“I don’t know why, but I can’t get myself to like animal prints.” ~ Radhika Apte
This quote was me about two moments ago. Okay I kid, but I have fought the animal print trend hard core for years. Almost as hard as I fight the changing of the seasons. While my sister loved animal print, I abhorred it. It was to flashy, in your face, and thanks to Victoria Secret, had sexual connotations.
As a nineties baby, animal print was huge in the latter half of that decade and into the early 2000s with shoes, handbags, and of course lingerie rocking the leopard prints everywhere. While it was more trendy in Urban areas, it was less so in rural living and never really made much of an impact.
With the initial resurgence of it, and my personal opinions on animal print aside, I felt it was to soon to be recycling trends. Much of my childhood has been recycled the last couple years and I realized I now knew how my Mom felt when she talked about different trends she had grown up with making a come back. Then I did reflect on my personal thoughts on the print and went through the stages of Fashion What the Heck. Denial, Disbelief, refusal, grudging acceptance, and finally because I couldn’t fight it, embracing it.
And lord have I embraced it.
Animal print isn’t what it once was. It is no longer exclusive to lingerie and stilettos, (though I do love a great pair of heels, yes, even in animal print) nor does Cruella de Vil come to mind either. While everyone is channeling their inner jungle animal, they are doing it synthetically, and yes ethically. Many companies have done away with using real fur, so you can rock these prints responsibly.
Though leopard print is arguably the most popular, it seems every animal wants its hey day in fashion. From snakeskin to alligator to more subtle versions of the jungle felines, their isn’t just a print based off of every animal, but there is a print for every human to take their pick and rock.
Animal print is the new neutral, and because of that, it makes it easy to style. My foray into channeling my wild side, started small, with accessories or a cardigan that if I felt was a little to flashy in, I could easily discard. I also stuck with prints that weren’t as bold like snakeskin, or a light pink colored cheetah print that was more muted. These small steps have since led to animal-esque leaps and I am now embracing my inner feline.
The Perfect Dupe
One of the most coveted clothing pieces this year, was a long leopard print duster cardigan designed by Gibson for Nordstrom. When Nordstrom held their semi annual sale, it sold out in hours. Dipping my toes into animal print, I figured this cardigan would be the best way to do it. Despite the bold print, it was as very neutral piece, I could style with much of my wardrobe. It was also IT piece of the season.
I am not one who typically goes after trendy pieces, but there was something about this cardigan, despite my unease about the print, that drew my attention. Plus, I love a good hunt. Family and friends, are always asking me to look certain items of clothing or keep my ears ad eyes open for the perfect deal. Not only did the OG cardigan sell out, it was also expensive, and I wanted to see if I could find one similar and cheaper.
Yes. And, yes. After doing some Googling and searching on some of my favorite brand’s websites, I found a couple dupes that looked identical to the OG. I kept going back and forth between Amazon, which is tried and true, and Shein which I had heard of, but never bought anything from. The reviews ultimately made my decision. Not only was the Amazon sweater more expensive, but the reviews (aways read the reviews!) were not complimentary. While I was concerned about the quality, I also know a ton of people who love Shein, and at twelve dollars, I couldn’t beat the price and I decided to give it a try.
Best. Fashion. Decision. Of. The. Year. Seriously, I was so pleasantly surprised by this cardigan. Because of the price, I thought it would be cheaper quality, but it is not. It is so incredibly well made. The fabric is soft, and has yet to pill, despite wearing it constantly. The colors aren’t faded and the pattern is beautiful. It is the best twelve dollars I have ever spent on a clothing item, and is the perfect Gibson cardy dupe.
I am not one to subscribe to the no white after Labor Day. White is so incredibly chic, whether it is warn in summer or winter. It isn’t just a great neutral, but the perfect transition color when you are dealing with warmer temps. Though, since September first, it seems like Mother Nature is ready for autumn in the Northeast, despite everywhere else being hotter then Hades.
Easing my wardrobe and yes, myself, into fall, I decided on an all neutral pallet which, as I mentioned earlier, animal print is fast becoming a neutral. I paired white jeans and a black camisole from J-Crew with perforated open toed booties and of course the cardigan. I kept my jewelry at a minimum with a statement necklace and gold filigree earrings.
It was a nice blend of end of summer, and hello fall, working well with Mother Nature’s temperamental temperament. Though Mother Nature seems to have firmly entrenched New England in her chillier temps. It was also the perfect foray, but definitely not the last, rocking some feline prints.
What do you think of animal print? Are you a fan or can you pass on this trend?