Stripes, checks, and geometrics are the ABCs of print. All three hold hallowed spots in the print hall of fame for their trend-transcending staying power. Timeless fashion, though well-intentioned, tends to minimize the needs of a statement dresser with its pared-back aesthetic. If you’re craving the bold colors and idiosyncratic design flourishes usually associated with trends but still want to invest in a forever piece, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some styles that harness the power of classic motifs to add longevity to dauntless fashion.
Clashed with contrasting patterns or paired back with a block color, a check ensures a sophisticated visual statement. South Africa’s Viviers atelier distorts the grid on their Roller Paint T-Shirt to give it a more organic feel. In Nigeria, Fruché warps their checks with knot details, resulting in a statement pencil skirt with mid-thigh cutout that somehow manages to feel risky and demure at the same time. Orange Culture’s Check Wrap Shirt joins yellow and red tartans for a very satisfying 80s throwback moment. This color-block kimono top from the Nigerian brand has an adjustable-fit design that’s destined to become your go-to mood booster. At the intersection of style and craft, Studio 189’s Reiko Shirt Dress is hand-batiked (meaning the grid is hand-drawn on the fabric before the dying process begins) to evoke the Japanese art of Shibori. It’s an easy-wearing design, poised for anything from everyday errands to exotic travel.
In the right hands, geometric print creates movement and sculpts the body, proving a firm closet favorite. The holiday season calls for a gorgeous kimono: one that moves effortlessly from the dinner table to the bedroom. Diarrablu’s Blue Sirene Kimono is up for the task, elegantly elongating the figure with the Senegalese label’s soft-focus oval pattern. It also feels appropriate to pack for a summer vacation by the pool, highlighting the sheer versatility of the label’s luxe pieces. The search for a bold yet refined outer layer ends with the Coast Coat from Nigeria’s NKWO. Ready to throw on over just about anything, the upper half of the print is angled in a way that nips in the waist visually, while the cocoon cut gives you freedom of movement. A marriage of spotted and striped geometrics across the folds of Studio 189’s Aggie Alicia skirt adds a joyous, quintessentially feminine sway to your look. It’s an easy piece to revitalize simple knitwear and other paired-back separates. Finally, Fruché’s Osage Shirt Dress proves how silhouette and print can merge to create a memorable fashion moment. The dress is also primed for layering: tone it up with a printed skirt or down with casual jeans. It’s the type of evergreen statement you’ll keep coming back to—an endless source for optimistic dressing at the ready.
Walking that line between life’s structured and carefree moments, think of stripes as a mediator between statement and staple dressing. A ruffle sleeve shirt with corset detail might seem like the type of piece that’s too decadent for every day, but Christie Brown’s striped cotton blend fabric offsets the Ghanaian brand’s formal detailing with an unexpected laidback air. Zanzibar’s Doreen Mashika tells a whimsical tale with her Kanga cotton Tatu Dress; stripes become the centerpiece that ground the playful spots and abstract swirls around them. Lisa Folawiyo’s sheer Ruched Organza Shirt immerses one's gaze in a series of prints inspired by West African textiles, structured by the Nigerian designer in layers of thick horizontal stripes. The strong presence of a bright green blazer is softened and streamlined by the Studio 189 team in Ghana. Its vertical lines subtly reference a pinstripe suit, though there’s no question this piece is far too playful to stay boardroom bound.
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