and keep the rest of the look 'basic'.

Simple clean lines.
Plain fabrics.
Neutral colours.

The leopard piece will be the star and your quality basics will be the supporting cast.
Next stop the outfit Oscars!

Layered Leopard Autumn Outfit | Fake Fabulous

Today I'm wearing a bold leopard cardigan with a simple outfit.
I picked this cardigan up in a charity shop and it's in a UK 16.
This larger size makes it perfect to create the oversized wrap-effect I was looking for.

Wrapping an oversized cardigan and belting it not only keeps you cosy but it creates a more interesting (and flattering) look than simply letting the cardigan hang.
The double-layered fabric at the front works really well to retain heat without compromising on style.
I didn't even need a coat.

{Disclaimer: I probably DID need a coat but I didn't wear one!}

How do you feel about good-old Leopard print?
Hard to wear?
An everyday essential??
Too tacky or a chic classic?

I'd love to know!

TOP: River Island (old)
WOOL CARDIGAN: Charity shopped
GLOVES: Vintage
BAG: eBay (secondhand)
JEANS: Topshop (old)
LEATHER BOOTS: Duo (older!)
PATENT LEATHER BELT: Oldest of all! Charity shopped over 15 years ago

OTHER LEOPARDY POSTS you might enjoy:



  1. I love this outfit! One of my favorite things I own is a '60s vintage fake ocelot coat I acquired from a thrift shop 30 years ago. When leopard cycles into popularity every few years I usually find a few timeless looking items to add to my wardrobe. Sometimes I threaten the hubby with the possibility that I'm going to wear all my leopards at the same time :-D I could pretty much go head to toe at this point!

    1. Vintage is the best isn't it?
      I'd LOVE to see an all-leopard look!!! :o)

  2. Your outfit is fabulous. I am definitely a fan of leopard print - in fact all animal prints. Your tips are spot on, but I also do wear coloured prints. Lise

    1. Me too Lise, but I know some people are a little nervous of "normal" leopard let alone bright blue!! Hahahahha

  3. Noooooooo leopard is not tacky and I believe you can wear it at any age. Love the cardi, great find.
    Regards - Jill stylishatsixty

  4. I actually thought "Can leopard print ever NOT look chic?" when I read your title! Obviously I'm huge fan of leopard print to think that, but I do get your point about all those dramatic soap opera characters clad in leopard print that's giving it a bad reputation (to some people anyway). When done right - and it's actually hard to get it wrong too, especially if your 4 rules are followed! - leopard print can be chic AND even elegant as heck. Exactly like how you've demonstrated here, Samantha, I absolutely adore that you've belted the leopard cardi. This is a great post for those who are afraid to tackle leopard print, I hope more people are inspired to try it out after reading this.

    xo, Liyana | The Good Weekender

    1. You're very generous with your comment Liyana... as always! Thank you for that.
      You are (of course) the leopard-print queen and make it look SOOOOO chic.
      Having said that, you could make a belted bin bag look chic! Hahahahha...

  5. I love leopard print, and I particularly love how YOU are wearing it here. You always have such fabulous finds, Sam. That last photo with the light behind you and the red leaves is a DREAM. xxx

    1. Awwww blimey Lisa... thank you so much!!!
      I love the autumn light, don't you?

  6. Love this outfit and your wise words about wearing leopard. I'm guilty of having prejudices against leopard because of looking 'cheap and gaudy' back in the 90's (soap opera characters helped to this!). But not anymore!
    You look really cool and elegant, love your brilliant accessorizing, the boots, the bag, sunníes, everything rocks!. And so clever to add a belt to an oversized cardi, it makes a difference!
    Totally fabulous advice. Keeping it neutral and/or minimal is key, even if I still love the leopard & red combo! ;DDD

    1. Hahahaha.. I have a red leopard skirt Monica and I KNOW it's borderline gharish and more tacky than classy BUT I still can't resist it's lure!! :o)
      Thank you so much for your kind comment.


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