What Nail Polish Goes With a Leopard-Print Outfit?

By Angela Bakke

Leopard print is a chic way to unleash your wild, sexy side. Whether you go all out in a second-skin tight dress or just have spots of the print peppered within your outfit -- a blouse, a clutch or a pair of animal-print shoes -- the nail polish color you put on plays a role in setting the tone. Your nail polish can amp up the vamp or beautifully blend in with your animal-inspired outfit.

Project Runway Finalists Fashion Show - Front Row - Spring 09 MBFW
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Black nail polish with a leopard-print dress creates an edgy look for actress Michelle Trachtenberg.

Colors That Add Sexy to Your Outift

The color red is synonymous with hot and sexy, so when you add red accents to leopard-print togs you're asking for some attention -- the brighter the red the more sultry the effect. Use firetruck-engine red polish if you're wearing a knock-out cocktail dress and you're out to turn as many heads as possible. Or opt for berry-red polishes for a more subdued and high-fashion look; with a leopard-print blouse and a pair of black trousers, the berry red stands out without drawing too much attention away from the outfit itself.

Colors for Day Dates

2013 Stagecoach California's Country Music Festival - Day 3
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Singer Shawna Thompson wears a pale gold polish to accent her leopard-print blouse for a daytime concert.

If you are wearing leopard print during the day, choose a nude or neutral polish. A French manicure -- a style of polish resembling natural nails, with a clear, nude or pale pink polish as the base and a sliver of white polish on the nail tips -- is classy and looks gorgeous against the bold gold and black spots of a leopard print. Go this direction if you are carrying a leopard-print clutch and your hands are up front and center all day, or go for a taupe or coffee-with-cream shade of neutral polish to keep your look classic without going clear. Wear a pale gold polish to pick up the warm tones of the print and tie your outfit together with gold jewelry pieces, such as bangles or a Cleopatra choker.

Funky and Fun Polish with Leopard Prints

If you want nail polish to serve as a statement piece, go with a textured gold-leaf material or replicate the leopard print of your outfit: apply nail stickers made of real lacquer, or pay a professional nail artist to apply a leopard design from scratch to last you longer. Add an edgy look to your outfit with black nail polish, but keep your complexion in mind. Black is a better choice for someone with a darker complexion; black polish on very pale skin can have you looking bit vampire-ish. For a fun and feminine touch, go with hot-pink polish. It's not quite classic, but not outrageous, either, so may be the perfect choice if you're a girly-girl whose style isn't goth enough for black or racy enough for red.

Lipstick and Nail Polish Combinations

Once you choose your polish you have another decision to make -- to mix or match your lipstick. To play safe, match your lipstick with your nail polish. Wear red polish with red lipstick or neutral-color polish with nude lip color. For a more adventurous look, mix your colors by wearing a red lipstick with neutral nail colors in gold or beige or in a French manicure. Or wear nude lipstick with a polish in red or neutral shades. The same rule applies for applying polish to both toes and fingers: if you are not going to match, keep one set neutral.