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I recently rediscovered my J.Crew patent leather cheetah-print belt and I’ve shamelessly been trying to incorporate it into every outfit. The other day I was about to throw on my plain chestnut brown skinny belt to hold up my black jeans, when I realized the cheetah belt would add much more of an unexpected statement into my outfit.

Top: H&M cotton, black and white, 3/4 sleeves, striped. Belt: J.Crew patent leather cheetah print. Pants: Black J.Crew ankle-length toothpick jeans. Shoes: Nine West grey pointed-toe flats. Ring: David Yurman black onyx. Bracelets: gold, vintage.

While this outfit would have been a nice black and brown combo with the brown belt, the cheetah-print belt is much more unexpected and adds a little something extra to an otherwise typical outfit. I love that the cheetah print is similar to a polka dot, which gives the outfit that same “is she wearing stripes and polka dots?!” surprise question as the “is she wearing black and navy?!” question. It’s unexpected, but it totally works. And, since cheetah-print is so en vogue right now, it subtly makes the outfit more trendy and current.

Also, I can’t put into words why I opted for my grey Nine West flats over my black with gold Tory Burch flats, which would have matched perfectly, but the grey flats seemed to be the unexpected choice to go with the unexpected belt.

Finally, I didn’t wear a necklace (only my little diamond) because I didn’t want anything to compete with or detract from the belt. I wanted the belt to be the center of the outfit.

This outfit will definitely be worn many more times, as it has what I strive for in every outfit: a perfect balance between going with the trends, but in an unexpected and unique way.

In what unique ways do you wear cheetah print?