Hello hello #fashionablehumans, happy Friday!!!!
I hope you guys a stellar week ahead, and hope you had a relaxing weekend! Did y’all catch #Beychella??? If not, please do yourself a favor and find the video because she sntached wigs, edges, and upper lip hairs. Her celebration of Blackness at Coachella was amazing, stupendous, unprecedented, and I am running out of adjectives. Just go watch.
*Back to regular programming*
Y’all know I am a huge fan of Ankara fabric (as evidenced in a ton of my posts). It is a huge part of my culture (I am from Burkina Faso), and it’s also cute, OKURRRRR?
That said, Ankara is not for the faint of heart. It is bold, bright and loud. The patterns do not always make sense (I personally gave up trying to understand them because WTF), and walking around a Western country wearing Ankara is almost always a conversation starter — even when you are aggressively minding your own business. It may therefore be intimidating for a newbie to jump into the (lit AF) African fabric life, but fear not! My boos Dorothy Abigail, Louisa from La Passion Voûtée and I are bringing you a few cute ways to pepper some Ankara into your lewks until you are ready to take a bigger leap (…or not. I’d be judging you tho.)
Let’s do this!
Classic Pop of Ankara: the Headwrap
Ankara headwraps are to African outfits what dupattas are to in Indian ones: they just go together. In African culture, the leftover fabric from an outfit is usually used to make a gorgeous headwrap to finish off one’s look. Those great pieces can obviously be (and are) worn alone, and in the latest years, many amazing designers have started selling standalone headwraps at pretty affordable prices all over the web. Ankara headwraps are a cute alternative to a hat on a bad hair day, they can be worn in a variety of styles, come in pretty much all the colors of the rainbow and can be used to uplevel any outfit. I am wearing one by @zoeyandabena here, but you can find gorgeous ones on @grass_fields, @asodara, @maisonpetiteandbold, @thehelmh and a TON of other vendors all over Instagram and Etsy. More inspiration below (post on above look here).
Example of a full look with headwrap below
Utilitarian Pop of Ankara: The Bag
Before I was gifted this bag from @theresacotton, I had already been collecting ethnic bags from all over the world. Now— the fact that I did not have an Ankara one yet is laughable, but I was going to get one, I swear. An Ankara bag just POPS against my (usually dark AF) outfits and is just a simple way to incorporate a cultural piece into a look. Ankara bags have been around for a while, but I am here for their current resurgence in mainstream sartorial habits. I love the work of @suave_ke and @jistcouture, as well as pieces by @shalomdesign. Again, Instagram and Etsy are your friends to find cute pieces. (Look above here).
Dorothy can actually sew, so she is wearing one of her own creations as a waist bag (DO NOT SAY FANNY PACK). The way the fabric looks against her all-black outfit… Yes Lawd.
Here’s her take on Ankara accessories:
My wardrobe is usually very colorful and Ankara fabric does the trick every time I want a bold, showstopper of an outfit, but it can be Ankara Fabric can be overwhelming. A great way to incorporate it into your outfits is by starting with small accessories like a bag, earrings, pins or a headwrap.
Even though I had fun creating a Fanny Pack and a pin for this collab, I’d choose an all Ankara outfit over a minimalistic look any day 😍
SHE SAID FANNY PACK 😂
More cute shit below.
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Unexpected Pop of Ankara: The Jewelry
(I know, I know, same look as above, but listen — it applies. )
Ankara jewelry is the perfect accessory to safely try African fabric, because (to me at least) jewelry is kinda expected to be whimsical. I wear huge hoops sometimes, huge rings, bangles and other baubles; switching Ankara for metal is just a tiny step, really. IMHO, an Ankara neckpiece is the perfect way to dress up a plain tee and jeans (saw a lot of that when I went to see Black Panther), and a cute set of earrings or bangles add some color and personality to an otherwise simple look.
The earrings above actually came with a matching necklace, but I omitted the latter because it would have been too damn much (I was already rocking a matching skirt.)
Jewelry inspo below.
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Sexy Pop of Ankara: The Swimsuit
Now THIS is a fun way to wear Ankara!!! I have always been a huge fan of ankarakinis/ dashikinis/kentekinis ever since they became a thing, and the one I am rocking in this photo is from the (now defunct, unfortunately) Olori Swim line. Man, I loved their stuff!
An Ankara print is super non-threatening on a swimsuit because it honestly looks like any other print (*cough* only cooler *cough*). The colors are usually bright, the swimsuits come in a variety of cuts, and this is just a fun way to look cute on the beach or by the pool.
Peep more ideas below.
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Stylish Pop of Ankara: The Accent
Arguably the simplest, this approach is also the coolest in my opinion. A piece of clothing with just a hint of Ankara immediately looks different and has a very “haute” look to it. I likely feel that way because, back in the day, many African fashion designers used to approach international markets by using the same strategy. They would start with very plain and clean designs out of non-Ankara fabrics, but then add fun pops in strategic locations. I see a little less of that approach now that African prints are more mainstream, but it is still a fun way to flex a little 😜.
My boo Louisa styled the look above effortlessly; here is a little bit about it in her own words:
As a millennial living in the diaspora, I have the urge to share a little bit of my African heritage. An appreciation of my culture and the subtle nuances that make my traditions different from another intrigues me. Clothes like this African print peplum dress that is the perfect Yin-yang of two totally different cultures tell my story.
If you’re looking for a trendy yet classy look that infuses a little bit of the African flair, look no further than this SGTC Clothing bodycon dress with an Ankara peplum accent. It is the perfect dress for fancy occasions, and can also be dressed down for a stylish casual look.
Dorothy opted for a cute Ankara button.
More cool pops of Ankara below:
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Everyday Pops of Ankara: The Hats and Scarves
… AKA the Ankara versions of your everyday favorite accessories. Simple as that.
Louisa, on the other hand, needs to bundle up (she lives in Alaska). She took the route of adding color in the form of a bright Ankara scarf. In her words:
Summer is not the only time to rock African print clothes. A great way to add some swag to your winter look is by wearing Ankara accessories, like this handmade Ankara patchwork scarf by Boriah Clothiers.
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These Ankara additions are super effortless since they are everyday items. Pair an Ankara hat or scarf with any look is super easy, and as seen in the photos — nothing else is needed!
Cute inspo below:
I believe this is it for today guys!!!
Thanks so much for stopping by and looking at fun ways to add Ankara to your looks. Any looks that you like more than others? Why? Let me know below!
Until next time,