Being an animal lover comes with its share of stigmas and stereotypes. Perhaps there is some truth to the idea that we are more likely than our un-petted counterparts to have some stray cat hair on our clothes, for example, but to assume said clothes are more schlumpy than those of your average person is just not right. I prefer to think of it as fashion-forward: cruelty free fur. It’s a revolution, actually.
I would say my time in the frumpy world of yoga tracksuits had more to do with two kids running around than having pets in the house. I love nice clothes. I just never get a good excuse to wear them.
Which brings me to my point: Expressing oneself as an animal lover does not need to be mutually exclusive with being chic. You do not need to resort to novelty Malamute socks, for example, or these “sheek and stylish sequined vests“. (I do recommend clicking on that link, just because it’s worth seeing once in your lifetime, but you might be slightly traumatized.) Isn’t it time we showed the world we are not a collective bunch of people walking around with “Nothing Butt (insert choice of pet)” shirts?
So for today’s edition of the Howliday Gift Guide, I chose some pet-related couture that even Tim Gunn would approve of. These aren’t practical pieces, but personal expression pieces rarely are. Carry on.
1. Dog T-shirts from Freaky Dog People
See? Isn’t this so much better than a little dog rear winking at you? FDP is a small, family owned business dedicated to providing freaky dog people like us with a much better alternative to the standard issue “I heart my Golden” shirts. The fitted T-shirts are comfy, cute without being obnoxious, and best of all FDP is committed to donating a portion of their proceeds to animal related charities.
I’m wearing the one pictured above as we speak. It’s just the right color to camouflage Brody hair, which is a necessity since he has sunken into “Kids are in bed, my turn!” snuggle mode on my chest. All the designs are adorable, but my personal pick: The dog heart. Or maybe the Love Ride. Shoot, I might just have to get them all and be the hippest person at the dog park.
This is on my Christmas wishlist, but if it doesn’t show up on December 25th I’m going to have to go grab one anyway. This is like stealth dog fashion: you don’t even notice the buckle at first until you get up close, then you’re too distracted by the cute to notice anything else. It sure beats those Ed Hardy belt buckles everyone around here was dragging around on their waist last year.
Bonus: It also comes in a turtle. I love turtles almost as much as dogs.
No matter what you have on for the day, be it jeans or a suit, you can always grab the perfect purse to set the mood. Most good looking dog purses are actually purses meant for dogs to ride in as opposed to purses with dogs on them. It’s a fine line to be sure, but British designer Lulu Guinness does it right. Her pieces are whimsical without being precious, bright but not loud. I have a LG dog purse I got on my honeymoon 10 years ago and I still love it just as much as I did back then.
When $165 Italian silk ties come in a dog pattern, you know you’ve arrived. I don’t know of anyone who would actually invest in this, but I didn’t want to leave the guys out of the fun so I found what I believe to be the most expensive dog tie ever. And I love it.
The other lesson a What Not To Wear Addict will always repeat is to remember to accessorize. If I’m in my work uniform (which is your standard very conservative look) I still like to dress it up with a little statement piece. And because I am me, that statement is almost always “I adore animals!”
I avoid dangly earrings at work for reasons which should be obvious, but I’ve found ways to get around that.
Way before I found out the multitalented Dr. Crosby from AboutVetMed was a glass bead making hobbyist, I was in love with lampwork beads. They’re just so stinkin cute. I have gingerbread men, bones, pumpkins, you name it. And after my husband so cruelly denied me the pleasure of a chicken coop in the backyard, I now have a lampwork chicken not unlike the one above (which as of this morning was still available in Dr. Crosby’s Etsy store.)
It’s a big bead, not some little wimpy thing. It rests on a sturdy chain around my neck where it proudly announces, “I LIKE CHICKENS! You got a PROBLEM with that?” which of course no one does, because it’s so adorable everyone actually loves it. I clutch it like a talisman when I sense a client about to lay into me for some reason or another, and then their eyes spot it, and their demeanor softens because who can be mad at someone with a chicken around their neck?
In short, it’s a little magical.
Last but not least, when all else fails I can always pin a little brooch on and call it a day. I have always loved brooches- a habit I acquired from my late grandmother, who had a vast collection of costume jewelry from which to select. She was far from wealthy- she sewed her own dresses, and her treasures were not worth a fortune unless you count in my sentimentality.
The habit of pinning on a brooch is a nod to her and all she stood for. Most of the brooches she owned are long gone, having fallen prey to time, so I look on my own for inexpensive pieces that remind me of her. My favorite is a small yellow enamel dog brooch that I found online for $5, a replica of the old antique ones that go for hundreds.
The one I have pictured is a one of a kind I found on Etsy, a little treasure I’ve fallen for even while writing this. In that it is much like my pets.
Happy styling! I know this post was rather dog-heavy, mostly because I ran out of time to search for more stuff, but I’m always up for cat couture too. Or giraffe couture, whatever you got. If you have a favorite item I need to know about, please tell me so in the comments.