Animal Prints Have Been Set Free: Here’s How to Wear Them

The lowdown on styling animal prints.

Animal prints make bold and loud statement pieces—they’re definitely not something for all occasions. But if you decide to wet your feet in the print world, you’re sure to end up with a fire fit.

The classic problem with animal print is that they’ve always been on the borderline between classy and tacky

But today’s take on the trend is bidding farewell to the tacky-ness, allowing you to embrace the animal print in full swing. From enormous overalls and capacious jackets to quirky bottoms and footwear, animal print is out in several reincarnations.

The runway shows by leading designers have showcased timeless pieces slathered in fresh ideas of masculinity.

Ditching the usual animal print color palette, Versace displayed pieces in neon orange, yellow, and green. They then paired these eye-catching pieces with toned-down black trousers. 

Meanwhile, Jil Sander and D&G chose to go with dramatically huge overalls in animal print. It would take a brave man to wear that in the wild, but the look could be easily pulled off with a more regularly cut jacket. You can see a version in our style guide below. 

Dior’s paired a roomy leopard blouson paired with an animal print beret. This is a comparatively toned-down look and one I can see people wearing on the streets.

How to Style Animal Prints

Keep the following tips in mind when styling animal print. Unless you’re purposely trying to achieve a trashy punk effect. 

Don’t Overuse Prints

Less is more when it comes to prints. Try to keep only one patterned piece in your outfit, or two, at most.

Balance is the Key

Balance the flashy animal print in your ensemble by pairing it with neutral, minimal, and subdued clothing pieces.

Don’t Mix and Match

Mix-and-match does not work well with animal prints. Instead, a fail-safe way to put together animal print outfits is by pairing them with garments in solid colors, particularly the ones that appear in the pattern.

Animal Print Outfit Ideas

All flashy? Or minimal and classy? No matter where you stand on animal prints, the following styling inspirations will serve you right.

Elegant but Fun

Red suit animal print shirt
Depositphotos/fashion stock

How do you get your clothes to say you’re elegant but like to have fun? Slip into a classic suit and get some play from the shirt or tie. 

Case in point: The tiger print shirt topped off with a loud orange suit is the middle ground between elegant and trendy. The suit is for the dapper gentleman in you, while the orange color and tiger print adds a bold appeal to the outfit. 

And while the red suit is pretty out-there, you could easily recreate the look with your gray, navy, or black suit. 

It’s a Trendy Affair

Green pants zebra print jacket
Depositphotos/fashion stock 2

While dramatically lengthy animal print overalls were a thing on runways this season (see the D&G example above), I don’t think most people will go for this look. Instead, short-mid length outerwear is a safer option.

Case in point: A faux fur coat in zebra print is a fine team-up of the two hottest trends of the season. Paired with a casual tee and relaxed pants, this outfit will fuse with your day-to-night commitments.

Less is More

animal print coat

Minimal detailing and print patches over the garment create subdued pieces that still catch attention. A solid brown jacket in a velvet finish with eye-catching details introduced via the leopard print trimmings around the collar and down will keep you on the lower key side of the trend. The plain vest/shirt and pants complement the overall minimalism of the outfit.

Casual but Not Basic

zebra shirt gray pants
Depositphotos_Shot studio

A plain button-down shirt paired with relaxed pants has to be the most basic outfit there is. But add some animal print and you have the code cracked to be casual but not basic. 

Case in point: a pair of grey woolen pants locked down with a zebra print button-down shirt. Top off with a hat or accessorize as you like.

Unleash your Inner Rockstar

Animal print jacket
Depositphotos/fashion stock 3

Did anyone say fancy, timeless, and exquisite? Because all I hear is a snake-textured jacket. While we’re at animal prints, I cannot help but mention animal textures that look supremely luxurious. 

Case in point: a classic snake textured jacket is a head-turning piece in the outfit. Balance it out by keeping the rest of your look minimal. Embrace this outfit with all the confidence in the world, or avoid sporting it at all. 

Stay Subtle with a Self Print

Animal print coat
Depositphotos/fashion stock 4

Flaunt a monochrome piece for a minimal yet on-point outfit. This leopard jacket in camel color is a foolproof way to stick to the classic style while also showcasing a fresh spark. The single-tone print keeps the jacket from being excessively loud, allowing you to try out the trend in a simple way.

More Menswear Trends

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Photo of author

Mariah Syed

Mariah is a writer at The Boardwalk.

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