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Animal Lovers

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This fall, leopard print is splashed on everything from tights and handbags to jackets and skirts. How can I wear this trend without looking like a “lady who lunches” or a cast member of Jersey Shore?

Courtney, “Fierce Feline,” Faubourg Marigny

The fall-winter fashion season always sees a preferred animal or reptile print. This fall there is a surplus of leopard and cheetah. Animal prints never go extinct but how they are interpreted and adapted changes from season to season. Last year the zebra was the animal of choice, along with snakeskin patterns. Fashion is a regular Zoo-to-Do.

I have a love/hate relationship with animal prints; if done well they can make for a classy and smart ensemble, but one skirt in cheap fabric and you are just a tacky hot mess ready for a Facebook mobile-upload bashing. Heed my advice. I once owned a pair of purple-and-black snakeskin pants, and it appeared as if a plum-hued python had swallowed a summer sausage. Choose wisely: If in doubt, do without.

Here are a few recommendations to successfully styling animal prints:

Lion Tamer—Animal Prints are best paired with neutrals and solid color schemes, such as black, browns and tans. Always start with the print as your building block and choose complementary clothing and accessories.

Jungle Boogie—To avoid the lady-of-the-evening look, purchase quality fabrics and leathers. Check to see if the prints are consistent and match at the seams of the garment.

Spot-on—Wear animal prints with conservative lines. A well-tailored leopard pencil skirt with a classic black turtleneck is timeless and sexy.

Purr-fection—A little animal print goes a long way. Wearing leopard is a bold choice; if you love the trend but are afraid of looking like Cruella de Ville, try it in an accessory. Opt for a skinny printed belt, an envelope clutch or a structured handbag or high-heel pump.

Animal Instincts—Trust your gut. If you think there might be too much going on in one outfit, there probably is. Also, refrain from mixing prints and mingling trends. Safari and military styles that are worn with any creature motif warrants a style citation. Furthermore, your mane should be minimally coiffed and in control. The same holds true for your makeup.

Take amusement in this fall trend. Wearing leopard print unquestionably screams, “I love fashion, hear me roar!”

Ghostly Getups

In New Orleans the opportunity to don a costume is a regular occurrence. In fact, for many of our local characters, it is a daily ritual. Nonetheless, Halloween is perhaps my most preferred season. I suppose it is the combination of costumes, the ability to initiate mischief and inhaling sweets by the pound without judgment or persecution that causes me to revel from October 1 to 31. Costumes and Halloween allow individuals to adopt an alter ego or ponder an idea or desire that might be out of their comfort zone. (Hopefully some females will be inspired to be more innovative than the customary naughty nurse, sexy kitten or French maid.) It is these ideals that make the holiday divine for a city like New Orleans. Our costumes should be glorious spectacles of fashion and obscurity. Sure, the Martha Stewart Living Halloween issue has fantastic ideas, but in honor of the inaugural Krewe of Halloween parade going through the French Quarter on October 30, I challenge you to take your costumes up a notch.

Tips for an enchanting ensemble:

—Add large colorful feathers to any outfit
—Adorn yourself in fanciful quality wigs
—Try textured or printed hosiery
—Wear hats or headbands
—Create custom-made corsets in satins and silks
—When all else fails, bedazzle, bedazzle and bedazzle

Foolproof au courant costume suggestions:

—Any number of starlets in jailhouse-orange
—One of a plethora of Lady Gaga ensembles
—A Madonna- or Michael Jackson–era outfit
—Brett Favre
—The cast of Jersey Shore
—Anyone from Project Runway
—A favorite fashion designer-editor with an overzealous personality (Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour or André Leon Talley)

Be creative and revel in lighthearted wickedness and saccharine indulgences. Happy Halloween!