A few weeks ago, I was seeking fashion advice from our Facebook shopping group So… Should I Buy This? in relation to a leopard-print jacket I was contemplating buying. The response was overwhelmingly positive: Some readers even insisted that leopard print is a neutral and, as such, a wardrobe investment that cannot be faltered.
Still, coming to terms with its newfound chicness can be difficult, as the motif is so rooted in pop culture. Heck, it wasn't all that long ago that leopard print was considered tacky (hello, Janice from Friends or Kat from EastEnders) and synonymous with the "mutton dressed as lamb" stereotype, outdated as it may be.
In 2021, however, it has been widely embraced by the fashion crowd, most notably by achingly cool influencers such as Léna Farl, Kellie Brown, Anne Laure Mais and Grece Ghanem. And it seems they're not alone in their adoration. From Celine to Max Mara, Michael Kors to Lanvin, leopard print cropped up in a multitude of ways on the autumn 2021 runways, cementing it as a print trend worth considering.
Indeed, the classic print has been given a serious rebranding, and it's considered a totally accessible aesthetic. It's perfectly normal to see people walking down the street in a leopard skirt, dress or jeans, as it can be what you want it to be: elegant, grown-up, eccentric… You can clash it with other prints (here's looking at you, Sara Brown) or pair it with minimalist staples for a pop of personality. Yep, this is leopard print for the postmodern age.
From dresses and jeans to tops and skirts, there's a leopard look for everyone. I've scoured my favourite Instagram feeds to find my favourite outfits to spark your style imagination. As for the next six months? Take your cues from the runway imagery I've also collated for you for ease.
LEOPARD PRINT ON THE RUNWAY
Photo:Courtesy of Celine
Leopard print at Celine consisted of teeny spots worn with grey separates for grounding.
Photo:Courtesy of Etro
Leopard-print trousers were the order of the day at Etro, worn with khaki green.
Photo:Courtesy of Lanvin
A leopard-print dress paired with leopard-print shoes? I love it, Lanvin.
Photo:Courtesy of Max Mara
Max Mara took the subtle approach, layering a chunky striped knit over a leopard skirt.
Photo:Courtesy of Michael Kors
Take the maximalist approach by wearing your leopard-print clothes with a matching coat akin to Michael Kors.
HOW TO WEAR LEOPARD PRINT
Style Notes: Now this is how to do a leopard-print dress in 2021. Note the long sleeves, calf-grazing length and minimal accessories.
Style Notes: Karina gives her leopard dress an autumn-worthy spin with black leather boots and a matching blazer. We'll book this for later.
Style Notes: Ellie creates a striking look just by pairing jeans, a kimono jacket and a cropped leopard-print top, which gives the whole outfit a lift.
3. Jackets & Coats
Style Notes: Nothing has the power to give your outfits a fashionable seal of approval quite like a leopard coat, as Grece proves. Wear it over simple outfits to give them some oomph.
Style Notes: If a coat feels too much for your sartorial palate, why not try a leopard jacket instead? It'll still look the fashionable part but won't overpower the rest of your ensemble.
Style Notes: This ensemble has become a bit of a French-girl fail-safe. It's all about balancing the loud print with androgynous separates. A blazer will do the job nicely.
Style Notes: That, or you can follow Camille's lead and enhance the rock-and-roll feel of your leopard trousers by wearing them with a band tee.
Style Notes: Keep it tonal like Kellie by wearing your leopard skirt with beige and black tops. We love her combination of linen shirting, a bra top and a slinky slip skirt.
Style Notes: You can thank Réalisation for putting leopard skirts on the style map. Lucy still wears hers regularly—proof it's a sound investment.