August 20, 2019 | 81° F

Accessories aside, reimagine animal print for full ensembles

Photo by Facebook |

What goes around always comes back around, and wearing animal print is no exception. Animal print has continued to be relevant in the fashion world for decades. In the roaring '20s as a printed fur coat, in the '60s during the Bohemian movement in hats and trench coats, in the ‘80s, when leopard print was best worn skin tight as a jumpsuit. Animal prints even managed to make their way into early ‘00s accents and statement pieces. Leopard, python and crocodile skin are all asserting their power as Fall 2018 staple pieces this season, and they’re effortlessly blurring the lines between “want” and “need.”

During fashion month, AW18 captured the essence of the animal inside of everyone, unleashed and literally worn on our sleeves. Tom Ford’s AW18 line was heavily influenced by animal print, and showed no signs of restraint in expression, seeing as he incorporated metallic, vibrancy and mixed patterns into his work. Common themes in Ford’s line were leopard jackets and trench coats, printed tights, including zebra, which piqued interest, and matching pantsuits in snakeskin prints. Ford’s snakeskin jumpsuit showed that snakeskin can reach a wider spectrum than just accessories like belts, shoes and purses. Python, or any animal print for that matter, is front-and-center stage rather than serving solely as an accent. Not to say that they can't be worn in little pops, but there is far more flexibility for animal print to thrive in the AW18 trends. Leopard was a huge theme among designers like Calvin Klein’s AW18 — in outerwear, specifically head accessories and coats. Michael Kors remained loyal to accents like the traditional leopard bootie and scarf, but animal print was imbedded in his campaign, nonetheless. Always innovative Victoria Beckham  paired leopard with velvet and even took initiative to pair leopard bags with leopard dresses in her line, with no hint of subtlety.

What debuts during Fashion Week moves from the runway and onto the streets, when affordable fast fashion retailers adopt the styles straight off the catwalk. Animal print, especially snakeskin and leopard are all over the Express Instagram page, fashion websites and in stores. Not only are there the accessories that add flair to a simple outfit, but there has been an influx of main pieces taking on animal prints. Express is taking animal print to the next level, and as a store that offers a wide range of accessories, even it's shining a new light on animal print as a main focal point of an outfit. Zara’s “Best Sellers” tab on its website features animal print sweatshirts for those days where it’s time to dress down, dresses for the fancier occasions and animal print jeans for everything in between. Stores like Zara and Express give us the opportunity to walk our own runways at affordable prices, and they’re right in our backyards. 

Social media influencers are showing everyone how it’s done and are adding their personalities to each ensemble. Models such as Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford, who has walked in the clothes where the trends originated from, are inspired to make it their own. On Kaia’s Instagram page, she features animal printed looks from shows, and has even recently posed in a leopard bikini, proving that animal print isn’t limited to fall clothing.  

For those who don’t feel the need to have animal print as a main piece, do not fret. It's more than encouraged to practice wearing styles in a moderation that you see fit for your personality. A simple outfit with animal printed accents like booties, a scarf or a belt, gets the job done just as a whole article of clothing would. In the fashion world, animal print is all a matter of preference, so wear what you love and love what you wear. 

Needless to say, welcome to the jungle, everyone.

Sophia Colitti

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