You may have noticed that every year during the fall/winter season, fashion goes a little wild. In fact, animal prints have become less flash-in-the-pan and more of a fashion staple as more of us embrace leopard, zebra and tiger as eagerly as we do cashmere, merino and cable-knits when temperatures dip. Not to mention designers at Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo and Michael Kors (to name a few) flexed their animal instincts on fall runways to wildly a covetable effect. Animal prints may be the new neutral but that doesn’t mean that walking on the wild side doesn’t still come with its own set of caveats and risks. It’s a jungle out there—here’s how to prowl it in style.

Do start with accessories.
We have said it before and we’ll say it again: the best way to get started with an out-there trend in fashion is with accessories. Let out your inner cat woman with a leopard print scarf, purse or (our personal favourite) a pair of smoking hot animal print pumps. You will feel instantly sexy, confident and chic and it won’t be long before you’re craving bigger and bolder.

Don’t mix and match.
If you’re rocking a leopard print dress, do yourself a favour and leave your leopard print accessories at home. Layering up on animal prints is a tough endeavor even for style veterans and should only be attempted on the runway or red carpet. In the real world, stick to one animal print per outfit. A little goes a long way with this trend and there’s a fine line between being fierce and a fashion victim.

Do experiment with colour.
Today’s animal prints go beyond the typical neutral shades we have come to know and love as designers play with modern colours from fun pinks and turquoises to more sleek silvers and muted blues. The bonus? These shades can sometimes be easier to wear than the traditional browns and golds. Just remember: no mixing and matching, especially if you’re wearing a bold hue.

Don’t go too sexy.
Animal prints ooze plenty of sex appeal so stay away from boudoir staples like satin, lace and showing too much cleavage lest you wander into sleazy territory. Likewise, be aware of your hair and makeup when wearing animal prints—balance your look by going simple and classic.

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