I recently purchased my first leopard print scarf and I love it! The best thing about the scarf is that it can go with so many things.
Often, people think that leopard can really only go with solid colors or other neutrals, but they can go with other prints too! I've said before that for me, leopard print can be treated like a neutral in many cases. This fall, a leopard scarf will look great with stripes, plaid and even polka dots. See my examples below.
Some pattern-mixing tips:
1. In general, I'd keep your print one or two colors or multiple colors in the same range. For example, the black and white plaid and the brown striped tops are both colors that may normally occur in a leopard print pattern.
2. Keep your pattern bold and large. An exception to this is pinstripes, which could work if they are subtle colors. But for the most part, the more bold and graphic the print is, the better it works with a smaller print like leopard (or another animal print, for that matter).
3. If you're going with a non-neutral, go for a bright like red, coral, cobalt or even emerald. If the above sweater were white with black polka dots I don't think it would look as good.
4. Stay away from colored leopard prints...unless that is the look you are trying to match. I've seen leopard printed scarves in unusual colors like pink, green and blue. I'd say to stick with a more neutral palette and you'll have much more versatility with it.
Each of the scarf examples I've listed are $30 or under. It's a great accessory that can go with lots of items in your closet. (I wore mine with black pants, a cream cami and a hunter green cardigan...but I'm chomping at the bit to wear it again.)
Happy leopard print mixing!