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If there’s one thing mum and I have in common it’s that we’re both a sucker for animal print in fashion, whether it’s styling the same zebra print dress from Lula, or hunting out primal prints in the charity shop. It’s timeless, always on trend and is a wardrobe staple you can tone down or really make a statement with, depending on how you style it.
After showcasing how versatile the FatFace Adele dress was in our first ever edition of Mum vs Millennial, this time we’re embracing our wild side with a leopard print number from growing fashion brand Needs No Label.
The brainchild of fabric vendor Sheldon and fashion buyer Natasha, Needs No Label was founded in 2021 and aims to offer ‘versatile, stylish pieces that take you from the office to after-work drinks with ease’ – because we all know how much I love a garment that works hard in your wardrobe.
I – aged 25 and a size 10 – and my 51-year-old mum, Tracy, both styled the Animal Sweetheart Midi Dress in two different colours, and it proved to be the perfect desk-to-dinner dress that can be worn for any occasion.
The Animal Sweetheart Midi Dress comes in red and olive, with a lilac floral number available in the same pattern cut. It features a wide sweetheart neck that gives it an almost vintage feel and an air of romance, with pretty gathering at the bust and a floaty a-line skirt in a midi length. Priced at £44.99, the dresses both feature a deep navy, almost black animal print design which is somewhere between leopard and dalmatian, while remaining enough of a ‘blank canvas’ to add personal touches to make it work for your wardrobe – and that’s where the fun begins. The dress is available in sizes 8-18, which I feel could be more inclusive, though the sizing is relatively flexible thanks to the concealed zip fastening combined with an elasticated waistband. I went for my usual size 10 and found it to be roomy but comfortable, while mum opted for a 16.
I couldn’t resist the allure of the vibrant red version of the dress – I have a skirt very similar that I love to style with my Johnny Cash tassel tee as seen during my trip to Deadwood Cabins – and so the midi lent itself well to a western style. I teamed it with my black cowboy boots from Primark which I’d bagged in the sale for £15, as well as a black felt fedora from Missguided. I dressed it up further with my faux leather M&S crossbody bag that’s a deadringer for the Celine £3,000 accessory, and finished the look with a bold red lip for an edgier look.
This dress would look equally as chic with my red Rommy headband that’s made countless appearances on my Instagram, or even one of those cute oversized velvet bows for something a little more festive feeling, alongside ankle boots, trainers or ballet flats, since they’re making a resurgence.
Meanwhile, mum styled the olive version of this dress, and I think the colour really complemented her complexion. She looks great in muted earthy tones, and this version of the dress has an almost satiny finish, too, making it look more expensive and elevated. Sometimes dresses where the top have been stitched in a certain way can prove problematic for women with a bigger bust, and despite having this area marked out on the design, it still flattered my mum’s chest without being overly restrictive nor too revealing.
She paired the dress with a glossy burgundy heeled boot and a Kurt Geiger Carvella bag, both of which she’d thrifted for under £5 each. Mum’s knack for finding treasures in charity shops proves that style knows no bounds when you embrace second-hand chic – she has a real eye for a bargain and knows exactly where to look for them, too. She had uhmmed and ahhed over a pair of black heeled boots for this look, but we both agreed that the ‘wrong shoe theory’ added so much more depth to this outfit and exuded sophistication, feeling polished and put-together and oh-so perfect for autumn, too.
Though if you are looking for something a little more laid back with a late-summer vibe, mum wore this look later in the day with a pair of white Converse and it looked equally as gorge.
The Needs No Label animal print sweetheart dress proved to be a winner across generations. Its flattering silhouette, combined with the timeless appeal of animal print, makes it a wardrobe staple that is feminine and fun to play with. Mum’s elegant take and my edgy interpretation once again prove that age is just a number when it comes to fashion.
You can shop the Needs No Label animal sweetheart midi dress for £44.99 here.