New rule: you can totally do animal print by day in a elegantly luxe way, which is timely given leopard is one of the biggest print trends this winter. But with that revelation comes some fundamental styling rules too, else you risk looking like a bad-taste reality TV character. Ready to make like Rosie, Lily, Miranda, Heidi and Bella and release your inner wild thing?

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Singer and former model Nicole Scherzinger
Credit: Twitter @nicolescherzy

#1 GO BIG Not to be mistaken with “Go ahead, wear your leopard print from head to toe”. We’re talking about making the print a centrepiece of your look and then working around it. Go for a leopard-print skirt or jacket, but then stop (we’re aiming for Olivia Pope, not Peggy Bundy). If you’re brave, pair your piece with a black ensemble, which will make the print pop. If you’re a little wobbly on the confidence though, try white, as the eye is drawn to the stark shade and will ease the print’s impact.

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Glam soccer mom Heidi Klum
Credit: Getty Images

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BOSS Orange, Aleolette Drop Waist Dress in Leopard Print, $214. SHOP NOW

#2 Fabric is key 
There’s an ocean of difference between a structured linen skirt and a Lycra one. One says, “I’m a big deal and I’ve arrived” and the latter says, “Er, I haven’t even been home yet.” That said, your fabric of choice will largely determine whether your animal print is daytime or even workplace-appropriate. For the latter, unless you’re working in the kind of place that sells cocktails by the jug and has sticky floors, we recommend you go with natural fibres, heavier fabrics, with a flattering cut.

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Rosie Huntington-Whitely
Credit: Getty Images

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Boutique Moschino, Ruffle-Trimmed Leopard Print Crepe Blouse $518. SHOP NOW


#3 Clothes or accessories – but nEVER both It can be tempting to follow the print theme throughout your whole look, but we strongly suggest against. If you’ve opted for a leopard-print blouse, keep your shoes, bag and jewellery neutral. Likewise, if you’ve found yourself a killer pair of animal-print stilettos, let them be the talking point of your look – pair them with plain-coloured tailored trousers, a white shirt and a cropped jacket. And your mum’s old rule about matching your shoes to your bag? Ditch it.

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Bella Hadid carrying a now sold out Givency bag from the Resort 2016 collection
Credit: Instagram @bellahadidlatest

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Oroton, Alpine Chain Print Micro Flap Over, $395. SHOP NOW

#4 Tone down the make-up
As much as we’re big cosmetics aficionados here, the golden rule for day in this instance is, go easy on your make-up. Pairing your animal print with a dark smoky eye and bold red lip can take your look from on-the-go career woman to, well a different type of “career” woman. Go for a neutral eye with a slick of eyeliner and lashings of mascara, and give your lips a coat of demure lippy, or a non-coloured balm.

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Bella Hadid (serial leopard lover)
Credit: Instagram @bellahadidlatest

#5 Baby steps 
For the uninitiated, we suggest starting small. There’s nothing more awkward than a woman wearing a “look at me” print, while silently praying that no one actually looks at her. Ease your way in. Add a statement scarf to your usual style of work clothing, or try some leopard-print sunglasses for your lunch break. Grab a leopard clutch or laptop case. Once you’ve gotten to grips with making the big statement, increase your dosage.
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Chan Luu, Leopard-Print Cashmere and Silk-Blend Scarf, $334. SHOP NOW

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Pierre Hardy, Suede Ankle Boots, $1004. SHOP NOW 

Sydney born and raised Kerrie Simon-Lawrence has spent the last decade abroad where, in addition to launching and editing Cosmopolitan Middle East, she has edited GRAZIA Middle East, launched and edited GRAZIA Bahrain, and most recently, edited GRAZIA South Africa. She is currently based in Johannesburg.