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So you're excited to add some animal prints into your wardrobe this season—but do you really know your spots from your stripes from your scales? Click through to learn about (and shop!) some of the fashion industry's favorite critter patterns, from leopard and tiger to cow and croc. And don't worry—no actual endangered species were harmed in the making of this story!
Leopard
Arguably the most classic and popular animal print around, leopard is now considered a neutral by most members of the fashion industry—and for good reason! Its simple brown-and-black palette means it pairs beautifully with neutrals and bold hues alike—and even with other, simpler patterns, like stripes and windowpane checks. Click through to shop our favorite leopard-print pieces.
Cheetah
While many retailers tend to use the words "leopard" and "cheetah" interchangeably, they're pretty distinctly different. While leopard print's characterized by open spots that resemble horseshoes or even individual rings of dots (called "rosettes"), each filled with a deeper brown color, cheetahs are covered with solid black spots that tend to be evenly spaced. Click through to shop our favorite cheetah-print pieces.
Jaguar
Jaguar spots are even more complex. While they resemble leopard markings in many ways, they're larger, more open and frequently contain groupings of smaller black dots—sort of like leopard on steroids! Click through to shop our favorite jaguar-print pieces.
Ocelot
Yet another big cat beloved by the fashion world but not always properly credited, the ocelot features spots similar to the leopard's, but elongated in shape. Some ocelot markings are so stretched out, in fact, that they almost look like stripes! Click through to shop our favorite ocelot-print pieces.
Tiger
Finally, a tiger print is easily identified by its—you guessed it!—stripes. As Tony, the famous Frosted Flakes mascot, might say: they're grrreat! Click through to shop our favorite tiger-print pieces.
Giraffe
A giraffe's coat features large, multi-sided dark spots separated by thin white or pale beige lines. Fun fact: Much like fingerprints, each giraffe has his or her own unique spot pattern, and no two animals share identical coats. Click through to shop our favorite giraffe-print pieces.
Zebra
Black and white, of course, matches everything—a fact that makes this animal's signature stripes supremely easy to work into your wardrobe. Click through to shop our favorite zebra-print pieces.
Deer
While deer spots pop up on clothing far less frequently than, say, leopard print or tiger stripes, that's no reason to avoid trying them on for size. Thanks in large part to Carven designer Guillaume Henry, who worked the brown-and-white print into his Fall 2013 collection, Bambi spots are looking chicer than ever right now. Click through to shop our favorite deer-print pieces.
Dalmatian
This is perhaps the one time it's OK to take your style cues from Cruella de Vil—and don't worry, no actual puppies were harmed in the making of these items. Click through to shop our favorite Dalmatian-print pieces.
Crocodile
Moving on to the reptile family, we might as well start with the most luxurious of the cold-blooded creatures. Real crocodile bags and shoes will set you back thousands (and isn't very kind to animals, obviously)—but croc-embossed pieces? Now those we can fully support. Click through to shop our favorite croc-print pieces.
Snake
Inherently sexy and perpetually in style, python scales pack a major graphic punch despite their naturally muted color palette. Try them on shoes, bags and party dresses for an instant dash of retro glamour. Click through to shop our favorite snake-print pieces.
Lizard
Sort of like snakeskin on a shrunken scale, lizard spots—most frequently seen on accessories—are marked by tiny scales that add up to one big textural punch. Click through to shop our favorite lizard-print pieces.