Fashion News by Salon Concrete located in Bell Works:

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By now it’s safe to safe to say leopard print is practically a neutral staple and not a trend. You will see it every season from a great number of the top fashion designers. It’s the new black. It can be paired easily with just about any color and as a result, can add beautiful texture to your look. Aside from maybe the leather jacket, what other fashion item will go from the Upper East Side to downtown dive bar?

In Western fashion, leopard skins became a sign of status in the 18th century, worn by wealthy European aristocrats.  At the turn of the 20th Century, with the rise of ready-to-wear, leopard became even a hotter commodity. But back then it was all real skins. The leopard print truly became a phenomenon when Christian Dior added leopard “printed” fabrics into his iconic “New Look” collection. It was at this point, the trend hit the American home.

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Whether you’re new to the leopard movement or not, we’ve highlighted a few a key pieces (all under $100) which would be easy to incorporate into your current wardrobe. If you are still not ready to scream in animal print, start with a something with less of a surface area (smaller and not on a major part of the body) like a bag or shoe. These slides from J. Crew ($88) are a great way to add a little sophistication to a simple outfit (such as jeans and a tank) or add some punch and coolness to a floral printed, maxi dress. If slides aren’t your thing either, a simple leopard envelope clutch is a great way to be part of the trend. This envelope from Free People ($85) is a great piece to take on any day trip or evening get together. It’s simple yet functional and will communicate you understand trends but aren’t screaming fashion victim.

If you are someone trendy and you want people to notice, H&M’s sister company, & Other Stories, has a great leopard print, wrap dress  ($99) which can take you anywhere from work to dinner; school to a party. This is a timeless piece in a classic silhouette which can be worn year long; well worth the investment.

While many feel leopard can be tacky, ala Peggy Bundy… this animal print has evolved from trendy to ubiquitous and now, a timeless classic, and remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune on trendy pieces to look great.