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Trends on Campus: Leopard Print in Different Dosages

By Ruby Gee     9/14/11 7:00pm

Leopard print is a tricky trend to rock. Though the  animal print undeniably holds a connotation of boldness and sexiness, it also can scream tacky-trophy-wife-who-is-trying-too-hard when worn incorrectly.  Martel College freshman Meredith McGrath (pictured to the right) has the right idea though.

When in doubt, wear this loud print in smaller amounts, through scarves and detailing on accessories. Notice how McGrath has nicely balanced out her outfit for Houston's  fall weather by topping off her white shorts with a sheer and light scarf.

Leopard print itself is a rather controversial classic; each year though, the fashion world seems to emphasize a new way to wear the spotty print. This season, this animal print has been reincarnated in the forms of faded leopard print denim, leopard printed detailing on accesories and long, flowy leopard print maxi dresses. Gone are the days of brightly colored leopard print tops and short babydoll dresses that mix leopard print with darkly colored lace.



According to Christian Blake of the science blog Quantum Biologist, the leopard print trend first gained traction in the US in the 1940s, when pin-up models started wearing the traditionally-masculine print as playful political statement on sexual empowerment. In the 1960s, hippies used this animal print to epitomize their adoption of the free love philosophy. At the same time, rock n' rollers started wearing animal print to express a sense of hypersexualized androgyny. Since then, leopard print has tumbled in and out of popularity with straight women and gay men in the Western fashion world, with its controversial historical connotations in tow.

At Rice, female students have been embracing this trend with considerably more enthusiasm than their male counterparts. Usually spotted in its customary brown shade, leopard print has been seen around campus in the guise of leopard printed flats and leopard print lined totes. As florals continue to be stowed away for the impending winter season, a prediction for this trend is that it will gain increasing visibility as students look for more ways to spice up their fall neutrals.  



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