Haute Topic: Rocking The Cow Print Trend Without Looking Like You’re In A Costume

This year’s Met Gala theme embraced all things kitsch and campy, so it comes as no surprise that the rest of the modern fashion world went and followed suit.

When the 1960s boho movement brought earth and nature into the style scene, it paved the way for years worth of cheetah spots and zebra stripes making an appearance on every silk skirt, cami top, cowl neck, and slip dress around the corner today. Over the years, these overtly elaborate designs faded into the background as more costume-appropriate than casual-wear while the new era of minimalism and neutral schemes dominated the market.

But just as most things go in the world of fashion, the scales have once again tipped in favor for a style once shunned.

Today, the animal-print trend is back and moving at full force thanks to its revival during the Autumn/Winter 2018 Ralph Lauren runway. You’ve seen it everywhere— from faux snakeskin tube tops to leopard maxi skirts, one look inside your local fast fashion chain and you’d be surprised just how hard it would be to not find one of these. But of all the rotating patterns, I’ve found that the biggest hit or miss among designers has got to be the cow print. Shape the splotches a little too round and you risk looking like Woody from Toy Story, but make it look too abstract, you may completely deviate away from the print.

So how do you do it? How do you go from looking like a cheesy imitation of a cowgirl on Halloween to the creme de la creme of the fashion world?

Read on to see how these style savvy gals on the ‘gram did just that.

I’m going to start this list off with what, in my opinion, is the absolute easiest way to ensure you don this trend without looking like your local rodeo enthusiast: brown splotches. Although most caricatures of the print are based of the black and white colouration of the most famous cattle breed, Holstein-Friesian, designs that are patterned after the brown breeds, Jerseys and Guernseys, tend to have a more subdued and high-fashion appeal.

Just like Lauren, when you take that print and place it on a top as sultry as this boned corset, not only do you elevate it from “wear me on a vest in your next costume party”, you’re also able to mix style eras (Victorian and Bohemian, to be exact) in a way thats tasteful and modern.

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Good things come in small sizes, but even better things come in tinier sizes. If you follow me on Instagram (shameless self promo: @frances.beltran), then you’ve probably seen me babble on and on about my obsession with all things mini. There are just some pieces that are best pulled off when shrunken, and this print is no exception. The conspicuous nature of this design makes it hard to wear in a grand size, since it could easily go from a quirky accent to a gaudy spotted display. If you’re opting to wear a version of the design wherein the splotches are clustered together, confine all that visual movement into a small scale by choosing one area for the eyes to focus on.

Lauren matches a fully neutral toned ensemble with her tiny cow print saddle bag by designating the volume (loudness of the print itself and the slanting orientation) of the pattern to her purse and her purse alone, making the overall look clean and easy on the eyes.

When I started reading “The Little Dictionary of Fashion” by Christian Dior, I was surprised to discover that he felt mixing colors was a feat reserved for experts. I never really saw how true that statement was until I came across this trend. You’d think that putting a full cow print outfit would be easy, but because of the different ways one designer may interpret the pattern from another, it can come off extremely uncoordinated. On the other hand, using an identical print all throughout the look may make it tackier.

In that case, the best way to go full cattle mode is to play around with spacing and colors. Here we see Marie donning the cow print in blue and white on her smocked puff sleeve dress. The splotches are large and widely spaced out from one another, which makes a great contrast for her tiny black and white cow print clutch with smaller and crowded splotches.

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Remember what I said about keeping things tiny? If you’re a seasonal person and like sporting trends only for the time of its reign, you might not be too keen on investing on a whole cattle patterned piece. Or, if you’re genuinely interested in making cow print a staple in your wardrobe but don’t know where to start, here’s a good idea: a phone case!

Never underestimate how much a good case can affect your outfit. Without you even noticing, your phone has become an accessory to your look. You hold it 24/7, and you sometimes even hold it up for mirror selfies— once its visible, its officially part of the fit, so always make sure that your case coordinates with everything else. Anna went for an off-white linen ensemble paired with an emerald green sweater. On it’s own, the outfit is elegantly plain. Add a cow print case to the mix, the look is instantly transformed to an interest combination of earthy tones galore.

What was your favorite way to sport the cow print trend?

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