7 Curious Things That Should Be Novelty Prints


It’s now been a year since I bought my first novelty print dress (as an adult). I saw my beloved shark dress on Poshmark and couldn’t believe my luck–in a world of solids, polka-dots and stripes, had someone actually designed a quirky marine biology dress in a non-kid’s size?

Ever since, I’ve plunged fully into the world of whimsical clothing. Hey, if it’s affordable and boosts my mood and self-confidence every time I wear it, why not? I’ve managed to expand my collection to include dresses featuring dinosaurs, seahorses, mermaids, and rocketships, but as a historian and natural history nerd, I have a few ideas for some extra-strange novelty prints that I’d like to see some day…

1. The Greenland Shark

A normal shark print is good enough on its own, but why not take that to the next level by paying tribute to the world’s longest-living vertebrate? I bet a cute border of tiny Greenland shark designs would look good on a deep teal circle skirt.

2. Ocean sunfish

I make no secret of my love for sunfish, or Mola mola. Sure, they look like 50% of a fish, but in an adorable way. I think tiny mola silhouettes tessellated together would create a beautifully bizarre alternative to a houndstooth-style dress.

3. The Voynitch Manuscript

Fabric with handwriting/script prints is fairly commonplace. You know I won’t settle for anything less than a dress covered in selections from an undeciphered early modern codex written in a mysterious writing system.

4. Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty

Because I’m quite sure that no one will make a skirt that celebrates my favorite Earthwork, I’ll just go on pretending that every spiral print I see is a Robert Smithson reference.

5. Literally any bioluminescent deep-sea creature

Bonus points if the dress glows in the dark!

6. The Loch Ness Monster

I’m not exactly a pro-Nessie believer, but I would love to have sweet plesiosaurs interlocking on a green dress with a Peter Pan collar.

7. Tiktaalik, of course!

My beloved fishapod! As usual, if anyone can find a tiktaalik-print dress for me anywhere in the world, you’d have my eternal gratitude.

So–anyone want to start a fashion line?


  1. I’d happily hand stitch clothes, but I don’t think that would be very cost effective. I wish I knew how to tame a sewing machine properly. Whenever I try all the thread clumps up and threatens to eat my fabric :S

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