Zebra stripes, more than just a fashion trend

LogoIn August 2013, I was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer (NETS). In August of this year, I attended a cabi party and treated myself to a zebra print top from the Fall 2019 Uniquely Us Collection. Those might seem like two completely unrelated random facts, but they aren’t.


The zebra is the symbol of neuroendocrine cancer. Neuroendocrine tumours are difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are usually vague and similar to more common health problems. Many family doctors have never encountered a NETS patient. When presented with symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea, they naturally think of things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease or lactose intolerance. Flushing, especially in women of a certain age, makes them think menopause, not cancer. Medical students are taught “when hearing hoofbeats, think of horses, not zebras.” Neuroendocrine tumours are rare and therefore they are considered to be zebras.

Some NETS patients and advocates think the zebra symbol is foolish, that it trivializes the grave nature of our disease, and would like to see us stop using it. I disagree. I think we need to take advantage of every opportunity to draw attention to our cause and if that includes zebra stripes, I’m all for it!

Since my diagnosis, I’ve noticed zebra stripes everywhere! As I mentioned in last Friday’s post on trends for fall 2019, the zebra motif is particularly popular this season, but animal prints never go out of style and the zebra has been around for a long time. I’ve seen zebra t-shirts, zebra leggings, zebra jeans, zebra pjs, and zebra bras. I’ve also seen zebra handbags, zebra luggage, and even a zebra golf bag.

I remember trying on a darling zebra dress a couple of years ago, but I didn’t buy it. Like most zebra garments, its stark black and white pattern wasn’t flattering on me. With my pale Spring complexion, I look better in warmer tones. That’s why my new cabi top is so perfect. With its creamy vanilla background and chocolate ganache stripes (doesn’t that sound yummy?) it’s perfect for me.

With soft flutter sleeves, the top is a good stand alone piece for the occasional warm summery day that we enjoy at this time of year, but worn under sweaters and jackets, it will transition well into fall and winter. When worn alone, underarm insets provide good armhole coverage. While the neckline isn’t immodestly low, it leaves enough décolletage exposed to nicely frame a statement necklace. The top looks great tucked in, worn loose, or belted.


I even tried mixing animal prints. Because both prints are within the same colour family, I think it works!


For today’s photo shoot, I wore my DIY frayed white jeans. Later in the season, I’ll pair the zebra top with darker pants or skirt, but obviously I don’t adhere to the antiquated don’t wear white after Labour Day rule!

And what am I wearing on my feet, you ask? A pair of flip flops that I bought for $5 at Walmart’s end of season clearance sale. They perfectly match my golden summertime toes!



11 thoughts on “Zebra stripes, more than just a fashion trend

  1. This is a lovely look! My late husband had one of those rare inherited syndromes, MEN2A, so I know the whole zebra concept. It was overlooked in him by a specialist who should have known better. Fortunately, we now know and, although there was nothing to be done for him, my sons and granddaughter have benefitted.

  2. I was unaware of the zebra connection to NETS cancer. Thanks for that info. I’ve never worn animal prints, may have to give them a try!

    • They’re very popular this season. Perhaps you’ll find something you like. If you’re not sure about an entire animal print garment, try something smaller like a scarf.

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