5 Easy Ways to add Ankara Fabric to an outfit

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.

Dafrastar | BeyChella

*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

 

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

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 😂

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

 

More cute shit below.

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Culture and fashion become the iconic @jackieaina as she complements her outfit to the #BlackPanther movie premiere with the #NICKster #FreeKingsKente ✨💫. How will you be dressed to to see the movie? • To commemorate the premiere of the #BlackPantherMovie, #JISTcouture is having a HUGE 20% discount sale! • Visit jistcouture.com to take advantage of this offer 💫 • Code: WAKANDA • The link to have the code plugged directly into your browser, is in our bio! • WORLDWIDE SHIPPING 🌐 • #JISTCouture #JIST #BlackPanther #BlackPantherMovie #LeatherBag #LuxuryBag #Kente #LeatherGoods #Africanmillennials #Luxe #Backpack #Marvel #Wakanda #PrintedLeather #Culture #GoldPlated #CrushedVelvet #WakandaForever

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Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear 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.

 

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

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.

Cool Ankara swimwear brands include (but are not limited to ) BFYNE (I own this one), Ofuure, Ashanti Swimwear (I am in love with the AKUA) and Diarrablu.

Peep more ideas below.

 

 

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.

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

 

More cool pops of Ankara below:

 

 

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses positivity in every day life, while rocking a hoodie dress and an Ankara cap from HELMH. ankara, ankara hat, ankara accessories, ankara headwrap, ankara hat, helmh, helmh accessories, ankara accessories, hoodie dress, sweater dress, how to style a hoodie, how to style a hoodie dress, OTK Boots, Stuart Weitzman Highland, Steve Madden Gorgeous

Everyday Pops of Ankara: The Hats and Scarves

… AKA the Ankara versions of your everyday favorite accessories. Simple as that.

Y’all already know I  love my cute baseball cap from Helmh (I talk about it in more detail here). It is a good everyday hat that happens to have dope Ankara fabric on it.

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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My 𝗙𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗺𝗼𝗼𝗱! 💃 "A good laugh is sunshine in the house." 😂 ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Head over to the blog to find out about the 𝗯𝗲𝗮𝘂𝘁𝘆 𝗷𝗲𝘄𝗲𝗹 💎 that has me excited for fall/winter [#ad]. Hint: It is intensely moisturizing, provides protection and relief & contains SPF30 to promote healing. Think you know what it is? Verify thru this link (http://primp.in/OeyfJ6TPmx) or the link in my bio.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Also on the blog is this black/blue outfit with some 𝗔𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗽𝗶𝘇𝘇𝗮𝘇𝘇!🌈 Love my look? I've linked exactly what I'm wearing (or similar) for you incl. the leather jacket & riding boots. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Shop my entire outfit via the link in my bio [lpvblog.com/shop] or via the @liketoknow.it app. Download the app, like this photo & get the deets. http://liketk.it/2tdPm Easy peasy 😉⠀📸 by @snhphoto ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #Beauty💎 #Herpecin #myootd #whatiwore #urbanwear #styleaddict #ootdfash #sharingalaska #alaskablogger #fashionaddict #fashiondaily #snowisblack #styleinspo #urbanfashion #amazonfashion #alaskan #winterfashion #winterstyle #sweaterweather #fallwinter #fallismyfavorite #fallweather #fallseason #fall2017 #LTKholidaystyle #LTKholidayathome @liketoknow.it #liketkit⠀ ⠀

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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,

With Love,

Dafra

 

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

 

 

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

 

 

Blogger Dafrastar discusses ways to add a hint of Ankara Fabric to a look, in collaboration with @Dorothy.Abigail and Louisa Moje from www.lapassionvoutee.com ankara, ankara looks, ankara inspiration, ankara for beginners, pop of ankara, ankara skirt, headwrap, ankara dress, african fabrics, kente, kentekini, ankara swimwear

3 Tips to Get Back on Track after Failure

Wassup wassup #fashionablehumans !

Just came home from sunny Ouagadougou, where I was to celebrate my cousin’s wedding!!!! I was super excited to be back home, see my parents, family and friends, and also EAT EVERYTHING! Real talk, by the week before I left, I had already sent my mom a list of allllll the things I needed to eat during my stay. I came correct!

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses tips to remain motivated, wearing a monochromatic look with a mini leather skirt, suede boots and a fringed top. Monochromatic look, monochromatic inspiration, suede boots, fringe, fringed top, fringe inspiration, black fashion blogger, African Fashion blogger

While I am super fortunate to travel often (this trip brought my count to 4 countries and 4 continents in the past 6 months), being on the go all the time takes its toll, and unfortunately— Dafrastar often gets the short end of the stick (I have not posted in a fucking month). I often find myself falling asleep at my computer (like right now 😂) while blogging. I also mostly work at night, so sometimes I don’t even make it to my computer AT ALL. While I believe that resolutions are obsolete (you may read more on that here), I do have serious goals for the blog in 2018. For example, I aim to post quality content twice a week (as well as stick to a Tuesday & Friday uploading schedule). I believe and trust I will eventually succeed at this, but MAN has it been challenging. I can confidently say I have failed at it so far.

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses tips to remain motivated, wearing a monochromatic look with a mini leather skirt, suede boots and a fringed top. Monochromatic look, monochromatic inspiration, suede boots, fringe, fringed top, fringe inspiration, black fashion blogger, African Fashion blogger

Needless to say, some days I just feel an overwhelming annoyance with myself. How dare I need more than 4 hours of sleep a day? How come I do not have a perfectly organized editorial calendar, with content planned for the next zillion weeks? How come I can’t churn out twelve viral posts per minute, while also slaying my career, keeping full edges and rocking clear skin? WHY? Ugh.

The summary of this tirade is: sometimes I get fucking tired and discouraged of failing at my goals. Life is pretty much the art of juggling shit,  and one invariably has to fall behind somewhere. For me, not hitting my posting schedule for the blog makes me anxious. Anxiety, in turn, makes me catatonic and prone to avoidance; I just want to give everything up and run away. I guess that’s why the expression “falling off the wagon” exists… We all have lives, and side hustles/hobbies don’t always get much love. They eventually end up choo-chooing their way away from our overwhelmed asses.

(…) side hustles/hobbies don’t always get much love. They eventually end up choo-chooing away from our overwhelmed asses.

Therefore, some days I do have to dig deeeep to remain motivated/ get back on track after failing. The tips below help me do it and remain somewhat sane; they are how this blog post is live today, and how many more will see the light of day. These tips apply to everything in life, as far as I am concerned: exercise routines, nutrition, dance classes, skin care… pretty much anything in your life requiring continuous commitment and effort. Let’s jump into it!

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses tips to remain motivated, wearing a monochromatic look with a mini leather skirt, suede boots and a fringed top. Monochromatic look, monochromatic inspiration, suede boots, fringe, fringed top, fringe inspiration, black fashion blogger, African Fashion blogger

1- The path to success is not straight. The ones who make it are the ones who understand that failure is part of the game.

 

This is something we should all remember more often.

 

You likely saw this picture around the internet somewhere. Success and failure go hand in hand; that’s just the truth. Even the greatest athletes have off days, weeks or even years. Does that mean they should stop? Nope, and neither should you. Consistency is hard and we are all bound to fall short sometimes. That said, it is also our duty to refuse to get used to failure. We have to accept it and learn from it, but more than everything, we have to let it fuel our comeback. I will be the first one to admit that failure sucks. Up until this day, not succeeding at something leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. That said, in 2017, I learned to hold myself to high standards and not let failure define me. It was such a liberating moment! I pretty much gave myself the permission to fail as long as I kept getting up and trying harder. Guess what: the areas of my life I applied this rule to saw more success in 2017 than any other year before.

LESSON: Do not focus that much on the “Falling” part of the story; it is the “Getting Up” part that matters.

Consistency is hard and we are all bound to fall short sometimes. That said, it is also our duty to refuse to get used to failure. (…) Do not focus that much on the “Falling” part of the story; it is the “Getting Up” part that matters.

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses tips to remain motivated, wearing a monochromatic look with a mini leather skirt, suede boots and a fringed top. Monochromatic look, monochromatic inspiration, suede boots, fringe, fringed top, fringe inspiration, black fashion blogger, African Fashion blogger

2- Remember: Progress is much better than perfection

This is squarely targeted to people who also suffer from my ailment, the accursed disease of perfection. In our heads, we are failing everyone including the Queen of England if we do not execute things exactly at the time we planned them, with grace, poise and excellence. However, life (and especially work) taught me that the sentence above is the devil, and the devil is a lie. Think about it: visualize yourself making a quilt, or a sweater, or some other shit that requires a large time investment. Making a quilty-square (you know exactly what I’m trying to say) per day may be your initial goal, but you may end up making 4 squares a week (because life), or a couple of your squares could be kind of crooked. Do you stop quilting because your output isn’t perfect? NO, THAT WOULD BE SILLY. You would keep sewing that shit until it was done and chilling on your guest room bed. That analogy applies to life: a crooked quilty square does not mean you stop; it means you learn where to put your needle to make better squares and keep it moving.

LESSON: Slower than planned does not mean stagnant. Hang in there and try to speed up; if you can’t,  still hang in there. Think of any hard project as a master quilting project.

Slower than planned does not mean stagnant. Hang in there and try to speed up; if you can’t, still hang in there. Think of any hard project as a master quilting project. Do you stop quilting because your output isn’t perfect? NO, THAT WOULD BE SILLY.

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses tips to remain motivated, wearing a monochromatic look with a mini leather skirt, suede boots and a fringed top. Monochromatic look, monochromatic inspiration, suede boots, fringe, fringed top, fringe inspiration, black fashion blogger, African Fashion blogger

3- You likely learned a thing or two on your break.

Let’s assume you took an unplanned break from working towards your dream, or maybe stayed on the ground a little longer than usual (due to a particularly vicious setback). Guess what? Chances are, you will get back on the horse with a refreshed mind, renewed purpose, or even better ideas/more drive than before. Anyone who ever had to work on a creative project can attest to the fact that walking away for a while does wonders for the brain. It helps you reset, think about things differently, and maybe even finally grasp something that kept eluding you before. While this is not reason enough to take a hiatus, it is definitely a non-negligible benefit.

LESSON: If you fall hard, realize that the unplanned break will still bring you benefits. Use them to the max; make that setback count!

Anyone who ever had to work on a creative project can attest to the fact that walking away for a while does wonders for the brain. If you fall hard, realize that the unplanned break will still bring you benefits. Use them to the max; make that setback count!

Hang in there, peeps. Just hang in there, and never think that falling off the wagon does not mean you can catch the next train. Bonus: you may even ride in the first class coach.

Blogger @Dafrastar discusses tips to remain motivated, wearing a monochromatic look with a mini leather skirt, suede boots and a fringed top. Monochromatic look, monochromatic inspiration, suede boots, fringe, fringed top, fringe inspiration, black fashion blogger, African Fashion blogger

On to the outfit we are rocking today! This look was initially shot as a part of my Fall 2017 Trends series, to represent for the fringe and fishnets trends. Never got around to posting it. Welp.

The top: I LOVE it (featured in my sequin skirt lookbook as well). It has the right balance of sass and comfort, and I love that the drama is limited to the sleeves (dunno why, but I dig that shit.) I will likely wear it until it falls apart. That said, I still can’t find a link to it for the life of me, so here are 2 similar options here and here. Sowee!

The skirt: I am also in love with this puppy. It is a simple faux leather A-line mini skirt from Zara, and it can be worn so many ways. Maybe I should feature it in a post?…🤔 I rocked it with a turtleneck, an oversized shirt, a tee, a sheer bodysuit… it can do it all. I even wore it with thick tights and a sweater to work, and upped the casual vibe with some sneakers. I’m telling you, it is a jack of all trades.

The boots: they are the Steve Madden Gorgeous, and they are bae; I spoke about them here, and somehow never got a chance to feature them on the blog until now. They are a size 10 (I wear 10.5) so they are a smidgen tight but manageable. I love them with jeans, they make my legs look a mile long.

The fishnets: pretty ordinary ones, get the job done. I would have bought cuter ones if I had given it more thought.

That’s it for this post folks! Please tell me below; how do you manage to get shit done, or how do you motivate yourself to keep going after you fall? Let’s share tips so we can all crush goals this year!

Until next time,

With Love,

D

5 tips to shop safely on AliExpress and Amazon

LONG ASS POST ALERT, grab a snack or some tea.

*this post is dedicated to clothing; I will be sharing a post dedicated to hair extensions if people express some interest in the comments.*

Hello fashionable humans!!! I am wishing you a great Monday from London!

I have not visited the city just yet (I mean I just landed yesterday) but I will be popping the travel section’s cherry 🍒soon, with pictures from the city and vague touristy thoughts!

With the holidays around the corner, every blogger worth their salt is about to start sharing cool gift buying guides and shit. Not me; gift giving is hard and I struggle to give meaningful gifts to anyone, even (and especially) to my closest friends and family. So no. Actually, let’s all go look at other people’s gift guides- recommendations are welcome in the comments!

That said, if there is one thing I know how to do, it is to stretch the shit out of my dollars. I have to make my bucks go a LONG way because I stay shopping.Mr. Dafrastar has me on a budget, but that just made me very creative in looking for cheaper ways to buy what I want. That means that Bloomingdales and Neimans aren’t an option for my wallet, so I have to satisfy my “look fabulous” cravings on the low. Enter Amazon, AliExpress, Zara, Boohoo, NastyGal, Poshmark and all of those (albeit small)  money leeches.

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!

Anywho, my top 3 money pits *ahem* I mean SAVERS are Amazon, Poshmark and AliExpress. For this post, I will be focusing on the first and last one, as my shopping strategy for them is identical (save a couple of details). Poshmark is hit or miss, and I will be dedicating a whole post to Posh finds someday. Actually, how about a series with bi-monthly finds from Amazon, Ali or Posh??? Hmmm 🤔 I like that (I clearly have a lot of conversations with myself.)

So where were we? Yes- buying clothing on Amazon and AliExpress. Here are the steps I personally follow below. Those have allowed me to be fairly successful in buying from those websites, in nailing my sizing down and generally ending up with good quality garments – at a reasonable cost. (It is worth noting that I am focusing on Asian Amazon vendors in this post; buying from US vendors is much more straightforward.) Oh- also, actually, in a roundabout way, I may help with your holiday shopping, because I may help you save money on gifts. Ta-da!!!!!

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
An AliExpress find. Love its movement and flowy-ness.
Find this dress here

1st step: Let go of misconceptions: everything from China isn’t cheap, quality or price wise.

Buying from China has a pretty shitty connotation; it is usually associated with very poor clothing quality and overall pretty comical letdowns. Honestly though, it’s for a good reason: for a good laugh, just Google prom dress horror stories, preferably with juxtapositions of listing images vs. actual products. Some of those are COLD (and, you know, therefore hilarious.)

If you need more proof that buying from China can be risky business, Patricia Bright actually filmed a series of videos ordering from popular (mostly Asian ) websites. Some of the things she received will make you gasp- and then dissolve in fits of giggles. She is so funny about it, you can’t help but laugh/snort your way through her unpacking.

THAT SAID,☝🏿 she did score a few amazing items, which shows that everything is not all bad (she even wore a dress to a red carpet event). I personally scored some of my most prized sartorial possessions from AliExpress and Amazon, so I would say that the key here is research, which we will cover below. There are also some extremely high-quality items on Ali that cost a NICE chunk of change, but you have to look for them.

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
An AliExpress find. Love its movement and flowy-ness.

2- Unless you want to take risks, do NOT order any items with no/very few orders/reviews.

Unless you have ordered from a seller before and are comfortable with their quality, it is a gamble to order an item nobody ordered before, or an item without clear reviews.

After entering my description in the search bar in AliExpress, I usually sort by the number of orders and then look at the most ordered items in descending order.

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!

These items are more likely to have plenty of reviews, and taking the time to comb through, say, the 20 most recent ones, allows me to know what to expect. By the way, reviews can be faked, so I make sure to only pay attention to the ones that are longer than 5 words, and more substantial than “OMG fantastic seller!” 🙄 Also, make sure 5 star reviews are not just complimenting the fast shipping- some people do that, which for the life of me I can’t understand.

On Amazon, the “top” positive and negative review feature helps a lot but it is only a pointer (see below; get to it by clicking the “see all x (number) customer reviews” link). Just like on Ali, reviews can be faked, so make sure to read more than just one positive/ critical one. I personally also make sure to seek out longer reviews, because they likely have juicy details I may be interested in. Also, with some vendors, quality changes over time, so a 5 star item last year could be a 3 today. Make sure to have a decent spread of time in the reviews you are looking at and look more at recent ones.

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
This whole outfit (including the shoes) was bought on Amazon.
See outfit here, blazer here. Featured in a post here.

3- Pictures in reviews: Use them. Steer clear of items that do not have image reviews.

I use images for different purposes on AliExpress and Amazon: on Ali, they serve as a quality check on the garment, and on Amazon they help more with the fit. Make sure to look for plenty of people with the item on in different situations (just trying on, at a party, after a day of wearing) and pay extra attention to those reviews; people often say how they felt in it, whether they received compliments on their outfit, whether things fell apart, etc. Pictures will also show defects in the clothing, so make sure to browse through them.

4- Even if you do nothing else, please do this: Know your measurements.

I can’t emphasize this one enough. Asian sizes are tricky; an average size M in US sizing could be a fucking size 2-3X in Asian sizing. To make that even worse, it seems that many vendors use their own sizing systems. 🙄

However, they usually offer a measurement scale as well (often in centimeters) which will let you know which size fits what measurements, and that scale is generally quite accurate. It is usually hidden somewhere in the item description on AliExpress; on Amazon, it is sometimes in the pictures, or in the item description as well. I also THINK that if the seller(s) get(s) enough flack because people keep ordering the wrong size (especially on Amazon), they sometimes even switch to US sizing, so make sure you know which size is being referenced in the listing.

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
Ali Express measurement chart example
5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
Amazon measurements example in product description

The way I personally get around all this nonsense is that I know my measurements by heart. I retake them once a month (for other reasons than shopping, lol), so they are pretty accurate at all times. The most important measurement for tops is obviously “chest”; for dresses, I usually focus on “hips” (mine are round, so they are the body part I have to accommodate for) and factor in any stretch to know whether I can size down to match my chest. “Waist” and “Hips” are obviously very important for skirts and pants, etc.

Rant Tangent– DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON PEOPLE WHO USE THEIR WEIGHT IN THEIR REVIEWS. WHY???? Like- “I am 150 lbs, I got this dress in Medium and fits like a dream!” Wait- HOW DOES THAT HELP ME, OR ANYONE??? There are many photos floating around the web showing women with the same weight and wildly varying sizes. See below- I have receipts!

I personally weigh more than most people my size (I am 176 lbs as of right now, I think), but I am a sz 8 with a 29” waist. So thanks, Jane Doe, for telling me how amazing this dress is on your 150 lbs frame, but I literally have no idea how knowing your weight helps my shopping experience or even gives me any good frame of reference. Heck- even assuming we are the same waist size, I could be a bit hippier than you, or a bit bustier. So please please please, if there is anything you get from this post, it should be to use your measurements in reviews, or at least your usual clothing size; not your weight, ma’am. *end rant*

Weight does not tell the whole story!

Weight does not tell the whole story!

Hint: for the pic above, they all weigh 154 lbs. Told ya!

5- Do not be afraid to contact the seller or ask questions to the community if you’re still confused.

On AliExpress, it is very easy to contact sellers via the listing to ask questions. I often ask for pictures of the item by itself (not on a model), ask any sizing questions I need to, and even ask whether they have sales coming up. They are pretty good at replying within a couple of days- usually less than a day even.

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
AliExpress contact location on web page

On Amazon, I first browse existing questions to find any answers I may be looking for, in case I couldn’t make a decision based on reviews only. If my question was not asked (for example, whether some pants would be long enough for my 36″ inseam), I just ask it to the community. 

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
How to ask questions on Amazon

Sellers are usually keen on answering questions because that creates a knowledge base, which in turn saves them from answering the same question ever again. The community is also pretty fast; people love talking about shit they bought, myself included! I would say I get answers to around 75% of the questions I ask on Amazon, and I always answer questions on items I bought if I can.

 

 

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!
One of my most complimented pieces of clothing ever; an AliExpress find.
This dress is available here. Listing changed for some reason, it had a lot more reviews and pictures.

6- BONUS: if you can, contact previous buyers to ask how the item is holding up.

It is not a common occurrence, but on either Ali or Amazon, every once in a while, a reviewer may leave their Instagram account in their review or have a watermark on their photo. I contacted a couple of people via DM on Instagram, and they were usually very open to sharing their experiences. I actually do that A LOT on Etsy (it’s easy to contact other members) and for purchases from Instagram stores.

FINALLY, DASSIT! If you read so far, you are a trooper and a champ and you deserve to score the very best deals on AliExpress and Amazon for the rest of your life.

Please let me know any questions you may have – as evidenced by what must be the 2,000 words above, I can talk about shopping on Ali and Amazon all day!

Thank you so much and see you on Friday!

With love,

D

 

5 tips to find and purchase great quality clothing on Aliexpress and Amazon : Blogger @Dafrastar shares her secrets!