Give Me Prints, But Only if They’re Old

Has it ever been cooler to look passé?


Two winters ago, I finally got my digital paws on The Stella McCartney Fruit Skirt — slits, pleats, citrus prints and all — after fortuitously stumbling upon it on I waited the full 3-5 business days for it to arrive and when it did, I loved it more than I had when it first came out. Not because it was steeply discounted — though that was certainly a variable that aided my no-brainer attitude toward proprietorship — but simply because I liked that it felt new and exciting a full season and change after it had already flourished on its runway, then in enumerable editorials, and then finally, in season, in stores and, yes, full price.

Though it had always felt cool (perhaps simply by virtue of being Stella McCartney), the skirt felt cool in a different way now. Completely devoid of the perils tethered to being “on trend” (I will never look at tigers or Bambi on sweatshirts the same way again), it marked a very pure fondness that was divorced from any other modifying implications for the print.

I felt great about having it A.C.E. — after common era, the same way I would have had I been able to find Dolce and Gabbana’s eggplants after they’d seen every marginal red carpet in this town. To me, it seemed, these prints became like a fine red wine that only bettered with age.

The thing about wine, though, is that once you drink it, it’s gone. With my clothes – and their poignant prints, the memories live on in a very real, very tangible way.

Take for example, the first time I wore my skirt. It was at a wedding in Mexico, where the prescribed dress code was “black tie” and therefore a relatively casual (as categorized on Yoox), white-based skirt had no place. And though I knew several Rabbis would be in attendance, not even that could stop me from debuting the skirt with slits so high, it’s a true achievement that my thighs did not develop nosebleeds. I was eager and therefore didn’t care but karma made sure I’d pay for the blatant disrespect and just 45 minutes into the procession, an entire carafe of red wine fell out of its glass and into my lap.

I know, I know, so meta.

Ultimately, the skirt made it, but that night was rough.

Though wearing a print fresh from the hand of its graphic designer while in season certainly lends itself to a memory you can revisit every time you open your closet, waiting to own it allows you to tie another element to that process of recalled sentimentality. When Amelia sees the bananas indicative of Prada’s spring 2011 collection, she is throttled back to her internship at Condé Nast. She never made the print — and therefore the physical memory — her own, but when I see Stella McCartney’s fruit, before I can remember the score that made a quotidian afternoon far more spectacular, or the wedding I never should have worn it to, I’m 20 years old again and laying in bed.

My computer is on my stomach and I’m at my parents’ apartment where I still live. I’m clicking through Ms. McCartney’s spring slideshow on my fashion week portal: Law and Order: SVU is on in the background but I don’t really hear it because all I can think about is whether I’ll ever be able to participate in a trend so cool. I walk to my tiny closet to see if there is anything in there that could be rendered even remotely similar and there I stand, neglecting a legion of past memories, anticipating an acidic future.

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  • Alex Poirier

    My girlfriend and I were discussing last night how quickly things go from being “ugh, that’s so last season” (said with and air of disgust) to bringing back a feeling of nostalgia possibly even only months after being disgusted by the same piece.

    I feel being bold (in this case printed) pieces is key though. I can’t ever imagine thinking either of the above thoughts about something simple. It’s more likely to happen to those pieces that punch you in the face with awesomeness when you first see them. They get over-saturated so quickly, forgotten, and then cool again! Is wearing it two seasons later more for the sake of irony though or because you genuinely love it again?

  • Definitely not for me!

    Mafalda ❤

  • Aurora

    I Miss Leandra the man repeller who took pictures on her balcony and wore weather appropriate clothing and made weird poses

    • Leandra Medine

      Noted! But don’t you also believe if I still lived at my parents house, three years later, and used their balcony to make the same weird poses everyday, you’d also kind of hate me?

      • Alba B.

        I don’t know, but You would be still Leandra we were used to …..

      • Lefukaka

        You’re the new Miley. Your readers can’t handle you growing up! Fear not, some of us are growing up with you.

      • grace

        I was actually looking at your old stuff yesterday, it was so raw, funny and would always lift me up from a bad day. That is not to say that i don’t love your current posts and style because i do, but it would be cool if you could put some more style mosts on like you used to. Maybe adapting them to suit your blog now but still with that light hearted attitude that come with the original posts.

        • Leandra Medine

          There are definitely still at least 3 style posts going up weekly! I realize that a lot of you want to see the lessons in layering come back so I will make a concentrated effort to start doing those every now and again going forward but I also just don’t want to put together any outfits that I don’t actually believe in – before anything, this blog is supposed to be authentic so I’m not sure it’s right for me dip into archives and reproduce products that I’m not wholly comfortable standing behind

          • My English was telling us the most interesting thing the other day. She was saying that whenever someone would write in her yearbook or a boyfriend would say “never change,” she said that she got wholly offended. She was like “why would anyone who truly cares for me want me to ‘never change’,?!”
            I think what she was trying to get at is that she strives to keep on evolving, to be a different, better person from where she was 5 years ago — even 5 minutes ago. And of course being an English teacher, much of that change comes from what she reads or writes.
            I think this applies in your case as well Leandra — and correct me if I am wrong — in that you are growing older, you’ve read more, you’ve written more, and you’ve experience more. Naturally, this blog is an extension of that. Of course you’re going to change styles or develop stronger viewpoints on issues. I personally am much more drawn to this blog in its current state because you push me to want to be the best I can be. Really. Just within the year I have really enjoyed reading the essays that you and the other wonderful writers on this blog publish, and it has only reaffirmed that I, too, want so desperately to write well and to devour more books, more essays, more words. Plus, sharing your trials and errors (be it through the conduit of an outfit or in a hilarious dating anecdote), you have humanized your process of growth and success.
            All I can say is that I am so proud to be a part of this club. I love it and you guys and the readers dearly….it’s actually a family of people who genuinely want to be their best selves.

          • I’d be scared of a person who doesn’t change. Even though it is not popular, we are actually supposed to evolve. And not just that, if I may add my age-appropriate philosophy: we can only observe other adult people evolving but not try to stop or re-direct it …

    • peter pan murderer

      sorry but this seems offensive from where i stand. her writing has gotten a lot better and the posts are interesting and clearly more thoughtful as opposed to just blurted out and not making that much sense. it’s called growing up and i have to agree that if she was still doing what she used to no one would probably even look at this blog anymore

  • Robin

    I genuinely cherish my old but lovely prints…especially a Prada hand painted fairy skirt…which is so utterly inappropriate it begs for my love!

  • The Fashion Panda
  • CDJ

    So perhaps scent isn’t the strongest link to memory… it’s printed clothing one cannot afford right away on a college budget.

  • This is exactly why I have several saved ebay searches, including the Stella fruit print you snagged (sooo jelly)! I actually found a D&G Fruit Print bathing suit top (circa 90’s a la Miranda Hobbes) in Paris and I rock that ish every summer! Love Yoox too for this very reason.

  • danamite

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. Even down to the fact that my long coveted item was a stella print!! My dress is a Stella McCartney Sailboat Dress…. I only wear it once a year but it’s the best feeling in the world. And when I look at it in my closet I’m still to this ay so happy to see it! My chase had gone on for a long time and one night in a grad school classroom the dress finally came up in my size on ebay. It turned a boring 3 hour night class after a full day of work into the best day ever.

  • I love prints! Especially vintage! I found an ugly long skirt at a thrift store, but it had a great vintage floral print. I turned it into a dress and took it in Vacay!

  • mirae

    I don’t think anything really goes “out of fashion.” When you take an item that lost its “trendiness” out of the closet for many years of hiding, it gives a new aura on top of the already imposed experience you’ve had with the item. Even if you have never owned the item thus new and not having shared a special “personal” memory, it still brings a fresh new aesthetic. That’s why I love going through my mom’s closet or second-hand shops or rummaging through past collection items online. I think it’s always refreshing to view past street trends again and jump into few seasons later.

    Now due to this post, I think it’s time to indulge in some Spring 2011 clashing pattern phenomenon!

  • alejandra

    who has a black tie wedding in Mexico? Wouldn’t one want their wedding to be casual beach chic, if it was in Mexico? LIKE A LINEN SHIRT WITH SAID SKIRT AND GLADIATOR SANDALS?

    • Leandra Medine


  • Guest

    This reminds me of Marc Jacobs hot pink and black rose print skirt that I wanted oh so badly when I was sixteen. I would totally buy it now if I could find it for the nostalgia even though anything else hot pink and black makes me cringe. That damn skirt was in every single one of my “fashion collages” hahaha

  • dupras

    This reminds me of Marc Jacobs hot pink and black rose print skirt that I wanted oh so badly when I was sixteen. I would totally buy it now if I could find it for the nostalgia even though anything else hot pink and black makes me cringe. That damn skirt was in every single one of my “fashion collages” hahaha

  • emilyannestyle

    So, now I’m dying to know– which one is it? Is it in the photos above?

    Also, the comment you made about being 20 and wanting so badly to have clothes that really feel like “you.” College was a long winded “it’s on sale so I’ll just get this” point of my style construction. It’s not until now, in my mid-20s, that I can identify with pieces, not prices. (Not that I can afford them all!)

    Ah, life.


  • kate

    this makes me miss S/S and all of its printed glory so much :'(

  • sarah

    finding it hard to get my head around this. I’ve seen this SO much I feel really over it. old or new. its like big shoulder pads coming back just after we decided we hated them. (oops showing my age here) i feel there are way cooler directions to be heading in than revisiting this editor mashup.

  • Valentina Anzola

    writing here just to let you know you have a fan from colombia. if they say “black tie” haz lo contrario… nothing more to say… eres la mas bacana

  • Blackenedblog

    In love with print on print.

  • coffeetoo

    does anyone else remember the lipstick skirt? I think it was Prada but that could be wrong. I want to say it came out in the early naughts but I can’t remember that either. All I know is, in my life, I hope to have it someday.

    Some prints are just classic – I think that’s why we’ll keep seeing the bananas, the florals, and the citrus.

  • Tracy

    Totally into this trend!

  • Rebecca

    I am inspired by Leandra every day. I stumbled into man repeller a couple of months ago…(I know, LATE to the game) and can’t go without my daily dose since. Each day informs me, makes me laugh, and forces me look at my wardrobe/shopping/style through fresh eyes. I try to take her style cues, fearless sense of fun, and youthful approach to fashion – then incorporate them into my 46-year-old, 3 boys, middle-of-nowhere country life. I do the lo to her high fashion, but I feel current and cooler. (No more thoughtless dressing, I’ve gotta look good picking up kids, and running to the grocery store…ha!)

    Leandra…you are my window to the style world. Keep changing & growing!!! P.S. LOVE your “Failed Attempt?” manstagram. Khakis are sleek and stylish in your hands. Jenna -only more sophisticated.

  • Marta Pozzan

    The The Stella McCartney Fruit Skirt definitely shakes my feelings

  • Still loving that PS surfer print from SS10! Great post!

  • Maria

    Great post!! You could not have put it in a better way…

  • I too find enjoyment in bringing back the once loved style or print. If you love it, it looks great, wear it, who gives a f*** right?

    Micah xx

  • Amelie

    I love old prints. They make everything seem so much more originale. Personally, I’m pretty sure I’d rather go for old prints than new prints.

    The Neon Guava

  • Gabriela Rivera

    I want anything with the “Miami” Versace print SO BAD! I really don’t know if it’s “in” or “out” and frankly my dear. Who cares?

    Enjoyed the reading.

  • Nicole

    To me it shouldn’t matter when the piece came out, if I love it then I will always love it and I will always wear it even if that means I am “so last season”. Clothes shouldn’t have a shelf-life.

  • Angelina

    It’s called power clashing & I love it.

  • Jessica Beresford

    Karen Walker’s pink and orange Perfect Day print was the best I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I am determined to get my hands on every garment it came in!

  • japespow

    Where does one procure the plastic chain link bracelets she is wearing in the cover/feature photo? In red/white and tortoise???

  • Frank Hanks

    Truly an arbitrage depicting always overwhelmed situation still negotiable.
    You can try Puma golf clothes here,

  • So many ridiculous prints and they’re all amazing. The Prada banana print gets me every time!

  • I am such a hoarder when it comes to the pieces in my closet. I swear I’ve stashed things for a few months and brought it back to life with the same excitement as the first time I ripped the tag off.

  • Very nice prints collection. 🙂