leopard print dress, vintage. three buckle belt, Forever 21. black men's vest, brother's. shit-kicker boots, ebay.
Photography by Jeremy Zerbe
Apparently I'm stuck in a styling mindset that forces me to exude 90's era Riot Grrrl grunge type looks. It's probably the boots; or 'leopard print as power' mentality as opposed to 'leopard print as sex.' My penchant for this pattern is not derived from any particular love for the cat either. No, I think I'm more of a lion type girl, my leopard love is culturally derived.
The very idea of taking something that is essentially a sex symbol and turning it into the everyday is not only fun, but like I said, empowering. It's my own personal nod to Olympia, Washington in the 90's; Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, Bratmobile, Le Tigre, Peaches, Heavens to Betsy, Victoria LeGrand, Cyndi Lauper, PJ Harvey, Marisa Meltzer...ok ok I'm just name dropping at this point. I'm also recognizing the fact that without the revolutionary movement that prompted L7's guitarist Donita Sparks to throw her menses soaked tampon at hecklers, the one that gave us Excuse 17's "Such Friends are Dangerous," the one that made Courtney Love something more than Curt Cobain's crazy girlfriend, I probably wouldn't like leopard print so much. I might never wear it. Hate it in fact. Avoid it for fear of feeling like I'm wearing lingerie in public, being oversexed, over glammed, over divasized.
While leopard is one of those fashion elements that is always, somehow, a trendy thing to wear, a wearer needs to proceed with caution. Not simply because it's loud, nubile, and not flattering in every way shape and form, but because it is essentially a product of feminism. It has been reversioned into a symbol of clout. So don't go claiming you're not a feminist while wearing some leopard print panties beneath your layers of "good girl" clothes. Don't fear the word feminism because it's got some lesbian like overtones. Those aren't real. They were manufactured by people who aren't good at thinking. Feminism means agency for anyone who has a vagina, and sometimes I just like to substantiate that agency in the form of a little leopard print dress.
Stepping down from my soapbox now and I kinda feel like I need to watch some football, go see The Expendables, drink some beer, fart and belch. Excuse me while I use my agency to do the aforementioned.