null

Hey lovely ladies! Let’s talk about animal prints and how you can incorporate them into your wardrobe to spice it up. Several top designers have ventured deep into the fashion jungle this year to harness the power of animal prints. A leopard, zebra, tiger, giraffe, or snakeskin print in some form of clothing or accessory will help you stand out from the crowd. Many of us are already fans of this look and we don’t ever want to give up the instant gratification and sexy confidence we feel when wearing animal print apparel. I love the look and will always incorporate it into my wardrobe whether it shows up on the runway or not. Nothing else I wear gives me more confidence on those days or nights when I want to emphasize my inner courage, need a bit of an emotional boost, or just want to explore the wilder, primal side of my gentle feminine self.

null

If you already love animal prints, you’re a member of the same club I belong to, and you clearly understand the appeal. But if you’re on the fence, or rather, nestled somewhere up high on a tree branch debating whether to pounce on them or not, hang with me as we delve into the psychology and history of animal prints in fashion.

null

I wanted to understand more about why designers return over and over to animal print, so I did a little reading on the subject and what I learned was very interesting. Just the sight of a distinctive print from the skin or fur of a wild animal that has the ability to overpower us can give us a rush of energy. It’s a prehistoric instinct that is hardwired into our brains from our cavemen ancestors who competed with animals for survival thousands of years ago. That subconscious feeling of stimulation translates into us feeling more assertive and attractive to ourselves, and nothing is sexier than self-confidence. When we feel more attractive, we are more in control of our environment, so the overall experience of wearing an animal print is a positive one that rewards us with a sense of fearlessness and strength.

null

I have a vivid memory of the first time I wore a bold animal print that validates this. I was in college and had been asked out by an exciting man I’d recently met. He wanted to take me to a really nice restaurant and I obviously wanted to look my best that night, so the day before our date I went shopping for something new to wear. I saw a cute leopard print dress in a store at the local mall and felt drawn to it. I let my instincts be my guide and bought it. Back then I was fairly conservative in my wardrobe and I was a bit intimidated by wearing something so bold, but for a reason I didn’t quite understand at the time, I felt driven to buy it. Of course, I wanted to look attractive to my date when we went out and I did feel sexy in the dress when I tried it on, but I don’t think that’s the primary reason I chose that particular dress. Now that I’ve learned more about animal prints and why they are so compelling, I believe I picked that dress to wear because I was looking for something to lift my spirits. I remember I wasn’t feeling my best during that time due to my hectic class schedule and other typical challenges young women face in their late teens, and I was definitely in need of a confidence boost. When I looked in the mirror after slipping on that pretty leopard print dress in the dressing room, I felt amazing. It really did make me feel more attractive to myself and upped my self-esteem. It absolutely worked wonders for me and I had one of the most memorable first dates of my life.

null

It’s no accident that the history of animal prints in American fashion coincides with the feminist movement. In the 1960’s women were looking for new ways to show a more exciting and independent look. Icons like the incomparable Audrey Hepburn brought the look to the silver screen. Women flocked to the new fashion and although its popularity has waxed and waned over the years, it’s never really gone out of style. Today you can combine it with other contemporary trends for an ultra-modern look or use it to spice up your favorite retro outfits.

null

It’s not just the cool and confident style I love and feel when wearing animal prints. I have always loved and respected animals, so much so that I became a vegetarian many years ago. Thankfully, there are lots of great options available for those of us concerned with ethical fashion. I chose a wide variety of animal prints for my boot line, but we always use faux leather, man-made prints, and faux furs when making our products because we are very passionate about not contributing to the suffering of the magnificent creatures that share the earth with us.

null

For me, wearing an animal print is a personal expression of my love and respect for them. It’s a celebratory tribute to their majestic and important existence which I value beyond words. And when I combine the great feeling that gives me with the empowerment I get from wearing the print of an animal that represents the unmatchable strength and beauty it was blessed with by Mother Nature, it’s a no-brainer. Animal prints will be hanging in my closet and from my body for many years to come, regardless of whether or not they are considered hip for one season. I say “yay" for man-made animal prints and “yay" for God’s beautiful creatures that have inspired us to be like them.