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We all have guilty pleasures here at the office. One of the gals absolutely loves real fur, while another gets girly over feathers. I secretly love leopard print (often printed on cowhide, brushed cotton or velvet). As with all our guilty pleasures, the reason we feel embarrassed by them is because so many people do them badly. How not to wear leopard print: Google Edith Prickley for a reminder.

Of course leopard print comes around every ten years or so and sticks for about three. We are on the tail end of its run now but I am happy to know that it will still be here for fall 2011, if runway shows are any indicator.

The key to leopard print is moderation, whether in fashion or home. And moderation doesn't always mean small scale. In fashion, it can be one fabulous coat or a small handbag. In homes, it can mean one big sofa, or a small cushion or throw. I think designer Charles Spada hit the right now in design with his French Chateau sofa. The leopard print is a showstopper, but there is only one thing in leopard. And so many other lovely and subtle things to balance the bold print.

Of course I would love to have this Yves Saint Laurent handbag from 2008 (left), but since it's sold out, and far out of my price range, I opted for a cute vintage one (right) on Etsy instead. And sorry for you others out there who secretly love leopard print, this bag is marked sold.

For more animal inspiration, see Kathryn Bala's blog post on spots.

Photo credits:
1. Thegloss.com, photography by Stan Wayman
2. Blugirl Fall/Winter 2011
3. Boxwood Terrace blog
4a. YSL Majorelle Leopard-Print Bag, Neiman Marcus
4b. Etsy

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