Is Leopard Print in Style? [2024]

Wondering “is leopard print still in style?” Allow us to explain.

Leopard print has had major staying power in the fashion world. It’s long symbolized independence and wealth through fashion — a stylish motif that is both trendy and timeless. From its role as a signature of social status in Western culture to becoming a punk rock wardrobe must-have in the ’70s and ’80s, the print has shifted and transformed while still remaining relevant in the fashion world.

At the same time, despite its glamorous roots, leopard print risks becoming low-class or dated if it isn’t worn the right way.

Is Leopard Print in Style?

A leopard print sweater from JCrew

To put it plainly: Yes, leopard print is still in style in 2024, and we expect it to be in style pretty much every year for the rest of time. Why? Because overall, leopard print is timeless fashion staple when worn appropriately. Kind of like stripes. It’s a good bet that you can almost always find a way to wear leopard print so it looks on-trend and stylish. The key is just figuring out what that look is from year-to-year.

To ensure you’re on the right side of the leopard print trend, here’s an overview of how to wear it.

Rules for Wearing Leopard Print & Animal Print in General

The Zinnia Wormwood look is a great example of what not to do. Image via Shutterstock

Fashionistas looking to style leopard print in a posh and practical way have a wide range of options available to them, with looks to spice up any wardrobe and impress in every setting. Adding leopard print to an outfit with the right formula brings out hints of femininity and fierceness.

Overall, the key to wearing leopard print is balance. Leopard print is a bold(ish) pattern, so it works best when it’s the star of the show, mixed with solids or simple patterns like a classic stripe.

Wear leopard print in simple, classic silhouettes

A classic, tailored suit in a leopard print from luxury department store Bergdof Goodman

Leopard print is at its best when it’s the part of the outfit that speaks the loudest. That means everything else about your look should be simple.

Pairing your bold prints with minimalist basics and classic outfit ideas emphasizes the print, while maintaining a chic and timeless look.

Think of leopard print as a way to spice up everyday essentials. A leopard print statement piece turns an otherwise boring look into an eye-turning fashion hit: one that’s equal parts basic and bold for a balanced look. Good basics to buy in a leopard print include: crew-neck t-shirts, tailored blazers (or even suits, like the above), loafers, or a cardigan sweater.

Make leopard print a statement piece

Leopard print can also be used as an accent to an outfit, or as a statement piece.

This works well if you’re looking to incorporate leopard into a louder or brighter ensemble. Think of it as a splash of print that complements and completes the look. For example, if you’re wearing a red cocktail dress, a leopard-print heel can be a fun, but still classic, choice. Or, if you have a pant suit in a bright hue, a leopard-print belt adds cheeky contrast.

Instead of clashing patterns and aesthetics, consider leopard accent pieces as an attractive addition to nearly any color palette or pre-existing fashion trend. By transforming the beloved print into an accent piece — think boots, a clutch, a scarf and gloves — you’re drawing attention to the item in question and diversifying the outfit’s color scheme.

Add a pop to simple outfits

Finally, if you tend to stick to simple outfits or shop at classic clothing stores, but want to add a little bit of interest to your look, leopard is the perfect way to do it.

A leopard belt on an all-white or all-black ensemble adds just the right amount of oomph. The same can be said for a leopard-print cardigan over a simple shift dress, or leopard-print loafers with straight-leg jeans and a button down.

Is Leopard Print Classy or Trashy?

These $8 pants aren’t necessarily the classiest way to wear leopard

Whether leopard print is classy or trashy depends on how it is incorporated into an outfit: the key to making leopard print luxe is by wearing it just right, as we outlined above. Leopard print evolved from a high-end signifier of wealth and prestige, but it can also be a flashy symbol of poor taste.

The quickest way to make leopard print look trashy is by buying low-quality fabrics or super-trendy silhouettes in the print. Cheap fabrics make leopard print look, well, cheap. And on-trend or daring silhouettes can look over-the-top in a bold print like leopard.

Leopard print can also sometimes (but not always!) look trashy in ensembles that are on the sexy side, i.e. mini dresses and low-cut tops. Again, the devil is in the details, because a form-fitting leopard midi dress with a pair of classic black heels can be a fabulous and timeless choice.

Leopard print can also be an iffy choice if it’s part of an outfit that just has too much going on. For example, if you’ve got on a leopard print crop top, leather pants, bright red heels, and a fur coat, the overall vibe probably isn’t going to come off as elegant or elevated.

To regain the power and poshness that leopard print once denoted, you only need to honor it’s timelessness of the print by wearing it in classic silhouettes. Well-made, tailored pieces that fit like a glove — dress tees, ballet flats, and sleek cardigans — speak to the sophisticated effect of the print. Luxury fashion and leopard print can walk hand-in-hand down bustling city streets or into the office with proper care and attention to choosing quality pieces.

By implementing these fundamental fashion tips and tricks, you can add leopard print to any classy outfit idea. Leopard print has stood the test of time, and it’s the perfect medium for expressing your own unique fashion sense while honoring the legacy of fashion icons who popularized the print in years past.