I may be alone in this sentiment, but animal prints in fashion don’t generally light my fire. Leopard-print trench coats? Pass. Snake-print shoes? Pass. Tiger-striped scarves? Pass. Animal-print lingerie usually irritates me too: it can be a lazy design default for some mass-market brands, as though one of the higher-ups said “well, we’ve done white, beige, black, and red; let’s make a leopard one for The Sexy.” Sheesh.
The thing is, this season, I feel like maybe my prejudices were blinding me to some really, really lovely lingerie sets. It all started when I saw Panache’s new leopard print for the super-popular “Jasmine” at August’s Curve. I liked it! I really, really, REALLY liked it! I could even see myself wearing it! But it was animal-print– was I betraying all that I held dear? I thought maybe I needed to step away from it for a bit, and then all my usual feelings would reassert themselves. Nope, now it’s February, and the bra is starting to appear in stock at my favorite retailers, and it’s still calling my name. Panache seems to have had some trouble with prints for Jasmine; apart from the first black/bird print, none has really appealed to me. Now, when they choose to use the print I’m conditioned to hate, I absolutely adore it. Oh Panache, you tricksters. You win again. I’ve already set aside some of my discretionary budget on two other sets this Spring, but if I had the cash to spare this one would be coming home with me in a heartbeat.
Falling in love with the animal-print Jasmine made me want to explore some other sets I might have bypassed the first time I saw them, simply because I tend to reject animal-print anything out of hand. In a shocking twist that surprises no one, I was missing out on some beauties!
1. “Vava” by Miss Mandalay
This pretty padded bra by Miss Mandalay won me over simply by using my lingerie Kryptonite: the color green. Gorgeous! I’ve tried this and found it to run a bit snug, so I recommend sizing up in both the band and the cups.
2. “Coco Loco” by Mimi Holliday
Since the theme of today is apparently “fashion things that I don’t like”, the alleged Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid? Yeah, I hate it. I want no part of it. Sorry Pantone, can we go back to Emerald? I was on board with Emerald. Radiant Orchid isn’t lighting my fire. And yet here we are, with the sassy Mimi Holliday “Coco Loco” collection featuring not only vibrant leopard but also Radiant freaking Orchid, and I’m totally down with it. This is delightful.
3. “Kayla” by Goddess
Continuing with the Radiant freaking Orchid (well, magenta), Goddess offers a vibrant animal print bra for fuller figures in both an underwired and wire-free style. Though Goddess is an Eveden company, their bras feature US sizes, so the cup size progression goes like this: D, DD, DDD, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N. Kayla is also available in teal as well as a fun purple zebra stripe.
4. “Leslie” by Parfait
Built along the same lines as their popular “Charlotte” style, Parfait offers this lovely leopard set, paired with black contrast trim, sheer mesh panels, and bright red bows. I love the high-waist knicker with sheer sides! I’ve heard rumors this set might get a cup size expansion soon– has anyone else heard this?
5. “Mae” by Affinitas
For the more petite, Parfait’s sister brand Affinitas offers a slinky padded bra, ruffled thong, and even a coordinating camisole. This set is on sale at various retailers, so you might be able to grab a bargain!
6. “Marlena” by Crème Bralée
Crème Bralée launched in 2013 with a range of pretty, flirty bras, knickers, and accessories in band sizes ranging from 32-44, including “Marlena”, a dramatic plunge bra with a matching ruched suspender belt. While the current cup size range is smaller than some of the other styles I’ve shared today, I may have exciting news on that front before too long!
7. “Savannah” by Panache Swim
Now let’s return to Panache and take a gander at some swimwear. There’s some nice continuity between the main Panache lingerie styles and the swim styles for this season. “Jasmine” is available in both an animal-print and a white-and-floral print; the same goes for “Savannah” on the swimwear front. Much as it surprises me to say so, I prefer the animal-print over the floral in both the lingerie range and the swim.
Animal prints usually feel especially cheesy to me in swimwear, yet I think Panache has pulled it off with a great deal of elegance. Both the swimsuit and bikini are glamorous and slightly retro– I especially love the gorgeous bandeau swimsuit with detachable straps! I only wish, selfishly and also for some of my fit clients, that these two styles were available past a G cup.
8. “Maya” by Cleo
And then there’s Cleo‘s take on animal print in their “Maya” style, which, sorry, just looks BANANAS to me. It’s so all over the place! Pastel floral embroidery with rainbow animal-print cups and neon accents? What is even going on?
Oh Cleo, you beautiful tropical fish: I do not understand this bra. Maybe this is a bra for someone with a wildly different personal style to my own. I admit that the lookbook images above sell the bra a lot better than just seeing it on the floor at Curve– the model, the styling, and the location are all helping enormously. But where Panache went for classic and came up with winners, I can’t help but find Cleo’s take a little, well, tacky. But then I look at the images again and I think maybe it works? Please help me sort out my feelings.
9. Bonus F/W 2014 Preview: “Deco Rebel” by Freya
Finally, as a sneak peek of some of the treats in store for the Fall (and as a preview of what we’ll be seeing at the trade shows at the end of the month), Freya will offer an animal print version of their beloved and hugely popular Deco molded plunge bra. This feels like such a natural fit for both the brand and the bra style– well done, Freya!
What’s your take on animal print? Any of these sets catch your eye? I’ll be interested to see what designers have in store for us for the Fall when I head to Lingerie Fashion Week next week!