Know first who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly - Epictetus

22 August 2011

Like a Cat...

Every now and again I buy completely out there things that can in no way shape or form be considered ‘pared back’ but I still like to think of them as ‘classics’. A prime example of this is my leopard print faux fur coat. It is gorgeous and I love it, a real wardrobe ‘hero’ so to speak. I found it at a vintage fair I was attending and I like to think it was fate that led me to it. I had been stalking eBay for a number of weeks but nothing was really what I wanted or was just phenomenally expensive. US$8000 for a real leopard skin coat? No. Just, no. On so many levels, no. In any case most of the ones I spotted (no pun intended) were really furry. Like Animal-the-Muppet-style furry and I have no desire to look like a teddy bear. I know a two-year-old with one of those super furry leopard jackets, she looks super cute. I would look ridiculous.

So anyway, I was faffing around trying on some hilarious vintage hats when I spotted it. It was perfect. Late 50s/early 60s boxy style, cropped sleeves, furry but with a close trimmed pile and small spots. Even better it had big leather covered buttons. Like the kind my dad has on all his height of fashion 70s cardigans. In other words: leopard print perfection. And it fit like a glove. I remember standing there like an idiot staring into space and wondering how close the nearest cash-point was when the shop owner came up to me and said these magic words “It’s $110 but if you’re undecided I can knock it down to $90?” I think I may have actually squealed out loud. Very embarrassing. I couldn’t get a good photo so you will have to imagine how it looks… Sort of a cross between these two beauties:
source: teen vogue
source: the gloss

And when I wear it I feel like this:
source: handbag fairy

Or this:
source: glamamor

Or even this:
source: delicatessen!

(I’m slightly hyper today, in case you hadn’t noticed)

On a more serious level, I find that the kind of wardrobe I am aiming for needs to have the occasional stand out or hero piece to stop it from stultifying. As mush as I love my new pared back approach, I sometimes want to be a bit frivolous and that is where this coat comes in. Not that I wear it out with a vinyl catsuit and matching leopard print stilettos… Though that would be quite a sight to see I would imagine. Haha. Underneath my clothes are the same, usually my black merino sweater and a black pencil skirt or my new(ish) black pants for work or over jeans and a tee for casual. It also looks pretty cool over shorts with tights and loafers for a bit of a grunge twist if I’m feeling that way inclined. But mostly I love the sense of old school glamour it instils in my wardrobe, I certainly always feel elegant when I wear it. And let’s face it ladies, it’s not like leopard is going out of style anytime soon!

Is there something in your wardrobe that is a real standout that you just love? Or even just makes your feel a bit screen goddess-ish?


  1. Your coat sounds absolutely perfect, and I would love to see a photo of it sometime! And I love the idea of hero pieces, as I only recently discovered them myself. I think my favorite hero piece would have to be my blue/purple (burple?) flowy maxi skirt ( :)

  2. I think we have very similar coats! I spotted mine and just couldn't leave it! It was the most perfect cut (60's) with the most perfect spots & the most perfect texture of fur! And the best part - I got it for peanuts. I feel like from different era wearing it, I think even my stance changes! But it also makes me stand out and in some way intimidates me. But, yeah, I love my coat!

  3. I can feel your enthusiasm for your coat; and yes leopard is absolutely classic. I only do leopard in small doses but it always adds the right touch of playful glamour.

    I have a couple of dresses that always makes me feel confident and yes, almost goddess-y when I'm in the end, and they're perfect when the right occasion comes along. Otherwise, my everyday hero would be any one of my jeans - I think perfect denim says attitude and nonchalance better than anything else.

  4. You must photograph this coat! It sounds fabulous and definitely meant to be! Classic pieces aren't relegated to solely neutrals. A leopard coat or a Pucci dress are still classic pieces. I think mixing basic classics with statement items makes ones style personally distinctive. You may like this article from Bazaar about the different kinds of classics.

    I wear mostly classic pieces, but I have my doses of over the top (leopard trench, printed kimonos/maxi dresses, and shiny brocade suit) or edgy (Issey Miyake pleats, Rick Owens "druid" hoodie, and Norma Kamali cocoon sweaters).

  5. These kinds of these are CRITICAL! I have a huge rose-colored scarf in matelasse silk (you'll have to see pictures) which has no bearing on the rest of my wardrobe, but elevates everything it touches. Knowing when to color outside of the lines is a sign of true genius...

  6. Maja: burple? Love it! I adore maxi skirts but they look awful on me - you look gorgeous though :)

    Ginta: How funny! I will have to get a good pic so we can compare :) I agree on the posture - I definitely stand taller - but I too have to be in the mood, otherwise it is too intimidating to have people stare!

    Lin: Agreed on the jeans, my wardrobe would cease to function without them.

    Pret: love love love the article especially the bit where she calls a leopard coat "a little classic vulgarity". Sums it up very nicely I think :) I love the description of your wardrobe, it sounds amazing... actually I nearly bought a vintage brocade suit the other day. Lol

    Vivienne: oooh I love scarves, they are my go to as well. Got some pics to show of your rose one? It sounds divine...

  7. I love your enthusiasm. I can feel your excitement. Your leopard coat sounds wonderful. I agree, every wardrobe needs some one of a kind statement piece. I think you have the right idea here. A wardrobe without these pieces would be staid.

    I don't own anything leopard, but a little bit of leopard always seems so glamourous.


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