Style Clinic: How to wear leopard print ... without looking like Kat Slater (or Pat Butcher) from EastEnders

Sandra "Pepa" Denton at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019 held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey: PA Wire
Sandra "Pepa" Denton at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019 held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey: PA Wire
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Your style and beauty dilemmas answered by fashion editor Stephanie Smith, plus favourite new beauty products on counter

Dear Stylist

Leopard print shirt dress, �69 at Sosandar.com.

Leopard print shirt dress, �69 at Sosandar.com.

I love leopard print and would like to wear it, but I’m not sure it suits me. How can I avoid looking like Kat Slater (or, horror of horrors, Pat Butcher) from EastEnders?

The trouble with leopard print is that British soap operas will keep dressing their more flamboyant female characters in it, as lazy shorthand for “not very classy”, “well mouthy” and/or “bit of a man-eater”. Coronation Street’s Bet Lynch was the original; the template has changed very little since.

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This is a shame because leopard print’s warm, mottled tones of tan, sand and black can be quite beautiful and have the advantage, unlike many prints, of being able to combine to suit all colourings. My advice is to go for it and wear leopard print unapologetically. For a full-on glam attitude, a jacket is hard to beat. Witness Sandra Denton, of 1980s American hip-hop girl group Salt-N-Pepa fame, looking good at this week’s MTV Video Music Awards in New Jersey.

Leopard print tie-cuff blouse, �69 at Mint Velvet.

Leopard print tie-cuff blouse, �69 at Mint Velvet.

Leopard print looks fabulous worn alone as a striking key piece, but for a softer approach, look for a chiffon or floaty maxi or midi dress or as a utility-style silky shirt dress. Check out Sosandar, which has elegant and wearable options, and also Oasis, which has some adorable pieces.

Leopard print also works brilliantly teamed with other shades, especially the brights of fuchsia, orange, emerald and lime. However, if you want to play safe and keep it classy, pair leopard print with a timeless neutral such as navy or black. Try a navy skirt or pair of cropped trousers with a leopard blouse, keeping accessories navy or neutral too.

Avoid coloured leopard print pieces, as these already look cheap and dated. And don’t wear tight, stretchy leopard print, unless you’re doing hot yoga (and even then ...).

Finally, to avoid any Pat Butcher comparisons, never ever wear leopard print with huge dangly earrings.

Men wear leopard too. French Montana at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019 in Newark, New Jersey: PA Wire

Men wear leopard too. French Montana at the MTV Video Music Awards 2019 in Newark, New Jersey: PA Wire

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Leopard print halter neck dress, �40, Oasis.

Leopard print halter neck dress, �40, Oasis.

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BEAUTY PRODUCT PICKS: Elemis Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Complex 12 Serum - This is a new state-of-the-art line-fighting face serum infused with 12 different macro and micro algaes, clinically proven by Elemis to reduce the appearance of deep set lines and wrinkles, with 100 per cent of the testers in its research agreeing that there was a significant improvement in their wrinkles. It costs �210 for 30ml at Elemis.com.

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BEAUTY PRODUCT PICKS: Aveda Shampure Aroma Nurture & Nourish Hair Essentials Travel Set: Take a moment of calm and wellness with you this summer and pack an Aveda Shampure Aroma set blended with 25 pure flower essences for all hair types in need of nourishment and gentle cleansing. This hair and body set includes 50mls of Shampure Nurturing Shampoo, Conditioner and Hand & Body Wash. It's �now �15 at John Lewis.

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BEAUTY PRODUCT PICKS: No 7 Boosting Firming Serum - This is a targeted booster serum designed for areas of the face most prone to loss of firmness. Boots says it contains four times more firming complex than its other serums and promises firmer, lifted results in a week with its testers saying it had given them better results than they had seen from a skincare product. It's �38 for 30ml Boots.