AFRICAN THINGS 101: 10 WAYS TO WEAR AFRICAN PRINT

The task of putting together a stunning African print outfit can be a daunting one. Perhaps the bright colours and intricate patterns can be a little intimidating to pull into a worthy ensemble? Whatever the case, help is just a scroll away.

African Things is here to give you the stylish tips and tricks to up your print slay. Here are African Things’ 10 WAYS TO WEAR AFRICAN PRINT:

SOLID COLOURS WITH AFRICAN PRINT

This might as well be the simplest and most classic way to wear and style Ankara outfits. We’ve found there is one important rule to perfectly matching any print fabric to a solid colour when creating outfits: leveraging on accent colors.

Accent colors are used for emphasis in a color scheme and are used to create contrast, rhythm or to emphasize certain features of the fabric’s motif (the element that is repeated to form the pattern). And so, you could either draw your solid color from an already existing accent in the print fabric, or you could make use of shades and neutrals like black or white.

View our clothing section for more inspiration.

Ankara print design

AFRICAN PRINTS WITH DENIM

But that’s a no-brainer, isn’t it? Whether you’re pairing your jeans with an off-the-shoulder top, a wrap top or a boxy crop top; this super casual and chic combo of denim and print is bound to bring you from a level 1 to 100.

African prints can also be incorporated into denim clothing pieces as patchwork and smaller detail. Perhaps you’d want a denim dress with your print fabric-lined at the sides? Maybe it’s the perfect African print bag with your all denim outfit? It is ultimately up to you to decide.

AS ACCESSORIES

When you are wearing African print accessories, you want to emphasize them. You want them to provide a pop of color and contrast your outfit. A simple Ankara fanny pack or backpack renders an outfit of an oversized t-shirt and baggy pants to that no-effort classy look.

It’s just not about the bags; Kente or Kitenge head wraps, Ankara bracelets, and other similar accessories can do wonders with a little black dress or a monochrome outfit. But remember, less is more. You will want to keep your outfit simple and choose your accessories wisely as they could easily overwhelm the entire look.

THE BLACK TURTLENECK

This unisex wardrobe essential is great when paired with print clothing such as skirts, pants, and jackets. It creates an effortlessly classy and functional look and is suitable for the workplace. Just watch as your casual Friday look turn heads.

THE WHITE SHIRT

This formal clothing piece can be dressed up or even dressed down depending on what you’re going for. This piece goes well with a cute pinafore dress made from print fabric or a pencil skirt. Pants are universal, and so African print pants and a white dress shirt are a definite go-to for both men and women.

TWO-PIECE SETS

You’re not wearing Ankara if you don’t own a two-piece set. Whether it’s a boxy crop top and a matching pair of palazzo pants or a bespoke mermaid skirt and blouse for Saturday’s Owambe, two-piece sets are one of the most fundamental ways to wear African print.

FUNCTIONAL ACCESSORIES

These are the everyday items you need to use, zested up with African print fabric. From Ankara covered notebooks to Kente wallets and Ankara laptop bags, the need for more stylish functional accessories may never end. We hear there are Ankara EarPod cases too but don’t quote me on that.

PATCHWORK STYLES

Sometimes, having one pattern and colour scheme isn’t enough. You may want two, three… as many as you can get! Patchwork styles using African print is without a doubt, one of the most creative ways to wear the fabric. But it must be done right. So, here are a few things to consider when mixing and matching different patterned fabrics for this look:

  1. Identify which colours or shades of a colour are prominent.
  2. Decided which colors and patterns complement each other (what looks good beside what).
  3. Beware of repeating intervals; you don’t want the same fabric pieces right beside each other.

AS FORMAL WEAR

Incorporate print detail into bespoke evening and cocktail attire for a statement look. You may also choose to go all-out and wear attire completely made from print fabric.

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BEACHWEAR

One of the more recent trends in swimwear design is the incorporation of African Print designs and motifs in producing the waterproof material of swimwear. Designers providing these print swimsuits include Bfyne and Andrea Iyamah.

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