Ever since the first time I traveled to Africa, I was taken by the prints, vibrancy, and colors of the fashion! In Tanzania, the women's clothing is made of fabrics called kitenge and kanga. The dadas (sisters) and mamas (women) drape their hips in kanga to do their daily work, carry around their babies, and wrap their hair in beautiful styles. Typically Swahili phrases border the sides of Kanga and women buy them specifically for their meaning. Kitenge is mainly used to make more fashionable dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, and even jewelry. This is the fabric we use for our skirts at Zuri Collection.
If you're like me though, my typical outfit is black, white, gray, navy, or some shade of cream. Often times, African skirts can seem a little intimidating to wear...save figuring out what to wear with it! One of my favorite ways to mix up my typical neutral palette has been to add in patterns...and then mix them together! (i.e. stripes with plaid or a small floral print with a bold stripe) Sometimes, I have realized there are ways to wear something bold, without it actually looking like a bold statement - or at least a statement more easily pulled off!
Here are a few of our tricks and tips to wearing African skirts in your everyday life:
Usually African fabric is full of different colors. Choose one of those colors to coordinate your top with. In the picture below, Ceta is wearing a fitted orange sweater that goes with the orange in her skirt. As you can see, the orange isn't a perfect match to the orange in the skirt, but that's ok - it's in the same family and the colors compliment each other well!
2. Chambray Shirt
Who doesn't love a chambray shirt? What can't you wear it with?! African fabric is no exception - Hilary is wearing her Midi Skirt below with her Chambray shirt tied in a knot. It would have looked just as cute tucked in, or for colder weather, popping out from under a sweater!
3. Dress It Up or Dress It Down
One of the easiest ways to change the look of your African skirt is to change your shoes. During our photoshoot, we played with the idea in black stiletto booties, which looked amazing, but ultimately we decided sneakers because of how easy it is to throw on sneakers to run errands, pick up kids, grab coffee with a friend, etc. Dress it up by changing to booties or heels!
4. Crisp White Top
Few things look more elegant, classic, and regal than a crisp, white, button-down shirt. Wear it to work or out for the evening, this look on Ceta below is stunning! We added a leather jacket to show how to style the look for colder weather...and of course just add tights if you're in the thick of winter, like we are in Chicago!
The key to accessorizing your African skirt is to not over-do it. The skirt is most likely going to be the main event of your outfit! A simple bracelet, dainty hoops, and a neutral rope necklace would work well, for example. That said, I'm a gal who loves statement necklaces - so I styled my Dorice Pencil Skirt with our Long Leather Necklace. It works well because the necklace is white - so even though it's a big necklace, it blends in nicely.
I hope that helps! And I hope you find the perfect African skirt for your closet!!