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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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

Self-Care: The Art of Fleeing BS and Maintaining A Positive Outlook on Life

Hellurrrr #fashionablehumans!!!!

Hope this week is lit AF, and that your weekend was full of fun, naps and beautiful moments (veeeery open to interpretation 😏.)

I am in a great mood today, which makes me wonder why this is not a more common occurrence; I am often peppy and positive, but I want that to be an everyday thing, you know? Self-care has been in my mind a lot lately, from taking better care of my skin (working on my version of the 10-step Korean regimen), eating low-carb (23 lbs down, bish) and reading a lot more about positivity, manifestation and purpose.

Indeed, as I get older, I have less and less tolerance for BS and its little cousin Drama. These 2 were not regulars in my life anyway; now though, every time I see them, I just want to call the cops to have them escorted to a different zip code. (I won’t, because the way police brutality is setup…)

Anywhoooo, I would love to share little steps I have been taking every day to be more positive, energized and overall happy with life. I am still a work in progress (and shall be until the day I die), so some of these are still a struggle. Still, they have made a difference for me and I hope they do for you too.

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 GorgeousTake the time to know yourself; being positive starts within.

Who are you, really? No, I am not asking about your degrees, your job, or even your religion. Who are YOU? What do you love, what do you dislike? What makes your heart soar, and what makes you quake with fear? What do you want out of your life? Like, REALLY want?

Answering these questions (and more) will allow you to be honest with yourself about what you aspire to, and who you aspire to be. I personally feel like questioning myself often creates a virtuous circle: I get in touch with my own feelings, follow what I really want and therefore feel happy, fulfilled and positive because I am going after my goals and creating my reality. Don’t leave for others.

Questioning myself often creates a virtuous  circle: I learn who I really am, follow what I really want and feel happy and positive because I am creating my reality.Don’t leave for others.

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 GorgeousBe kind to yourself.

This one is so important, guys. You cannot live a positive life if you refuse to be kind to yourself.

Think about it: we are so kind to others! We stay up late consoling our friends, are there for them when they run into hardships and love them unconditionally. Why can’t we do that for ourselves?

  • We are NOT defined by our mistakes, but instead by our ability to learn from them.
  • We are NOT less worthy than the next girl because she has a smaller dress size, or because we have thicker thighs.
  • We are NOT failures because we have not completed college or just folded after a business venture.

I avoid negative self-talk as much as I can. Writing a great thing about myself in my Panda Planner every morning before I start work, and really taking a minute to internalize it is also a helpful habit. I also really, really try not to fall into the social media comparison trap. I AM ENOUGH.

Always remember: you are smart as shit, strong, fun and destined to do amazing things. Please realize how great you are, and how much you bring to the people around you. Treat yourself like you would your best friend: do not allow your mind or mouth to speak evil of you. (Pro tip: reading manifestation related content further explains how important it is to speak highly of yourself.)

Treat yourself like you would your best friend: do not allow your mind or mouth to speak evil of you.

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 GorgeousAvoid energy leeches.

You know exactly who I am talking about. We all have those friends/acquaintances/family members who are HEAVY to be around. They stay whining (while never trying to fix their issues), angry at someone or supercritical of you and your choices. You never feel positive after spending time with them, but down and exhausted instead. Seeing an incoming call from them makes you sigh heavily… or sends you into fits of panic.

One word: Run. (Fast. And far away.)

While it is okay to listen to a buddy’s venting session (and to help them out when you can), it is NOT okay to let their issues get you down, especially when they refuse to help themselves. After a while, you have to realize that your own positivity and sanity come first. Just have them miss you with the bullshit. Politely change the topic when they mention that fuckboy for the 1,355,676 th time, because they are clearly refusing to learn from their mistakes.

Even worse: beware of people who embrace mediocrity and shit all over your dreams.

Let’s be clear: real friends will STAN when you get a better job, get engaged, get a promotion, lose weight, or finally launch that business (more on being a good friend here). They will also keep it real with you and give you honest but constructive feedback, which is always needed. What you do NOT need is the naysayers, who keep yapping things like  “You can’t do it”, or who suddenly go silent when you share great news. No ma’am.

Protect your energy from those leeches and keep being amazing and positive.

We all have those friends/acquaintances/family members who are HEAVY to be around (…) One word: Run. (Fast. And far away.)

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

What I am wearing: Dress, here; boots, here; purse, Céline Phantom. Baseball hat, HELMH (wearing Sultan Harare Dashiki cap)

Step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Got a whole post on this here. Keep pushing your boundaries and find joy in new adventures.

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 GorgeousCelebrate the “NOW”.

One thing that keeps me positive is taking great care of myself. I often joke that the worse I feel, the better I look. I love wearing cool clothes just because, wearing a fresh lash to the office because I want to, changing my hairstyle because I can, and wearing my best shoes on a random Tuesday. Because why the fuck not?

Do not put off rocking a fun dress or wearing your sexy undies for a “special occasion”. Guess what- every day is one! Your closet exists for you; use it! Wear those fun stockings, that perfume that makes you feel like a million bucks, those jeans that make your 🍑 look amazing. You deserve to make yourself happy. All the damn time.

Do not put off rocking a fun dress or wearing your sexy undies for a “special occasion”. Guess what- every day is one! (…) You deserve to make yourself happy, all the damn time.

I hope this helps even one of you to zero in on their happiness, and preserve their positive attitude every day. Life is short; let’s enjoy it with no BS.

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

On to the ‘fit:

This dress I am HERE for it. Just such a gem! I am in absolute love with it, and in spite of having had it for less than a month, I already wore it 3 times. It is comfy, soft, thick, relaxed, and just everything I ever wanted in a hoodie dress. I had to (considerably) size up (this is a 3X, I am a M-L in most cases), so just keep that in mind. For your reference, I am 36″-29″-45″, and I am 5″11. It is such a fun casual piece, and I think I may wear it again tomorrow. 🤷🏿‍♀️

This baseball hat was kindly sent to me by Harlem over at HELMH. His company provides Ankara headwraps and baseball caps, which got me immediately excited- y’all know I live for a good Ankara print. The cap I am rocking here is the Sultan Harare Dashiki (sold out at the moment), but this one is bae- I kinda want to get it for myself. I find my hat to be very well made, sturdy and with vibrant colors. I’d wear it with regular clothes for that extra dash of culture, heh!

The boots: featured on the blog before, here. Love them; they look good, fit well and are reasonably comfortable.

The purse: featured here. I still feel the same way about it.

That’s it for today guys!!! Thanks so much for your renewed support, and I will see you later this week!

Until next time,

With Love,

D

Birthday Post! 7 things I learned this past year.

Happy Saturday fashionable humans!!!

It is my birthday today and I am very very excited😆. I am honestly ridiculously stoked about my birthday every year, even though I rarely do anything extravagant.

This year, I am far away from home, but I am still pumped! I am fortunate enough to be in London for work, so while last week was PACKED with meetings, I still feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I usually am not one of those people who take the time to reflect on shit. I do learn from my mistakes, of course, but, until recently, I rarely sat down to write things and make affirmations and stuff. However, after reading a few books that outlined the importance of reflection in actual writing, I have been trying to consciously sit the fuck down, think about things and write what I feel and I want to achieve: personal goals, family goals, professional goals, fitness goals, aspirations and all kinds of fun and positive things.

Therefore, on my birthday, 10/28/2017, I would like to share with you 7 little things I learned this year. Maybe they will be useful to you, maybe not; either way, I hope this post is entertaining!

In celebration of her birthday, blogger @Dafrastar shares 7 things she learned in the past year.What I am wearing: Dress, Boohoo (here); bag, @theresacotton Francis Clucth (gifted, thoughts below; here); Shoes, Justfab Hadley (here); Silk Bangles, IndianCraftsville (here). Lipstick is @colouredraine Cherry Blossom (here)
Birthday reflection 1:
Circumstances will reveal who you are; take action accordingly.

I came across this parabola/proverb thing a few years ago, but did not fully grasp it until this year. Here’s the thing: I consider myself very lucky. At the same time- 2016 and 2017 were complete b*tches, which strangely also brought about some of the highest highs of my life. Adversity turned me into a carrot, then an egg. Finally, one day, it clicked that I needed to suck it up and use life’s  punches to become stronger, and I turned into coffee. Hard circumstances have brought the best out of me on so many fronts: discipline, positivity, courage, and many other things that are kind of necessary not to suck at life. So don’t be scared: let hard times come by, and use them to change you for the better. Circumstances do NOT own you; you own your reactions to them.

Birthday reflection 2:
Everything you want lies on the other side of fear

Fear is generally a good thing meant to protect us from harm; snakes can be shitty, spiders may kill you, and anyone who tickles people should not be trusted. That said, fear can also keep us from living our lives to the fullest; know the difference, and please don’t let that happen to you. Don’t be my Mom’s friend who let the love of her life pass her by, because she was scared to ask her family to marry a man from a different religion (she is still single.) Don’t be that person who never tried anything because they never wanted to get out of their comfort zone; you may regret it. It took me 5 years to kick my own ass to (re)start Dafrastar, as I could not stop thinking about what people would think. I assumed they would feel that I was trying super hard to be relevant, and would laugh at me behind my back. You know what? If that’s indeed the truth, let them. Who cares? 🤷🏿‍♀️ So go on that trip, take that hot air balloon ride, wear those white jeans or go to that salsa class. Either way, you will have a great story to tell and another experience to remember.

Birthday reflection 3:
…And hard work

There is no way around it. When you want something, you have to understand that it WILL NOT fall in your lap, wrapped up with a nice little bow. Hiding behind sayings like “God willing, I will do X…” without actually doing shit will only cause you heartbreak. There isn’t really any replacement for diligently working at things to achieve mastery (even if asymptotically). For me, setting a goal and putting in the necessary work brings me a freedom and excitement I cannot even explain. No one can take the fruits of your labor away from you (unless you let them), and no one can steal your knowledge/ weight loss/ gym gains/ professional achievements from you. So work hard. Read that extra chapter; go to that networking event; take the time to understand that convoluted spreadsheet;  read that extra material to be prepared for that meeting. At the same time, hustle; find people to mentor you in what you are doing, ask questions, go to coffee with people smarter than you, and honestly do EVERYTHING you can to make it. Don’t half ass anything, it’s not cool to “barely try”. Flexing on the ‘Gram can wait (unless you are a blogger, then flex to the MAX! 😂)

In celebration of her birthday, blogger @Dafrastar shares 7 things she learned in the past year.

Birthday reflection 4:
It’s okay to want more for yourself.

You know what scares me? Waking up one day and thinking: “I could have done more with my life.” It sounds like a trivial thing, but I am so scared of growing old and seeing in hindsight all the things I could have done, but somehow decided not to pursue because I got comfortable. I cannot explain this point as well as the ones above, but this lady can! On her channel one day, I was listening to a video about purpose; she shared this quote, and it made me think very hard.

“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry our their dream.”

Les Brown

I am filled with the dread of leaving a “rich grave” behind. I beat myself up for years and wondered what else I could do besides the usual (school, work, volunteering, family), and often felt greedy because- as I said, I feel very fortunate already. However, that guilt has eased up in this past year, as I realize it’s okay to demand more of myself, and it’s okay for me to want to explore everything I may be able to do. As of today, I do not have anything planned nor do I think that I have any talent besides my job, but by my next birthday, I hope to be working on something more than “the usual”.

Birthday reflection 5:
Respect your time.

That’s the only thing that we can never recover once it’s gone. In this past year, I have strived for every minute of the day to be spent doing something meaningful. Did I succeed? Hell no, far from it. However, that taught me the value of time, and I have started to respect it a lot more– mine and other people’s. So drop that flaky friend, stop wasting evenings waiting for that fuckboy to call you back, leave that dead-end job where you aren’t learning shit. Analyze your daily habits and CUT whatever does not serve you; replace it with something enjoyable or something that teaches you something. For me, it meant a lot more books and a lot less aimless social media browsing. I still stay on Insta, but I now have set times to browse. It helps, I swear!

Birthday reflection 6:
Don’t let the disease of perfection paralyze you. She’s a b*tch.

True, whatever you want to do is worth doing well and working hard at. That said, you cannot wait for perfection to get started on … anything, really. Just fucking try shit, and learn as you go. I will use the Dafrastar example again here: I completed maybe 12 photo shoots before launching. I was/am taking a blogging class, and I could not, for the life of me, find my “niche”. My blogging instructor was honestly not that helpful; she suggested I do not launch until I did, and when I told her I wanted to focus on “affordable fashion”, she told me it was not that original and that a ton of other bloggers did it. She was correct, but I was salty; after a few days, I started stalling because I was avoiding dealing with my niche-less blog ideas. I did not touch my class materials for a month. One day, something urged me to just go for it, in spite of the advice I had received. Within 3 days, I secured a collab with my girl @dorothy.abigail, finished setting up my theme, wrote my first post and hit “Publish”. Here we are 2 months later, almost 20 posts in, and little old niche-less me is doing alright. While my instructor had a point, I am still glad I jumped in and learned how to swim. My niche will eventually come to me.

 

In celebration of her birthday, blogger @Dafrastar shares 7 things she learned in the past year.

Birthday reflection 7:
Listen and be open to change.

I ate a lot of humble pie this year. I took constructive feedback from my boss, colleagues, husband, and friends–like we all do. However, this year, something in me helped me to receive it much better than I would have– say, 5 years ago. Dunno, maybe it’s age? Perhaps it’s my husband’s influence? (he is very level headed).  Either way, I try to be permeable to advice and gentle coaching. It sucks often, but it is necessary in life and helps us grow.

 

 

On to my outfit, super quick! I put it together to recreate this picture (I am wearing the same dress in it).

I missed by chooda bangles, and for anyone familiar with Indian culture, a bride is not supposed to re-wear her choodas ever again. So I just cheated and just bought cool red bangles to wear instead.

  • My dress is a basic ass black midi dress from Boohoo. I bought it in 2015 and it is (by some kind of miracle) still available, so I assume it is one of their fixtures. It is a little sheer, but I could totally get away with tights (without too, actually). It has a bit of a deep plunge, so I would add a cami under for the office. I think the length is a perfect midi on me, and I am wearing a size 8 (I am a size 8 in real life as well.)
  • My shoes are from JustFab, and they are named Hadley. They hurt like a mother, but are so gorgeous that I do not have the heart to throw them out, even though I wore them only thrice in 3 years. They are knockoffs of these Aminah Abdul Jillil ones, and that’s what I get for buying bootleg shit. I will hopefully buy the real ones someday.
  • My bag was kindly gifted to me by @theresacotton on Instagram. She reached out to me and asked me to choose from any of her offerings, and this one caught my eye because I already had this look in mind. The bag is a good size for a clutch or a low key bag for days when a huge purse is not needed. I have been using it quite a bit (used it thrice since I have been here in London, not including this shoot) and could actually fit my iPad in it (it was a struggle though.) It has decently thick lining, so I did not fear it getting damaged inside. I wish it had an inside pocket and a longer zipper, so I could fit my tablet in without threatening to tear the bag. I am definitely going to be looking at more Ankara bags.
  • My bangles are from IndianCraftsville on Etsy and Instagram. They were made and hurried to me in record time before my trip, and I can’t thank the owner enough. I however wish they had a larger opening, as it hurts to take them out.

DASSIT!

Thanks for listining to my musings, and here’s to another year. Thanks for reading, and I will see you next week!

This look was photographed by Michelle from @MishMash_photography in London.

With Love,

D

 

 

Because we love Ankara: Casual Slay

This post is the first one in a collab series with the awesome @DorothyAbigail. Find her here and on YouTube!.

Sooo this is it, right? The scariest part of actually getting (re)started with this blogging thing?

I have NO idea why I put this off for so long. For years I swore it did not hurt a little when I took a look at my neglected FB page, my now empty YouTube channel, walked past my cameras/umbrella lights/ring lights/ all the lights, and just overall went on with my blog-less life.

Mbong Ankara set from Grass Fields on Dafrastar www.dafrastar.com Ankara set, ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion

Truth is- I got busy. So busy. Insanely busy.

I quit blogging in 2012; started a job, got engaged, left the job for another, got married, moved, started another (insanely busy) job, and… next thing I knew, five years had passed. FIVE. FREAKING. YEARS.

 Dafrastar www.dafrastar.com Ankara set, ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion

I mean it’s not like I did not try and shit. I started CraftyDafra somewhere in the middle of those 5 years, because I felt the burning need to share my (below average) craft skillz with the world. Wrote only one post (albeit very detailed, if I may say so). Lost my way again.

And then one random day, I started feeling the urge to be creative again. I realized I missed a lot of this writing/filming/getting dressed up/shooting process, and I also like cool pictures (who doesn’t?).

Sooooo yeah. I am giving this another good shot, and I have all the intention to stick with it this time around and not sabotage myself. I have been working on this for a few months, a few days at the time; can’t wait to see how everything unfolds.

 Dafrastar www.dafrastar.com Ankara set, ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion, dark skin, melanin

On to the outfit itself! (And can we discuss how @JoyOfodu made these pictures come to life, making me look like I just stepped out of a chocolate fountain? The girl is a magician.)

 

 Dafrastar www.dafrastar.com Ankara set, ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion, dark skin, melanin

What I am wearing: Outfit- Here, bangles- combination of these in copper and old ones in gold, Earrings- here

I caught this super cute set on sale from Grass Fields (I have had my eye on that shop for a while, so score!) The skirt is kind of a pleated skater skirt, and the top is an off-the-shoulder crop top with some laces that seem useless at first, but then surprisingly redeem themselves when wrapped around the waist in a criss cross pattern.

Oh- S/O to the guy who gave randomly me his guitar to pose with because it matched my outfit! I look like I am about to drop the hottest country mixtape of summer’17- if country was made in West Africa, I suppose.

 Dafrastar www.dafrastar.com Ankara set, ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion, melanin, dark skin blogger

The colors are vibrant, eye catching and offer a great contrast with my skin (#melaninpoppin, heyyyy). It is a fun little outfit to wear out for a day party, Ankara party, brunch, date, or for whenever the hell you are in a midriff-baring mood, really. I have worn the skirt with a T shirt tucked in, and it looks pretty good; I also wore very a similar top with high waisted pants on Sunday (namely these – similar style here) and it was a very simple yet put together outfit. So points for each piece working well with other pieces of clothing.

Quality-wise, though, I was somewhat let down. My reasons:

  • The set arrived to my house excessively starched, making it stiff and stubbornly wrinkly. I contacted Customer Service, and their advice was to wash it in fabric softener (meanwhile my shoot was a day later, so nope).  I steamed both pieces, and while the fabric relaxed for a hot minute, it turned back to feeling like paper soon after. That said- I will note that I contacted someone else on Insta with the same set- she seemed to have received a decent quality outfit, so that’s that.
  • The skirt (and the top, actually) are unlined, and the fabric is regular cotton Ankara Fabric. It is not see through, but for a short skirt, I would have hoped it to have at least a bit of lining.
  • The top is very short. If you are busty and need a bra, your undergarments may peek our from underneath it when you raise your arms… or breathe or smile.

 Dafrastar www.dafrastar.com Ankara set, ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion, dark skin blogger

All in all though, I am still happy with my purchase. A good wash, and it should be a solid 6/10. Being African, Ankara is inherently part of my culture and I cannot wait to showcase more of it. This is definitely not top quality in my opinion; I have a few Ankara items I am peeping though, so I trust I will find some faves soon. And for the price I got this set at, I am not about to complain.

Check out my girl Dorothy’s interpretation of a Casual Ankara Slay on her Instagram page! Can you believe she made this herself? Yes, as in- she sewed the outfit. I wish I could sew a napkin.

ankara outfit, african outfit, ankara skirt, ankara top, ankara fashion

So that’s it for this comeback post. I feel happy and terrified- my blog is no longer a little secret, but it will feel good to press that “Publish” button.

See you soon,

D

Photographed by @Joyfodu

 

Bloggers @Dafrastar and @Dorothy_Abigail show ways style an ankara set, in this colorful article on www.dafrastar.com. Ankara set, ankara skirt, ankara shorts, how to wear ankara, how to style ankara

 

Bloggers @Dafrastar and @Dorothy_Abigail show ways style an ankara set, in this colorful article on www.dafrastar.com. Ankara set, ankara skirt, ankara shorts, how to wear ankara, how to style ankara

 

Bloggers @Dafrastar and @Dorothy_Abigail show ways style an ankara set, in this colorful article on www.dafrastar.com. Ankara set, ankara skirt, ankara shorts, how to wear ankara, how to style ankara

 

Bloggers @Dafrastar and @Dorothy_Abigail show ways style an ankara set, in this colorful article on www.dafrastar.com. Ankara set, ankara skirt, ankara shorts, how to wear ankara, how to style ankara

 

Bloggers @Dafrastar and @Dorothy_Abigail show ways style an ankara set, in this colorful article on www.dafrastar.com. Ankara set, ankara skirt, ankara shorts, how to wear ankara, how to style ankara

 

Bloggers @Dafrastar and @Dorothy_Abigail show ways style an ankara set, in this colorful article on www.dafrastar.com. Ankara set, ankara skirt, ankara shorts, how to wear ankara, how to style ankara