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Vintage-Inspired Trends 2012: The Printed Pant

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If you've been paying attention to fashion this season, you've noticed that nary a collection went down the runway without a printed pant of some sort. From pretty florals to cartoon, to neat geometrics, printed pants are officially a Spring 2012 must-have. A great print trouser, however, is more than just a passing fancy. It is an exciting alternative to the blue jean, and if you're discerning and strategic about what sort of print you buy, it can become a wardrobe staple; a bonafide "go-to" piece for whenever you want to escape the doldrums of the standard solid bottom.

Scroll through our list of vintage jeans, shorts, and pants with prints for inspiration and ideas on one of 2012's major vintage-inspired fashion trends!

1. High Waisted Floral

Lulu Tresors/Etsy
When it comes to the printed pants trend, florals are the classics. They are feminine, and mostly very easy to match, depending on the color palette. Pastels are very popular this season, so hit two trends at once with these high-waisted skinnies from Lulu Tresors on Etsy. The cropped cut adds retro sophistication that is intensified when paired with a ladylike top and delicate sandals, or Audrey Hepburn flats.

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2. Black and Bright

Shred Thread/Etsy
Velvety black florals laid over a rich yellow base--these printed jeans from 1980's denim designer, Gino, somehow look more serious and sophisticated than they should! The swirls of the stencil give a bit of a trompe de l'oeil effect, making the flowers look like something else entirely from afar. An ideal floral for the more edgy fashionista. Be careful of making bold prints like this one come off costume-ish. Keep the complements classy: solid, and perhaps even silky, to heighten the touchable factor.

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3. By Southwest

Thrifted Runway/Etsy
Ethnic prints on a trouser do not typically make it off of the beach, but these lively Southwest print can is a bonafide city dweller. The sheer variety of colors in these trousers mean you can wear them with almost anything. Like with most prints, these are best as shown, with structured neutrals on top to create an attractive contrast with the harem cut. Harem does not have to go hippie!

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4. Printed Leggings

Nasty Gal
Printed tights definitely run the risk of looking too sexy. I personally love to downplay a a colorful pair of printed tights with a slouchy, achromatic sweater, or a simple long tee and fitted blazer ensemble. These Ikat print black and white tights from Nasty Gal are a perfectly exciting but understated alternative.

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5. Hawaiian Shorts

Recollect Vintage/Etsy
Recollect Vintage on Etsy always stocks clever takes on a trend! Who knew Hawaiian print could look so urbane. This "skort" (a skort looks like a skirt in the front, and shorts in the back) are so impossibly cool, I'd take them into the city with a shrunken white button down and metallic sandals or flats for warmer weather. This Hawaiian print skort is somehow understated enough to look classic.

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6. Red Leopard

Shop Freedom Vintage/Etsy
The red leopard is an animal specific to urban spaces. She's a huntress, for sure, dripping in color and pure animalistic appeal. This season, leopard is the print of choice when it comes to jeans. Most contemporary options you'll find are skinny, so vintage is a great place to look for on-trend pieces in cuts that may not be current. The flare leg and shiny material are pure 80's rock star glam.

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7. Contemporary Comfy Knits

Free People
As usual, we have to throw in a contemporary option. These printed flares from Free People are a great alternative to vintage, as they have a definite vintage feel, but color that can take your outfit casual chic or bohemian chic. These comfy prints are incredibly wearable, with a slouchy, threadbare cashmere, or a neat hip-length neutral tee for spring saturdays. On your feet, go for platform booties, or a great pair of sandals.

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8. 80's Designer Digs

Loca Poxie Vintage/Etsy
Really, the 80's are the decade of the printed pant. These jeans from haute couture designer Christian La Croix are what the printed pant trend are all about. Unlike the floral or the Ikat, this artsy design is quite different from anything you'll see in contemporary shops, which will recycle the same prints over and over. These jeans are unique like a painting; exactly the type of work-of-art piece that will be a wardrobe regular.

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9. Playful Print

Picasso Muse/Etsy
And the award for cutest print ever goes to these honey bee print flares from the 70's! The contrast of a sweet, silly print against a seriously classic cut really make these trousers. I think you can't get too outrageous with prints these days, especially with the crazy prints we've seen on the runway this Fall 2012 season. We saw Jeremy Scott, for instance, show some irreverently childlike prints, including Bart Simpson! It was a totally return to the 90s. Likewise, these prints represent retro to the fullest.

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10. Prince of the Print: Versace

Shop Les Vintage/Etsy
No one did sexy, sparkly skintight printed pants like Versace in the 1990's. There is little use for this type of loo trouser outside of a club situation in South Beach...in the 90's. But these are a true find! Still skskintight ut the two-toned snake print is super wearable, fun like a stencil, but could be casual Friday(depending on your job!) appropriate with soft button dwna dn a waist length blazer. Again, it is absolutely worth investing in a great pair of vintage designer printed pants. This trend continues to resurrect!

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