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When A Look I’d Never Thought I’d Try Turns Out to Be a “Wait…I’m Into This”: A Trend Exploration

If there were one word/animal that I would historically not associate with myself, Emily Henderson, it would be “snakeskin.” I barely wear the more conservative animal prints like leopard and cheetah, so how did I jump from human to python so fast? Let’s explore. In this post, you’ll also get to witness current “influencer modeling” tips, which I like to call “touching the top of my hair as if I’m fixing it” followed by the even-more-popular stance we call “looking at my phone as if I’m reading a text.”

Let’s first discuss why I have historically not been attracted to animal prints. There is something about it that to me feels like is TRYING to be sexy, which is not my style and if you aren’t careful, it can look cheesy. For me, I need it to be more casual, more thrown together. Less leopard print body-con dress, more “I wear boots that happen to be made from pythons, but I barely noticed.” You gotta just throw them on, make sure that it feels effortless, either dress it down or lean into its weirdness. I think. I have no idea, this is literally the first time I’ve ever even liked an animal print.

Why now?

Here’s what happened: I saw it mixed with crazy patterns, colors and ruffles and somehow LOVED the insanity of the look.

Ulla Johnson Trend
images via Ulla Johnson: Left | Right
image via Refinery 29
image source: LeftRight

Not sure I’d pair it with an orange fur coat but I love it with those jeans and especially the plaid pants. So I borrowed these boots (below) and tried it…

Snakeskin Lores 2

Shop the Look: Sweater (similar) | Skirt (similar) | Boots | Bag | Necklace (similar)

I spent 2 minutes putting together this outift (that I already had) and we decided that leaning into the color was fun. I think it could definitely be dressed down, even with a T-shirt with that skirt, or long denim skirt and a boxy sweatshirt. Or go full ruffle, with lots of layered necklaces and messy hair.

Am I trying to prove that snakeskin is a neutral?? I think so. 

Snakeskin Lores 1

I know that I could have mixed it with a white prairie dress easily, or cropped denim FOR SURE. I think these boots are really versatile despite being “loud” and possibly “out there.”

But can one such as me pull off this reptilian trend? Does snakeskin exist in the “Uptown Prairie” look? Are there snakes on my prairie? Brian said absolutely not, but like most things that people have strong assertions about, I like to challenge this thinking. It may be too edgy for me, too severe, too extreme but when mixed with crazy fun patterns, colors and ruffles or dressing it WAY down, I’m actually pretty into it.

Those boots are nutty and likely not what most people would splurge on, so instead we found a pair that I actually would buy and love. These guys:

Snakeskin Lores 6

Shop the Look: Sweatshirt | Jeans | Boots | Bag | Necklace (similar)

This is my “running errands whilst casually wearing a snakeskin boot” look. I like it. Paired with my favorite ripped boyfriend jeans (that are on a huge sale by the way) and an affordable sweatshirt, it’s something I would wear in real life.


Snakeskin Lores 8

I liked these boots a lot and decided to keep them. Brian even approved and said “well, if you wear it like that, sure.” I especially love the length (they hit a few inches above the ankle) so they elongate my legs and pair really well with jeans.

I don’t think I am over exploring this trend yet, so I wanted to round up some more snakeskin boots that I am considering (and for you is this is something you are into).


1. Sadie Boot | 2. Armon Western Boots | 3. Vegan Going West Boots | 4. Yale Chelsea Boot | 5.Snake Marietta Heel Boot | 6. Snake Cowboy Ankle Boots | 7. Cormac Snake Knee High Boots | 8. Bel Bootie | 9. Clara Snake Knee High Boot | 10. The Regan Boot | 11. Knee High Boots in Snake | 12. Reed Heeled Ankle Boots | 13. Mike Snake Embossed Mid-Boot | 14. Elle Snakeskin Ankle Boot | 15. Caty Western Pointy Toe Bootie

Would you/could you get on board? Or are you already there, steering the ship? How do you style it??? Comment below, my reptilian loving friends …  xx

***photography by Veronica Crawford

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4 years ago


4 years ago

I finally came around to leopard print this Spring, and have a couple long dresses with the print that I really love. Snakeskin is out of my comfort zone, though! Maybe paired with very neutral outfits, I could imagine it. But I don’t think I’d go beyond leopard print for this type of look.

4 years ago

The ones you’re wearing with jeans look terrific. I’m not so crazy about the kneehigh version.

Maybe I just need to try on a pair but I have a weird thing about wearing animal prints — any animal prints whether it be leopard or snakeskin or whatever. They just feel too … flashy for me. But those ones you’re wearing with jeans look great!

4 years ago

This brings back some old memories. I loved snakeskin pumps and croc purse accessories back in the late 70s when I could afford the real thing. I don’t want to revisit it, but it’s your turn now and the ankle boots look great (the knee-his remind me of a harlequin print rather than snake). Along with the email I just got from Who What Wear about Victorian lace–up boots, your post has inspired me to try ankle boots for the very first time.

Susie Q.
4 years ago

When I saw this post, I thought, “Right, snakeskin IS a big trend, I knew that!” And felt v proud of myself bc I usually have no idea what’s trendy. On you, hmm. I don’t think the tall boots are working. Those boots are wearing you instead of your wearing them. The shorter boots are def better. I have seen several bags that have different colors of snakeskin, like red, green, and brown–I’m tempted to get a bag like that.

4 years ago

I love your fashion posts intensely!
Ordered the Nordstrom rack onces to try…but I may spurge, later. Ulla can do no wrong.
Also got the hm sweatshirt! Fun!

4 years ago

Love this!
Miss the collaborations with your mom friend, with the pug. It was the combo of pieces on those posts that was so next level!

4 years ago

My opinion changed from the first picture to the last. I started with “Oh God NO” and ended up with, “those look cute with jeans.”
Final thought is that this is a fun post. Life is more fun if I stay light hearted about fashion.

4 years ago

This is me, jumping off the snakeskin ship and swimming wildly for shore.

No. No, no, no, no.

4 years ago

Idk – would there be an age limit?
The jeans version is cute – when the boots are minimized as much as possible…
OK with just a speck of python visible maybe ?

4 years ago

I’m ALL about the animals this Season, snake, leopard…you name it. Also, I have SO much camouflage it’s getting hard to find my clothes in my closet ? Bottom line, my obsession with all things Anthro over the years has finally talked me gently out of the solids corner, through the hallway of stripes, and into the bright light of PRINTS. It’s liberating actually. I’m currently packing for Paris and I’m so proud of the diversity in my suitcase…at 47, I finally feel like my wardrobe reflects the real ME (fun, bright, layered and unexpected) and that maybe I’m finally a grown up? I said maybe… ??‍♀️

4 years ago

Oh, wow….. I did not realize snakeskin was SUCH a controversial trend. I had accepted it as an interesting neutral for those of us who don’t wear bright colors – the sartorial equivalent of a nice textured neutral wall hanging in a beige and white room.

I just bought the #13 boots a few days ago to wear on my upcoming Paris trip… now I’m second-guessing myself. Should I go with basic black instead??

4 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Totally agreed

4 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

no to the black! Wear what you want! I have always had animal prints in rotation and I love the snakeskin+plaid combo. Life is short, clothes should be fun and expressive. If it’s not someone’s cup of kombucha, so be it! I just ordered the knee high after reading this. Solves my “what to wear with all these cropped pants in winter” problem.

Boots like these are my way to survive MN winters when I’m so tired of wearing sweaters and jeans and need to wake it up.

4 years ago

OMG YESSSSSS I love that your prairie is starting to turn a little cowgirl. Python, especially with the pointed toe, can (cough, in that fashion logic way) evoke ranching, Like ‘ hey, I shot up some rattlers that were harassing the cattle and made some boots as a warning to others” kind of way. Animal prints are really the only patterns I consistently love. Partly because they DO dial up absolutely anything you wear. Once you start down this path though you will form opinions. I have an entire Pinterest board just for leopard, my favorite. The “right” leopard or cheetah for me is a precise brown and more closely mimics the real thing – designers play a lot with the shapes and color palettes to make animal prints seem new and fresh. Fun if you are young but not for investment pieces imo. I find python eye catching and exciting, but that high boot plays a little too green/yellow to avoid seeming trendy and overall its a LOT of LEWK and may require you to be in a LOOK AT MY BOOTS mood. They do make my heart race tho. The ones you kept are still special but understated… Read more »

4 years ago

I can’t pull off snakeskin, but you make it look good!

Lauren P
4 years ago

I am weirdly having the same realization, after buying some on sale snakeskin sunglasses! I have historically thought of snakeskin as basically gross and never wear any animal print. Leopard feels basic in a way that’s stuffier than my own Beach Prarie version of basic, lol. But snakeskin somehow now seems refreshing and interesting and more like a neutral. I feel it.

Roberta Davis
4 years ago

I don’t hate it. But it probably won’t be a thing next year! To me, it looks like the paisley of animal prints! (I’m at the age where I wear things for a minimum of 10 years, evidently!)

4 years ago

Well, hmmm. Not sure I’m into this look but it does look great with your ripped jeans and sweatshirt. I’m not so crazy about them with your coral sweater and blue skirt. It seems like these boots need to be worn with something boho or uber-stylish. I didn’t think they worked well with your prairie look.

4 years ago

No, no, no. – a thousand times NO !!

4 years ago

I don’t like it but that’s only because I’m not fashion forward enough. The trend setters make things look good and then once things become ubiquitous enough for normal people, we get used to them and latch on. So give me 1.5 years and I’m sure I’ll love it!

4 years ago

Or… You could also scoop up a small accessory like snakeskin cuff that is a more subtle nod to the trend and be supporting an independent woman owned business! *wink wink*

Samantha S
4 years ago

Love the look with your jeans, but the first pair featured (with your blue skirt and red sweater) are way too yellow for my liking.

4 years ago

I’m into it! Provided it’s not thrown away after a year, as undoubtably this trend can’t last for an influencer (donate or re-sell!), and not real snake.

4 years ago

A little bit of snakeskin goes a long way…boots are too much for me, maybe flats in a more subtle pattern would be okay.

Joan Renee Stark
4 years ago

In Los Angeles where it is still summer with 85-95 F temperatures? Yes even though it is September 21. I will be wearing shorts and sandals still for another month at least.

4 years ago

Looks great with the jeans…. not crazy about the others.

4 years ago

Exactly what I had in mind

4 years ago

No, no, no. Not ever!

4 years ago

I bought a pair of adorable snakeskin booties from Target last year and barely wore them. I was on maternity leave, so barely made it out of sweats and UGGs. You’re inspiring me to give them a serious go this fall/winter. Looks great with the straight leg jean, which I don’t think I would have considered.

4 years ago

No animal print. Too busy.

4 years ago

Love snakeskin. The second outfit is darling on you! Also, the bowl that holds the magazines is fab? Is it vintage?

4 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Also came here to ask about the magazine bowl. The snakeskin is a hard pass from me but that bowl is a win!

Tina Schrader
4 years ago

I’ve never been into animal print, reptilian or otherwise. But you look great! I like the “Way cool but not too cool for casual” look. 🙂

Peden sager
4 years ago

Ok I bought snakeskin booties from Express three days ago! I guess we’re both in tune with the zeitgeist. 🙂

4 years ago

You say python boots, I think “cobra snake neckties, rattlesnake hide, and snakeskin shoes” courtesy of Bo Diddley’s classic “Who Do You Love?” I walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire, I got a cobra snake for a necktie A brand new house on the road side, and it’s a-made out of rattlesnake hide Got a band new chimney put on top, and it’s a-made out of human skull Come on take a little walk with me baby, and tell me who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love?…. I’ve got a tombstone hand and a graveyard mind, I’m just twenty-two and I don’t mind dying Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Now Arlene took a-me by my hand, she said “Lonesome George you don’t understand, who do you love?” The night were dark and the sky were blue, down the alleyway a house wagon flew Hit a bump and somebody screamed, you should’ve heard what I’d seen Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Who do you love? Yeah, I’ve got a tombstone hand in a graveyard mine, just twenty-two baby I don’t mind dying… Read more »

4 years ago

oh no… this is not good ? but to each their own. If everyone liked the same thins the world would be boring

4 years ago

I am loving the knee high version!!!! I already own a couple of short cowboy boot style. Just ordered the ASOS for $80. they were on sale plus a discount for a first time order!!!!

4 years ago

Absolutely not. For the same reason I do not wear fur, I do not endorse wearing python (or crocodile, etc.). It is extremely unethical. Please google “where does snakeskin come from.” Essentially, they are skinned alive. Chanel has also banned the use of exotic skins in its products due to difficulty with ethical sourcing. Please don’t go in this direction.

4 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Kat – This is exactly what I was thinking.

Emily, have you looked into this? I know you are an animal lover & support ethically sourced materials in many of your other posts. This is worthwhile looking into if you haven’t already. I imagine Kat & I are not the only readers who would appreciate an update from you after your review of the ethics behind these materials. Maybe you no longer support it? Maybe you do? I’m curious of your thoughts. Thank you.

4 years ago
Reply to  Kat

Pretty sure that none of these, even the more expensive ones, are actually made of snake skin. They’re printed leather. Leather can also be seen as unethical depending on your ethics, but I think you were calling attention to products made out of actual snake skin and these are not.

4 years ago
Reply to  melbajo

Yes, leather (and meat-eating, generally) can also be unethical, indeed. But reptile and exotic skins are particularly problematic given that some of these animals should be protected and the cruel ways in which they are captured and killed. I also don’t think it’s clear that these boots are all printed leather. In any case, even if they are, boosting the trendiness of a snakeskin look or trend only encourages more consumption of the real thing.

4 years ago

I LOVE both looks!! The Ulla Johnson boots are stunning with the skirt and sweater. It’s a nice departure from your usual looks (which are also gorgeous), but it still feels like you. Your fashion posts bring me joy!