The Baker and The Leopard

It is a truth universally acknowledged that in every woman’s life, there comes a day when her hair will look like shit, and she will have no time to do anything about it. And even if she did, the humidity of the atmosphere would work against her as well. However, years of dealing with these sort of trivialities have taught me that there are ways to deal with all the hair troubles in the world. Especially now when the latest incarnation of headgear to be trending is the old’ mighty and chic beret, brought to fame by various vixens of the 60’s, and its cousin the baker boy hat that will hopefully make you look less like Oliver Twist and more like Jane Birkin. But that is a lot to ask.

I can’t help but wonder what did all the designers had in mind when they were planning their new fashion strategies. Did they plan on making these hats fashionable again? Have they truly conspired in bringing back all the horrendous noughties looks that Paris Hilton wore in the Simple Life? Because, let’s face it: pink is back, Uggs are making an appearance on the catwalks and so are Skater boy-era Avril Lavigne’s low slung trousers. If those are not signalling the end of days, then I don’t know what is.

Thankfully, the newsboy caps are a trend I can get behind. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with the item worn by so many stylish French women? And there’s, of course, the added bonus of hiding your mess of a hair perfectly. And if the ends aren’t doing it for you either just wear them in braids and pretend you’re Kate Moss.

Of course, once the braids are on there’s the danger of looking like a schoolgirl on a field trip, and I don’t know about you, but that’s not the look I tend to go for. Finding myself in this predicament, I knew I had to find a way out of it. Enter the surprisingly versatile leopard print coat. Who would have expected it could be worn on so many occasions? Certainly not me. I remember reading somewhere that the best way to pull off the leopard print is to treat it like a neutral. Now, I don’t know how literally this advice should be taken, because I usually use my neutrals as the base of my outfit and doing that with a leopard print would have mixed results, aka, bad ones. Thus, I interpreted in a different way: you shouldn’t think about it too much. It needs to be worn with a dose of nonchalance. Otherwise, it will look cheap and try-hard.

Think about it. If you’re anything like me, you grew up associating the leopard print with red, pointy nails and the headache-inducing perfumes of your great aunt who’s seemingly trying to strangle you in her breasts, while her gold necklace is scratching your face. It took me years to stop gagging anytime I saw a leopard print approaching me. It was synchronous with my fashion education. I began seeing pictures of young women wearing it confidently while maintaining their sophisticated air. I was puzzled by that. It seemed impossible to me that someone wearing leopard print wasn’t just spending all their days in the hairdresser’s, puffing their hair as high as they’d go and filing their nails in murderous points.

Again, there were the 60’s icons that reconciled me with the print, from Edie Sedgwick with her cool London, mod-girl looks to Brigitte Bardot with her Parisian take on the look. But it would be an oversight not to mention Alexa Chung who first introduced me to the ability to wear the print while still looking chic or rock & roll, which of course is a look I’ll never be able to achieve so well but hey- ho, it’s great having aspirations.

And so we arrive on the present day. The leopard print is no longer so scary. I see it as a way to jazz up an outfit, to contrast with the athletic components of an outfit like a pair of white trainers. Especially when it comes in the form of a fur, a trick which I learnt from the unbearably cool (and tall) ladies in Amsterdam. There really is nothing that will make you feel more confident than a leopard coat and a pair of comfy trainers. I urge you to try it and tell me the results. But leopard print or not, the baker boy and beret hat will be staying with me for the seasons to come.

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