African women’s fashion is very much at the forefront and celebrities in America are often seen giving traditional styles and garments a 21st century twist. When you are taking inspiration for your own wardrobe, think big with colors, prints and fabrics. Don’t be afraid of bright and bold, it is a great way to reflect your personality. Go for statement dresses and suits, paired with simple accessories and you can’t go far wrong.
Michelle Obama is a huge fan of African wax prints and combines them in a modern way that is very fashion forward. The prints are produced in bold colors with striking prints. In the two terms when her husband was in the White House, Michelle was seen dressed in mud print dresses, elegantly fastened with wide belts to give a flattering shape. The iconic black, white and yellow 1950s style dress, paired with a leather belt was particularly iconic.
When Rihanna paid a little trip to the White House, she donned a beautiful Ankara dress, cleverly layered with a striped shirt underneath. The symmetry of the Ankara print gave the dress a formal feel, yet still injecting bags of West African character. Simple strappy black sandals were the perfect accompaniment to the dress - they made sure that the attention was on the main event and not distracted elsewhere.
As a singer, model, dancer, actor, singer and songwriter, Solange Knowles has an incredibly diverse fashion sense. This doesn’t stop her from going back to her roots though, rocking the African prints. She is known for her tailored, sharp power suits with African wax prints. She also takes inspiration from modern African dress silhouettes, embracing skirts with a peplum. Solange makes the most of her braids, they look particularly good when piled up in a high, forward bun.
Caucasian celebrities love to embrace the beauty of African prints too, drawn in by the striking designs and fabrics. Gwen Stefani in particular is a big fan. She is very fashion forward, leading the way and inspiring the younger generations by mixing prints, patterns and fabrics. Quite often Gwen will pick bold, geometric African prints and incorporate these into statement pieces. Her ready to wear collection that featured in Vogue magazine included African tribal prints on halterneck dresses. Gwen always accessorizes her clothing well too, favoring minimal jewelry, apart from some traditional wooden bangles.
No one exudes natural beauty like Alicia Keys, who looks just as fabulous without any makeup as she does with. The stunning African red dress that Alicia wore at the MTV VMAs in 2016 shows just how good she can make a print look. She is also another celebrity that regularly uses wax and Ankara prints in her daily wardrobe, pairing them with contemporary accessories and playing with silhouette. R&B star Angelique Kidjo, who recently collaborated with Alicia also took inspiration from her fashion sense.
African fashion is very much in the mainstream. Like the celebrities, get inspired with bold and beautiful colors and prints. Accessorize wisely and you too can look sensational in traditional designs with a modern twist.
Post by Alicia Rennoll
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