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Leopard Print Is Not Tacky–It’s Eternal

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A brief trend piece at Fashionista points towards leopard print’s unexpected revival for fall, noting that the pattern’s resurgence is a “much needed switch up from the minimalism that has reigned supreme for the last few years.” Minimalism—vaguely European, like a Danish architect on holiday—is boring. Patterns are not! But leopard print, a much maligned pattern that is the subject of a forthcoming book, has been always branded as trashy, tacky, and otherwise declassé.

“Besides, despite their inherent boldness, the pieces we’ve got our eyes on right now don’t feel chaotic or flashy,” writes Fashionista, “but rather seemingly functional neutrals which you can build almost any outfit around. Who would’ve thought?”

Just a friendly reminder for those who would throw their animal print caftans, shift dresses, ballet flats, handbags, and oversized sweaters into a garbage can for fear of looking “tacky”—leopard print is eternal. It is the world’s best netural, as elucidated by Racked in 2017. The real reason leopard even lives in the shadows of impropriety and bad taste in the first place is because of outdated bourgeoisie values about class and a deep-seated fear of The Nanny. I hate to drag Jenna Lyons into this entire fracas to make my point clear, but she has been stumping for leopard as a way of life for a minute now, bringing that very particular aesthetic to J. Crew—shaking up a formerly stodgy mass market retailer that specialized in blush cashmere twin sets by injecting some LIFE into that shit! Say what you will about J. Crew under Lyons, as it was occasionally a riotous mess of paillette sequined skirts and weird seersucker things, it was exciting, like clothing should be.

Though it is truly unfortunate and slightly racist that leopard’s mainstream acceptance came because a thin white woman wore it during Fashion Week a couple of times, its enduring appeal has never really faded. Wear that caftan. Mix and match your big cat prints. Life is short and we will all die eventually. Have some friggin’ fun.


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