Sunday, 13 August 2017

STYLE: 6 Things That Make You Look African (Without Ankara Fabric)

Countless numbers of people never thought they were complimenting me with reassurances when they say “you look African” or ask "are you a South African?"

In most cases, I feel even more proud when they say it when I am not wearing my most preferred "African" fabric - Ankara. It tells me looking African is beyond the fabric.

How To Look African


At a point, I was getting it twisted. I had thought looking African was only about incoporating Ankara fabric into my style, until I received the shocker that Ankara is NOT African.

Oh,well.

Reflecting a bit (or so much) of African Fashion in my outfit has been more that an exciting journey for me.

For those wondering, the truth is I wasn't always Afrocentric. I guess I accidentally fell in love with my identity as an African and started to embrace African-inspired styles in 2015, no, that should be in 2014. Since then I have become aware that I can pull this off for a long time.

For real

Many of us grew up wanting nothing to do with African fashion. We preferred the American, European and even Asian styles. We considered the African style to be old, boring and practically unattractive. However, with a new generation of many talented and young fashion designers hailing from the motherland, the perception of African fashion has taken a whole new platform. Gone are the days when what we referred to as Afro-Inspired fashion was something only worn by the much older generation of mothers and grandmothers.

We rock it better these days. At least, I know I do. Lol.

Want to look African without robbing a bank? Want to know how to look African without wearing Ankara fabric? Want to look African yet look modern? These tips might work for you as much as they work for me:

On The Head

1. Your Natural Hair automatically makes you look African. Our hair is unique to us. You can beat that!

If you don't have your natural on, not to worry, you can use a scarf.

2. A head wrap is typical of an African woman. There is something about scarves that enhances our facial beauty. It's aesthetic.


3. African hairstyles like box braids, Ghana-weaving, ponytail weaves, Chunky cornrow braids etc can give you that African look.

On The Body

4. Africans are mostly not known for body-hugging pieces. Pick something free and loose. Such as
- Long skirt
- Midi skirt
- Maxi skirt
- Dashiki (shift dress)


5. Clothes with striking colours and bold prints are one of the surest African pieces. Although Ankara fabrics give us a variety of colours and prints, you can find the same variety in different fabrics too. Try them out.

Seen this yet? What A Night Gown!

Your Accessories

6. You can even wear an English attire, and allow your accessories to make the BIG difference. Handmade wooden jewellery would be a great effect.


Having two or three pieces out these six items listed above gives you that Afro-centric vibe you desire. You can count on me!


The colour of your skin does not determine the African culture. Culture is a trait of fashion, traditions, manners, food, architecture and so on. Let's embrace it.

Be African and proud.
Look African and glow.

Do not be afraid to try new things, and boldly step out in style. Why fit in when you can stand out and try new things with African-inspired Styles. Click HERE for more inspiration.

Are you a fan of Afrocentric fashion? What's your most favourite African fashion piece?


Posted by Nwamaka Ajaegbu 
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