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Leopard print! What is there to say about it that’s new? Absolutely nothing. It’s a perennial! (Obviously.) It’s basically a neutral. (Duh.) It’s a time-honored way of adding Fran Fine cheekiness to an everyday look. (Everyone knows that.)
Ha! You thought. Recently, fashion hounds are embracing it in a new, rather particular trend. We’re seeing the leopard-print midi skirt appear everywhere—in stores, on influencers, and on normies like you and me. The item is now as ubiquitous as those novels by Sally Rooney, colonizing your Instagram feed like bunnies. Celebrities, your friends, your enemies: everyone has bought in.
It’s not exactly a recent trend. After long periods of searching, ELLE.com’s market editor, Justine Carreon, championed her affordable take on it back in January: an H&M calf-length winner that half of us duly logged on and bought. “This is the perfect leopard skirt,” she wrote. “The cut is super flattering, hitting right at the calf. The hemline softly flares out, creating a feminine silhouette, and the leopard print isn’t too leopard-y.”
Justine noted then that pricier versions of The Skirt originated the buzz months before that—in particular, Réalisation Par’s Naomi skirt. Cut from pale gold silk and decorated with an all-black interpretation of leopard spots, it was so simple, pretty, and versatile as to become an instant classic.
The LPMS now seems so widespread that a new Instagram account is zeroing in on every single one that appears in the wild. According to The Cut, @leopardmidiskirt is run by 23-year-old Rilka Noel, who works at Kith. The account works like this: People spot the skirt (on themselves or others) and submit IRL snaps of the item du jour.
There are a lot of them out there.
ELLE.com’s Senior Beauty Editor, Kristina Rodulfo, procured one of the H&M midi skirts after Justine wrote about it, after a heroic effort: “I searched two H&M stores—in person!—before finding it in my size. It was the last one.” She’s worn it in situations ranging from fashion week to work events, big presentations, and interviews. “I think it’s popular because it goes with everything like a neutral, but adds a little more fun. A silky material makes it feel sexy, but the midi length makes it professional.”
Is she worried that everyone else is in on the secret? “I know it has now been relegated to a basic AF uniform of all women brunching in Manhattan on a weekend, but I love it, damn it!” she messaged me, typing, I imagine, furiously.
I’m as susceptible to a trend as anyone (my wardrobe is still about 80 percent athleisure, unfortunately), but this sartorial Sally Rooney seems a touch tricky to me. At a twitch over five feet, I’m wary of wearing a midi skirt (read: scared of looking shorter). But just like I once came to believe that leggings are pants, I will probably eventually become convinced that I simply must have an LPMS.