Leopard accessories are some of my favorite. They add a “fierce” component to an outfit. Leopard can be sassy or classy. It can be trendy or classic. But it will always be in style.
My go-to leopard accessory is a shoe. I get a lot of wear out of leopard print scarves, too. Even one of my favorite fall purses has an accent of leopard print. This post, though, is a way to stretch me out of my comfort zone and play with leopard in a different way: a leopard print belt.
I don’t wear belts very often. I’m not sure if this is because I associate them with my high school days, where I wore the same brown or black belt every day (so much that the leather was cracked and wrinkled). Or, it could be because I have since learned the value of clothes that fit properly (and if your pants fit properly, you shouldn’t need a belt!). For whatever reason, I’ve written off the belt as an accessory.
But belts don’t just have to be for practicality, and they shouldn’t be written off! Belts can be an accessory that is there to add texture to an outfit, a pop of color, or just that “third” piece. Today I am styling a leopard belt 4 different ways, and you’ll see how belts can be used both add some visual interest to your outfit and to add structure.
With All White
I’ve mentioned before how I love an all-white outfit in the summer time. Crisp and sophisticated, white is definitely a statement color. The effect of a monochromatic white outfit is definitely show stopping, definitely more so than its all black counterpart.
When wearing all white, whether it be a white tee with white jeans, or simply a white dress, I usually like to accessorize it one of two ways: with natural, woven materials to play up summer and tone down the starkness of the white get up. Or with a pop of something just as bright as white, like neon pink or yellow. This ladder option adds a little bit of fun to an otherwise outfit that just looks like the smallest stain of natural color could ruin it (I’m talking about you tomato sauce!).
But I like this second option because white is a blank canvas, and that is why I decided to trade out a pop of color for a pop of leopard in this outfit!
To Add a Waist to a Shift Dress
I used to love to rock a thick belt around my sweater dresses in high school. I can picture my senior year signature look now: cowl neck sweater dress, thick belt around the waist, black or brown leggings, and high shaft boots (but I had not yet discovered the OTK boot).
This type of belted waist is a step up from my high school and early college days, if I say so myself. For starters, the thin belt is definitely more modern and trendy than a thick belt. The quality is definitely of a higher standard than the belts that used to come attached to sweater dresses, too!
I think the thin belt is a great option to giving shape to a shift dress because the thin material balances our all of the extra fabric and really emphasizes the narrowness of the waist. Picture bunchy fabric with a bulky belt…that would probably emphasize your waist in the opposite way than you would want.
With a Floral Tank
It’s time to mix patterns! While you saw how great of a match leopard print was for stripes in this blog post, leopard is a great match for many other prints as well – including florals!
In my opinion, I think florals and leopard are a great match because of how they contrast each other rather than how they complement each other. For example, leopard is fierce and edgy while florals are soft and feminine. Leopard is (usually) designed with neutrals while florals incorporate color.
When combining the two, I have two tips:
- Let one be the star of the show. In this case florals are definitely the ring leader while the leopard is a sturdy support.
- Wear a large printed floral. Mixing prints is all about balance! Since a belt is a narrow surface area, you know the leopard print is going to be on the smaller side to be able to see the print. Balance the small print with extra-large florals!
To Add a Waist to a Cardigan
More often than not, I prefer a flowy style vs. fitted. However, as comfortable as it is to throw on a cardigan over a dress, sometimes “flowy” can translate as “sloppy”. Wrapping a belt around the outside of the cardigan adds structure that is more appropriate than “flowy” in environments such as the office or an evening event.
Wearing a belt also gives you that “third” piece in the outfit (are you familiar with the rule of 3?). I love dresses, but sticking to the rule of 3 while wearing one can be tough. After all, we love them because 1 piece makes the whole outfit! But a cardigan and a belt dress up a simple look and prepare you to take on any negotiation, elevator speech, or networking event.
Last tip: when you do belt a cardigan over a dress, make sure that you don’t belt the cardigan closed. You still want to be able to show off the color and/or texture of the dress underneath.
So are you a belt person? What about a leopard girl? Did I convert you to try either? Leave your comments below!
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