Creating a complete look can be really hard work. Making sure the colors don’t clash and the all the problem areas are covered and the whole picture looks effortless and chic, takes a lot of intent and active participation. For me the queen of accessorizing is my sister, who is an unwilling natural with the greatest hair. She has very short hair, not quite blond but close, a coppery light brown. There’s no way her hair is up to an inch long– mostly because she keeps getting it cut. She wears her hair in the very small tight curls that God has given her and is just as cute as a button (and not just because she is my sister). So how, does she make it work?
She never leaves the house without earrings on. She actually has 5 piercings on her ears and those that are on the top half of her ears have studs in them. The other 3 holes, two at the bottom of one ear and one on the other bottom, wear big long dangly things. She typically wears a matching pair and then a lone-ranger that stands out. She also loves to tie scarves, wrappers and chitenges on her head. So while this is not the best picture, it illustrates her knack for accessorizing.
Accessories though are more than earrings, any and everything can count as accessories. Scarves, necklaces, belts, socks, glasses, watches, bracelets, rings, hats, headbands– I could go on. Accessories are essentially things that are added to an outfit. One of my favorite accessories are scarves and I wear scarves all through the year (even on the hot days). The point here is not to go out and buy something new but instead to figure out a way to work with what you’ve got to rock your look. If you accessorize properly, you breathe new life into your clothes.
A couple pointers first. It is very easy to go overboard with accessories. A rule of thumb (at least for work) is no more than 10 items. So not counting the base clothes, bottoms and tops, no more than 10 other items, shoes (1), belt (2), necklace (3), watch (4), earrings (5), rings (6)– you get the drift. Personally, I like to have 1 bold statement piece and then go from there. So either a show-stopping pair of heels or a fantastic necklace (see below) that anchors the look.
The best way to figure out an outfit or how to best use your accessories, is by looking at what others are doing, get inspired and create your own version. I spend a lot of time window-shopping (especially on-line), and get inspiration from there. I also follow a number of fashion blogs like Vanessa Jackman. There are a number of websites that feature African fashion and while we’ll probably showcase a few designers here on the website, here are a few to start with: Last Plane to Lagos, Complete Fashion Magazine, and My Asho. All this to say, learn from everyone everywhere.
— Note: the jewelry pictured in this post was made/improved by either my sister or myself.