As the Winter chill really begins to set in, it’s easy to lean on the same pieces and ensembles you have for the past few years, huddling up in gray, navy, and black knitwear and the same black ankle boots. And while we know that the classics simply can’t be beat, there’s no reason you have to give up bold colors, vibrant prints, and bright accessories just because summer is over. All you need is a few considered purchases, a winter staple or two, and our 5 tips for wearing our African designer pieces when it’s cold outside.
The key to looking stylish while dressing appropriately for winter isn’t just about making sure you’ve got a great sweater or heavy duty coat on hand; it’s also about ensuring you’ve got the basics to make the art of winter layering a breeze. And in this case, it’s all about balance. Of course, you want to stay warm, but the key is to think quality, not quantity. Start with the first layer: your base should always be the lightest so consider Diarrablu’s bell-sleeved Mila Top. Cut from a crisp white cotton, it may seem like a pretty summery item upon first glance, but one of the most satisfying aspects of layering is that your warm-weather wardrobe can actually stick around and serve double duty—it’s all about being mindful and clever in your pairings. Throw Emmy Kasbit’s tailored Udo Jacket over your shoulders, tie Diarrablu’s White Scarf around your neck, and finish things off with your favorite Winter coat.
To brace for a bout of cold weather, you’re going to want to consider the materials your winter wardrobe is crafted from and start embracing fabrics like wool, hemp, and even silk. With its natural insulating and moisture-wicking properties that keep you warm in cooler temperatures, it’s wise to stock up on as many wool pieces as possible, like Viviers’ striking Houndstooth & Barrydale Stripe Trench Coat. Made from a blend of wool and hand-woven cotton, it’s a stylish and snug statement piece that epitomizes cozy glamour. Featuring a waist-defining belt closure, raglan sleeves, bound and French seams, frayed edges, and handy pockets, it's an undeniable Winter winner. And although you might not think about silk when it comes to cozy fabrics, this material works as a great insulator. That said, you shouldn’t wear silk as an outer layer. It’s a lightweight and breathable material, making it work best under another. Made from vintage raw silk, Viviers’ Cabbage Leaf Print Shirt is the perfect base piece for a toasty warm ensemble.
If there was ever an item worth investing in, this is it. The first thing to reach for when the air begins to chill and the outside temperatures start to drop, it also makes for an excellent finishing touch to many an outfit even when the elements are less punishing. The trench has long been a staple in the modern closet, but the styles from Ghanaian designer Christie Brown espouse a maximalist spirit that gives them a modern edge. Expertly tailored from a handwoven blend of cotton and silk, it features an unexpected paneled construction, a playful print adorning the sleeves, and feminine cutouts at the bodice. If you're more partial to the classics, Brown’s Corset Detail Coat also delivers all the qualities one could ask of an investment piece and then some. Then there’s NKWO’s experimental take on things. Using a modern strip-weaving technique, the brand turns left-over pieces of denim into a new fabric reminiscent of handloom woven cloth—an invention they call the Dakala Cloth. With its deep blue shade, unorthodox shape, and avant-garde asymmetrical patterns, NKWO’s Coast Coat is a dream for the daring dresser.
When it’s chilly outside, you’re not likely to venture outdoors unless fully bundled up in your scarf, sweater, and puffer jacket. But we’ve also all had that experience of stepping out from the cold and into a heated coffee shop, restaurant, or store, and having to peel off layer after layer. And before you know it, you’ve got a hat, scarf, gloves, jersey, coat, and nowhere to hold it all. The solution? An extra-large bag, of course. This season, comfort and practicality are paramount aspects of winter fashion, so we're swapping out our minis for carryalls by African designers that can hold it all. Available in two colorways, the Maxi-Maxi Tote by Nigeria’s Femi Handbags is constructed from supple cowhide and multicolored Aso-Oke and is given an extra dose of practicality with its adjustable top handles. Looking for something a tad more understated? Turn to the Karima Weekender by New Tangier. A larger edition of one of the Moroccan brand’s signature styles, it’ll easily hold your multiple layers.
If there’s one footwear style that defines Wintertime, it’s undoubtedly the boot. But, just because it’s a winter classic, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give your winter-boot an upgrade and consider one with a few modern and vibrant touches. An over-the-knee style crafted from a black and white swath of Aso Oke (a traditional Nigerian fabric), the Falana OTK boot from Shekudo is a guaranteed head-turner, its thigh-high, striped length almost eliminating the need for trousers. But since it’s winter, we’ll leave the mini hemlines for next season, and instead team the statement style with a classic pair of vintage blue jeans and oversized coat for a reliable look that’s always in vogue. The brand’s Odo Boots on the other hand are the ultimate, on-trend cool-girl pick, their warm hues, block heel, and almond toe converging to offer a style that’s vibrant, colorful, fun, and—most importantly—wearable.
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