When it comes to wearing leopard print this fall, there’s a very fine line between trendy and tacky. And when I say fine, I mean very fine like, Tyler Cameron-level fine. Which is exactly why one must tread lightly when attempting to wear this trend. All it takes is one slight misstep and the next thing you know, you’ve been cast as an extra on Jersey Shore, fist pumping with the best of them. And I mean, I personally don’t want that for you, even though we love Jersey Shore.
We’ve all seen the leopard trend done correctly and incorrectly. When it comes to the leopard trend, it’s all about how you style said piece more so than the actual piece itself. For example, take a leopard bodycon dress. I’m sure your minds all immediately went to the incorrect way to wear it, with sky-high heels and a Bump-it. Which like, fair—that is bad. However, if you instead paired that same leopard bodycon dress with chunky dad sneakers and an oversize denim jacket, it goes from tacky to stylish and cool. I’ve done you all the favor of selecting some effortlessly cool, easy-to-wear trendy leopard pieces for fall that you’d really have to go out of your way to make tacky. But like, don’t test that please.
1. Chinese Laundry ‘Pollie’ Cheetah Pointy Mule, $69.95
Well, first off, not to be a total narc or anything, but these mules are referred to as “cheetah” when, in actuality, they’re a leopard print. Trust me, cheetahs have been my favorite animal since I was a 4-year-old and I have gotten into many fights in grade school over the difference between the two. ANYWAY, these mules are basically the cutest shoes I think I’ve ever seen. They’re both classy and cool with their black and white twist on the trend, plus stylish point-toe and comfortable block heel. They’d look super chic with boyfriend jeans and a simple white tee. Honestly, these mules are the epitome of chic, so you really can’t f*ck up how you style them as long as you keep the shoes as the statement piece of the outfit.
2. Superdown ‘Draya’ Leopard Cardigan, $66
Cardigans themselves are effortlessly stylish, which leaves minimal room for them to be tacky. Especially when you have one as cute as this, with a stylish and well-done leopard print, you’ll be golden. Another important note for when taking on the leopard print trend just in general, is to pay attention to the quality of the print. Some iterations of the leopard print just automatically look tacky, regardless of the piece or how you style it. So just make sure the print on your piece isn’t too kitschy and is actually elevated, like in this cardigan.
3. Free People ‘Marcella’ Belt In Leopard, $38
A leopard print belt is a safe way to ease yourself into this popular fall trend. The belt elevates the most basic outfit, making it instantly stylish and cool, with the perfect hint of trendy. So you really can’t go wrong here. Well, unless you buy one of those sweater dresses from JC Penney with the cheesy leopard print belt pre-attached. That leopard print belt would be severely incorrect.
4. Pistola Naya Crop Running Wild Boyfriend Denim Jacket, $118
This leopard print jacket makes for an incredible fall staple. The leopard print is subtle and muted in a perfect fall brown shade, making it the ideal jacket to pair with everything in your closet. Personally, I already consider leopard print to be a neutral. But, for those of you less bold, this jacket can pretty much be universally considered relatively neutral. It’s basically the perfect stepping stone for someone who wants to embrace the leopard print trend into their everyday fall wardrobe without looking over-the-top.
5. ASOS DESIGN Leopard Print Knot Headband, $6.50
A leopard print headband is the perfect accessory to add just a touch of the trend to your fall outfits. It looks chic while also making for a trendy option to hide a bad hair day. This should go without saying, but if you wear a leopard print headband, then no other part of your outfit should be leopard. Any additional leopard will make this once chic headband instantly look cheap and tacky, so keep the rest of the outfit simple.
6. French Connection Leopard Print Slipdress, $78
I love a slip dress, especially one in a polished leopard print like this one from French Connection. It will look super cute this fall worn over a black long sleeve turtleneck, or paired with an oversize duster cardigan. It’s a comfy and easy way to wear the trend, and the looser silhouette keeps it from looking like a tacky club dress.
7. LEVI’S Ribcage Leopard Leopard Straight Leg Corduroy Pants, $98
This updated corduroy version of Levi’s beloved straight leg Ribcage jean in a leopard print is perfect for fall. The cool girl style and fit of the jeans is the perfect complement to the trendy leopard print. They’re super high-waisted so they’ll pair great with a cropped sweater or even a tight bodysuit, and will totally be your go-to pant for fall.
8. Princess Polly Zazu Midi Skirt Leopard, $43
You really can’t go wrong with a leopard print midi skirt. I mean, haven’t you seen every girl in your office wearing some version of this skirt? Exactly, which means it’s far from tacky and appropriate for work. Try pairing it with a chunky turtleneck and some shrugged knee-high boots for a casual-cute trendy fall ensemble.
Basically, the endless options of leopard pieces for fall make it relatively easy to find some items that aren’t tacky. Of course, anything can instantly become tacky if you try hard enough. So do your part to avoid that at all costs by keeping the print to just one piece of your outfit. Anything more, and you’re officially crossing into fist-pumping-at-Karma territory.
Images: Kristina Petrick /Unsplash; South Moon Under (2); Revolve; Free People; ASOS; Nordstrom (2); Princess Polly
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Leopard print gets a bad name. Sure, it’s the unofficial uniform of drunk bitches at bachelorette parties in Myrtle Beach, but it’s also an iconic print that can be pulled off by basically anyone. Whether you’re preppy enough to have a boat named after you or some crazy punk chick with like, five nose piercings, there is truly a leopard print for everyone. Here are a few guidelines for pulling off leopard print without looking like a total Jersey Shore reject. Or you can just ignore these tips and hit up the clearance rack at your local Forever 21 to celebrate the return of America’s favorite least favorite reality show. It’s up to you.
1. Stick To Classic Silhouettes
Obviously, your leopard print dress is going to look like total trash if it’s a stretchy bodycon with side cutouts. Opt for a more versatile design, like a classic shirt dress. Pieces like this are great for anyone who is adult enough to have a real job, but still hasn’t mastered the art of having separate wardrobes for work and play. If you’re totally in a bind and need to wear this to the office, nobody’s ever going to know that you last wore it with ankle strap heels and an exposed leather bralette.
Missguided Brown Leopard Print Long Sleeve Shirt Dress
2. Keep It Casual
There’s no safer bet than a comfy cotton T-shirt. So unless you’re wearing a pink sequin Victoria’s Secret Bombshell bra underneath and it’s somehow showing through, you should be good with this one.
J.Crew Leopard T-Shirt
3. Choose Abstract Prints
Leopard print doesn’t necessarily have to be straight out of the safari. Playing around with abstract prints and colors that don’t actually appear in nature can be a great way to subtly incorporate leopard into your wardrobe. From a distance, you can barely tell these jeggings are even leopard print. (Just like, don’t go all Lisa Frank on us.)
Gap Mid Rise Leopard Print Ankle Jeggings
4. Tread Carefully With Footwear
Leopard print shoes are either a perfect staple or something you should never, ever wear. There’s pretty much no in-between. It’s definitely in your best interest to stay away from anything that could be categorized as clubwear, like platform stilettos or thigh high boots. However, leopard print shoes are tricky, because sometimes just the material or color of the print can make them a total miss. When in doubt, just ask yourself if the shoes you’re about to purchase feel like an homage to anything from the Snooki Shop. If not, you’re golden.
Sam Edelman Taye Leopard-Print Calf Hair Ankle Booties
5. Try Not To Look Like A Stuffed Animal
Leopard print coats are probably always going to be a thing, so it’s a good idea to invest in one. Just make sure it’s not like, too fluffy, or else it’s going to look you skinned the stuffed animals from your childhood.
ASOS Faux Fur Coat in Leopard Print