You are what you wear. As a case in point, if you love Afro chic clothing, you are obviously very comfortable in your own skin. There is simply no way you can wear Afro retro clothes, with their bold, royal colors and unique silhouettes, without getting noticed.
Aside from having a very bold fashion style, you might love Afro chic because it’s your way of identifying with your roots. Or, it could be that you admire African fashion.
Your choices when buying clothes also reflect your stance on specific issues. Buying from an ethical clothing line declares your support for ethical clothes manufacture.
On the one hand, you’re withholding your dollars from those that employ child labor and non-sustainable methods of manufacture. And, on the other hand, you’re showing tangible support for designers that pay their employees right and use sustainable methods of production.
Indeed, fashion is a lifestyle. Clothes do so much more than keep you covered and warm. They speak of who you are, and they represent your identity and aspirations. And, now more than ever, your fashion speaks about which causes you support and deem important.
So, go on, dress up, and don’t feel guilty about standing out. Use these three tips to bring your fashion to a whole new level of style.
1. Wear Shades
Wear those shades, seriously. Whatever your outfit, whether it’s funky streetwear, classic Wall Street, preppy, grunge, or punk, sunglasses will complement your outfit.
This is especially true for black or dark-framed shades that go with just about any outfit. Of course, if you’re whimsical, you are more likely to go for atypical colors and designs, and those do not always work with every type of wardrobe.
The most important thing about sunglasses is to find frames that suit the shape of your face. So be discerning in choosing your sunglasses. The best way to choose would be to try different sunglasses and judge how they suit you.
Generally, square or square-ish faces – those with defined jawlines and whose forehead, chin, and cheeks are almost equally broad – will find round and oval frames flattering. The sunglasses should slightly extend past the cheekbones, and the frame should be not too thick that it’s overwhelming.
Those with round faces – or those with much softer features and whose cheeks are wider than their forehead and chin – will find rectangular frames more suitable as they tend to elongate the face. Try to go for more angular shapes if you want to balance the softness of your face.
And those with heart-shaped faces – typically, heart-shaped faces taper down from the broadest part, the forehead, to the narrowest, the chin – will find oval and modified wayfarer frames the most suitable.
Oval frames will be great for those who wish to take attention away from the chin. Those who want to elongate their chin can go with rectangular frames that are angular at the top and round and heavy at the bottom.
Yes, sunglasses are accessories, too, but they’re in a league of their own, so they deserve a special mention.
Aside from sunglasses, you can add so much and do a lot with carefully selected accessories. You can wear a scarf, hat, belt, necklace, pair of earrings, bracelets, and a lot more. Even shoes are accessories.
Think of accessories as the exclamation point to your fashion statement. However, there is no hard and fast rule about accessorizing. Just remember that you accessorize to complete a look and to complement your outfit. Accessories are supposed to make you look well put together and draw attention to you for all the right reasons.
Finding the right accessories
Start with the end in mind. Specifically, what look are you aiming for, and what is your sense of aesthetic? It might help to think about where you’re going, although people with a solid point of view may not necessarily put much stock in the place or occasion.
Next, look at your outfit or your base look. Assess the gap between what you already have on and the look you want to achieve.
Now, accessorize. Add the accessories that will bring you from your base look to where you want to be.
The accessorizing process in action
Let’s say you’re wearing a Birabiro (a lovely word that is Ethiopian for butterfly) Denim Abaya, an incredibly striking piece with its multifaceted denim blue edged with distinctly African trim on the cuffs and in front. That’s your base outfit.
Now, decide what look you want. Do you want to go full-on tribal? In that case, you can put on a multicolored African collar bib necklace or even a long strand necklace, some huge wooden disc earrings, an African turban headwrap, and African print heels.
A word of caution, though. Don’t accessorize to the extent that you end up looking like you’re wearing a costume. Practice restraint when accessorizing, and resist the urge to pile on accessories and go matchy-matchy.
For instance, instead of going full-on tribal, you can let your African-inspired abaya from your favorite tribal clothing line carry the tribal vibe. To complete your look, you can wear mid-size gold African hoops, white body-fit trousers, white leather pumps, and a simple white with a black geometric print purse.
3. Hair and makeup
Your hair and makeup should pull together your outfit and accessories, but more importantly, they must be sensible and suit the occasion.
For instance, if you are going sailing, you’d want to keep your hair tied up. And you’d want makeup that would protect you from as well as resist the sun, wind, and sea. At the same time, your makeup shouldn’t be so thick you’d do nothing but sweat underneath.
Indeed, a tidy, no-makeup look bolstered by plenty of sunblock and skincare would be perfect for sailing and other similar activities. If you’re going on a night out, of course, you can put on a full face of makeup and let your hair down.
And if you have on a bold outfit and some statement accessories, you can slick your hair back, then go with a muted color palette for your makeup, perhaps just highlighting your eyes with a powerful pop of color.
It’s the whole look that counts
Again, there are no firm rules for choosing the right accessories, hairstyle, and makeup. Just make sure they revolve around your base outfit. Together, your outfit and everything else must make a pleasing whole that speaks your point of view. Oh, and don’t forget to put on those shades whenever you can.
Ethiopian-born and Dubai-based fashion designer Feiruza Mudessir discovered her curiosity to mix the traditional with contemporary at a young age, and this has become the trademark of her designs for Finchitua today. With her unique style standpoint, she served the VIP Color Forecast Panel 2017 for Al Jazeera Paints Company and VIP Color Forecast Panel 2019 for Asian Paints Berger. Mudessir is a shortlisted nominee for the prestigious Fashion Scout London 2018.