Take a walk on the wild side

Choose hiss one: Limited Collection snakeskin print dress, �45, Marks & Spencer (0845 302 1234 / www.marksandspencer.com).
Choose hiss one: Limited Collection snakeskin print dress, �45, Marks & Spencer (0845 302 1234 / www.marksandspencer.com).
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The forecast might say sunshine but the shops are screaming winter...

If you’re feeling trapped between seasons, go on the prowl for animal prints.

This one bites: Left, snake print blouse, �25, and palazzo trousers, �38, Marisota (0871 984 7612 / www.marisota.co.uk).

This one bites: Left, snake print blouse, �25, and palazzo trousers, �38, Marisota (0871 984 7612 / www.marisota.co.uk).

Timeless, yet somehow always bang on trend, there were animalistic flashes on both the spring-summer catwalks and the autumn-winter ones.

Runways were alive with prints including pony bristles at Alexander McQueen, Dalmatian spots at Topshop Unique and tiger stripes at Dolce & Gabbana.

And while previous seasons have hinted towards safari adventure, the current look is distinctly more urban zoo with sleek animal prints set against modern silhouettes.

There are more print variations than ever to parade, too, from slinky snakeskin to loud leopard.

Bold: Boutique animal print blouse, �45;   M&Co (0800 0317 200 / www.mandco.com).

Bold: Boutique animal print blouse, �45; M&Co (0800 0317 200 / www.mandco.com).

Animal prints can work for everyone if you choose with care.

The trick to wearing your spots and stripes well is to tame your pattern and dress to your shape – curvy girls might find a dainty print more flattering.

Snakeskin

Stand back, this trend is set to bite.

Style: Animal print cover-up, �29, Kaleidoscope (0844 556 3080 / www.kaleidoscope.co.uk).

Style: Animal print cover-up, �29, Kaleidoscope (0844 556 3080 / www.kaleidoscope.co.uk).

Shed plains and opt for python-inspired prints.

This reptile look ranges from dramatic, large-scale prints to subtle, pale and dainty skins.

A little less brash than the ever-popular leopard, snakeskin is the chic way to don animal prints due to its subtle grey tones.

If you’re afraid to wear a full print dress or blouse, you can still achieve a taste of the trend with a scarf, bag or pair of snakeskin heels.

Leopard spots

Made for rock chicks at heart, leopard has moved on from Coronation Street landladies to become a print sensation.

Kate Moss regularly flaunts leopard in her day-to-day ensembles and Kylie Minogue is often spotted on the red carpet demonstrating the print’s versatility.

A leopard print trench or jacket is an instant update for the new season – just ensure you team it with plain colours, like black, to maintain a balance.

Wallflowers should stick to neutral shades in daintier, repetitive prints but the more confident you are about your look, the bolder you should go – wear random, bolder prints and turn away from the traditional colourway for a brighter hue.

Pony patches

Trot ahead of the style pack with this season’s quirky print: the pony.

Marbled, speckled and without uniformity, the look is wild and free.

It’s not just about the print, either – faux ponyskin bristles are the hottest texture of autumn/winter.

You’ll be brushing up to them on shoes and bags.

Dalmation dots

Forget houndstooth, planet fashion is going dotty for spots and the Dalmatian print is a quirky catwalk variation of the trend.

Adding a whisker of animal print to your outfit is easy with this always-monochrome palette of black on white.

Just like our 101 furry friends, every Dalmatian print is completely different. Choose more repetitive dots for an office-appropriate ensemble, or opt for randomly-placed bold splodges for a statement look.

Zebra stripes

Traditionally a summer safari staple, the zebra stripe has undergone a winter makeover.

Opt for grey and black prints rather than monochromatic to make the look less stark.

And avoid horizontal-placed stripes on your hot-spot areas, which can make them look bigger. The wider the stripe, the more it will draw attention to your figure.