This is an era in a fashion that permits the intermarriage of different traditions in regional fashion. There has been lately a strong interest in African patterns and African accessories.
These African accents are being made to merge with preexisting continental fashion staples that have been in place for centuries now. Examples of these attire styles that have stood the test of time are the African Dashiki, the Japanese kimono, and the Middle Eastern Caftan. Each of them has been evolving on their own, egged on by creative designers. Wouldn't it be fun to pair them with African accessories and patterns?
THE AFRICAN DASHIKI DRESS
It represents a deep cultural link with the African continent and a united declaration of pride for African roots.
Originally, the African Dashiki Dress is a colorful attire worn mostly in West Africa. It's called Kitenge in East Africa and has lately been worn regularly in Tanzania, Kenya, and Somalia.
But the Dashiki has been officially recognized as a standard African fashion style clothing for both open-minded men and women of all cultures. Aside from being a loose-fitting shirt, the African Dashiki fashion style and also its fabric has been used to create prom dresses, pants, shorts, skirts, midi, and maxi dresses.
Dashiki in Swahili means Loose Fitting Shirt Worn In Africa. Other words derived from Dashiki include Dashi and Dashka.
The Dashiki fabric and print, specifically the Angelina print, is 45 inches wide, and 100 percent cotton fabric on the unwaxed ground. It has many designs sourced from West African culture.
As casual wear, the African Dashiki Dress is created with little or no embroidery at all. As formal wear for weddings or special occasions, it is fabricated from silk brocade and has intricate embroidery running on the neckline and around the cuffs.
AFRICAN ACCESSORIES WITH THE DASHIKI
Since the Dashiki is already of African origin, it has no problem being paired with African accessories.
A Dashiki dress goes well with a matching hat and bag set and also with an African pattern umbrella.
Also, pair it with an Ankara headwrap with the same African pattern. This headwrap can also double as a scarf.
Then add large Ankara hoop earrings with an African pattern. For the men, add as a head accessory the Africa cap, the Hausa cap, Fulani cap, or the Muslim hat.
THE JAPANESE KIMONO DRESS
This is one of the national dresses that have been stretched far and wide into innovation by creative designers.
It is comfortable loose wear for all seasons. Kimono just simply means Thing To Wear in Japanese. So it means its simple style will never go out of fashion. You should have one or two of the kimono style in your closet.
Even if you gain an inch or two, you'll still look flattering in a kimono dress because you can just cinch the waist tie to your natural waistline.
The Kira kimono design is also a popular innovation featuring the popular drawstring waist. No bothersome zippers and buttons on this one!
If you go around Japan, most people would be wearing Western clothes. But the kimono dress is still being worn today in weddings, functions, and festivals. It is one of the most feminine of dresses for women and one of the proudest, for men.
There is Yukata, the informal kimono. It usually is made of cotton, is sewn easily, and is comfortable as loungewear around your home. Its cotton is thin and unlined.
AFRICAN ACCESSORIES AND PATTERNS WITH THE JAPANESE KIMONO DRESS
If the kimono dress is of plain white color or any other color that's alone by itself, African accessories can lend an accent due to their being colorful, in contrast to the solo color of the kimono, usually white.
Accentuate with a beaded African-inspired necklace or with large African hoop earrings.
With the present style of African pattern kimono dress, there is no problem matching it with patterned African accessories, including an African headwrap.
There is also this innovative African pattern Kimono jacket embellished with Swarovski stones, making it look glossy. Experiment with the African headwrap and with African anklets.
MIDDLE EAST CAFTAN DRESS
It is either a silk or cotton dress that is ankle length with long sleeves that is commonly worn throughout the whole breadth of the Middle East.
To sew a Caftan dress, you need about 3 yards of fabric. But it comes in all sizes and shapes. It could be long or short. It could be a tunic, or it could be a long, flowing, and elegant gown. It is worn by people of all ages and shapes, and at present, is being updated with new styles and fashion accessories by creative designers.
Once, the Caftan was just used as a temporary cover for swimsuits underneath. Now, they carry themselves on their own.
Caftans are incredibly versatile because of their simple structure. You can have a Caftan dress pattern that's perfect as an evening dress or you can have a very simple Caftan outfit for running errands. They make great loungewear too when you're just relaxing in your home or vacationing. Suggested is a long Caftan with jeweled sandals or strapped heels underneath.
In the olden times, Caftans were worn by sultans of the great Ottoman Empire. On their Caftan garments, there are patterns, colors, buttons, and ribbons. These accessories indicate the rank of the person in the Caftan.
AFRICAN ACCESSORIES AND PATTERNS WITH THE CAFTAN DRESS
There is a quiet merging of African patterns and the Caftan in this long and free-flowing silk Caftan which is hand-painted on blue Ayumi print through the use of traditional West African Batik.
Another option is a three-fourths length orange caftan topped on the neck with an African-inspired long multicolored and multilayered beaded necklace that reaches the belly.
You can mix and match African accessories and patterns with the traditional Dashiki, Kimono, and Caftan dress. It's only a matter of creativity and what looks good on you!