Trend Report: Printed Pants

I’ve been on the fence about this trend for a while. Sometimes it looks cute, but most of the time it reminds me of my 5th grade teacher who wore the printed stretchy pants with the foot stirrups. How do you feel about this trend?

Here is a post about printed pants and all of their glory from

We’ve seen prints galore this season so far, but while tie-dye tops and techno-tribal dresses stepped into the spotlight first, the graphic trend is far from being over. Au contraire, dear readers, it’s still revving up thanks to the styling choices of ladies like Rihanna and Whitney Port who are working these lively patterns into their wardrobes through eye-popping print pants. So forget about your standard solid-colored harems and wide-leg slacks—it’s time to embrace trousers with energetic stripes, zippy zigzags, and animal prints instead! Frankly, we’re a bit obsessed with these fabulously fresh pants, so if you’re feeling a little quirky and bold too, check out today’s Trend Report for all the need-to-know facts and must-have buys.

To get you further acquainted with this playful trend, it’s always best to start with the runways; they are the original source of inspiration, after all! At the spring shows in Paris, Dries Van Noten showed an eclectic mix-n-match of ethnic prints—don’t miss our Inspired By story on the collection—while the look at Balenciaga was all about street-chic, futuristic graphics on skinny jeans. Just across the border in Milan, Roberto Cavalli’s combination of feminine and masculine silhouettes included silky print pants with buttoned-up blouses, while Etro took us back to the seventies with high-waisted pants covered in paisley prints paired with gypsy blouses and bandeau tops.

While the designer iterations are always interesting, seeing how our favorite trendsetters work these notable pant options into their daily rotation is just as intriguing. Starting off with a more subtle interpretation, Whitney Port was sighted shopping in Soho back in May wearing a slim-stripe Sass & Bide Words of Wisdom Pant ($200) that is unfortunately sold out, styled with an Alexander Wang tee and Bloch flats. Although a little more daring than Port’s pick, Rihanna also opted for black-and-white print pants for her arrival at the Barbados airport. Since her high-contrast zigzag trousers (similar to the prints seen on the Givenchy S/S 10 runway) are so bold, Rihanna kept the rest of her look relatively simple with a black t-shirt, Balenciaga sandals from the Resort 11 collection, and a perforated white Prada Saffiano Leather Bag ($1695, select Neiman Marcus stores).

Even though Port and Rihanna wore their print pants in casual ways, these must-try trousers can also work for dressier situations, as Margherita Missoni and Fearne Cotton demonstrate. Regarding the latter, the British presenter was photographed outside of BBC Radio in London two months ago wearing a pair of H&M Leopard Harem Pants, which were part of the company’s Fashion Against AIDS Collection, with a graphite moto jacket (also from H&M’s FAA line) and black lace-up booties. While Cotton opted for a layered ensemble, print pants can also lend themselves to a sexier summer outfit as Margherita Missoni demonstrated at an event at the Il Pellicano hotel in Italy last month. The fashion heiress revealed some skin with her neutral Missoni cropped tank, which she paired with vintage Missoni silk trousers and Laura Urbinati sandals.

We’ve shown you how the runways styled these printed bottoms, and then discussed how some of fashion’s finest addressed the lively trousers, so now it’s time for us to offer up a plethora of options to incorporate into your own wardrobe this season, and trust us when we say, our selection will surely delight! If you’re looking for a sober color palate per Rihanna and Port, we particularly like Liquorish’s Tribal Pants ($144) and Sparkle and Fade’s Lighting Pants ($38); they’re both super stylish without being over the top. Want something a little more eclectic to match your mood? Topshop has many stylish options available including the Ikat Print Jersey Hareems ($55), Premium Digital Floral Hareems ($110), and Striped Woven Hareems ($80). If you’re unsure about what to pair with your new pants, we suggest you take cues from Missoni and Port, and pick up American Apparel’s Loose Crop Tank ($22) or a relaxed t-shirt like RVCA’s Loudmouth Deep Scoop Neck Pocket Tee ($30) in Vintage White. Finally, though this trend and our celebrity examples tend to focus on print harem pants, you can certainly try this look with slouchy trousers or cigarette pants—it’s completely up to you!—Jessica Baker

Photos of Rihanna and Whitney Port, courtesy of Splash; Photos of Fearne Cotton and Margherita Missoni, courtesy of Getty


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