How the building blocks of your closet can get by with a little help from their friends.
Nov 12, 2020
Accessories—whether they be bags, shoes, or jewelry—are what we like to call wardrobe wonders. Why? Simple. They can transform any outfit with adroitness, making the most casual of separates look put together in a flash, while softening the polish and emphasising the ease of others. With a little thoughtful accessory selection, you can get away with wearing the same outfit many times over (something your budget will thank you for later), the switching up of something like a classic hoop earring for a bold, architectural style bearing the potential to transform the spirit of your entire look. In essence, the very same piece that shouts “workday A-game” can quickly become casual enough for a relaxed dinner date, alternatively remoulding from a comfy, daytime getup into the picture of elegance. Here, we show you just how to make that smooth transition whatever the foundation of your outfit, with the assistance of just a few considered embellishments.
Photo: Embroidery Coat, Taibo Bacar
The Winter Coat
Winter is very nearly upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’ve no doubt many of you have already hauled those heavier pieces out of the back of your closet to keep cosy in, including a trusty, full-length coat. Taibo Bacar’s Embroidery Coat is a fine example of luxurious versatility, a closet hero that’ll knock the socks off fellow partygoers and serve as an elevated base. Play up your tailored coat’s elegance and sophistication by making jewelry and footwear selections that add to its refinement. The addition of Adele Dejak’s gold-toned Lalla earring and Loza Maléombho’s Thila stack-heel allows a nighttime elegance to reign, one that can be extended by the incorporation of a chic, printed clutch like the Black Salma version by New Tangier. A coat of this sophistication can also prove perfectly practical for a casual stroll around your neighbourhood: choose a fun backpack to gently dial down the garment’s inherent formality, like Egyptian label Reform Studio’s Mini Torero style, which is just the cavalier, statement piece to get the job done. The look is easily finished off by lacing-up a pair of your favorite chunky sneakers or boots and keeping your jewelry picks to a minimum: the beaded Leather Bracelet Cuff by Sidai Designs is an ideal and subdued touch, its intricate beading and bright white shade presenting an understated yet striking add on.
Photo: Takwa Dress, Andrea Iyamah
The Midi Dress
The impact a considered handbag choice can have on a midi dress ensemble is nothing short of miraculous, and nowhere is that better demonstrated than when choosing between a classic basket bag and a structured, flap purse. The enduring, woven style of the former lends a garment like Andrea Iyamah’s forest green Takwa Dess an air of ease. So if it's daytime chic you’re going for, consider AAKS’ Hawa Rainbow Bag. Rendered in muted shades of tan and beige with naturally-dyed multicolor tassel detailing, it’s a contemporary, sturdy, and durable creation with a degree of polish that separates it from other standard woven styles. Allow a different take to carry the ensemble straight into your evening plans by selecting one of OKAPI’s creations in a corresponding shade. The brand's Yemaja style in Brilliant Green is a great choice, its solid structure and touches of gold hardware instantly smarten things up. As for further embellishments, turn to the sculptural earring styles of Ami Doshi Shah and Pichulik. The Kenyan designer’s artful, talisman-like earrings are regal in spirit, providing an eye-catching adornment for all your evening engagements, while Pichulik’s Samba Earring is a delicate add-on for daytime duties.
Photo: Colorblock Bomber and Pants, Kahindo
The Matching Set
If you’re embracing the matching set this season, good news! Even when styled with no accessories, such sets still make an impact with their confident coordination. That being said, where’s the fun in forgoing all embellishments? Here, footwear makes all the difference. Kahindo’s Colorblock, almost tracksuit-like bomber and pants set is an ocean-hued delight, one that’s great worn with a classic, flat sandal (Ivorian designer Loza Maléombho’s Brown Regal style has the potential to provide both simplicity and poise, depending on what you’re going for), but slip into a barely there stiletto instead and it’s transformed into a party-ready stunner. As for jewelry choices, Ami Doshi Shah’s chunky, mango wood Orbit Bangle is great for traipsing around under those dwindling rays of sunshine, while the Kenyan designer’s Vessel studs add a dose of simple afternoon elegance. More streamlined selections, like Shah’s Baseline Drop style, are exactly the thing you need if you’re planning to rock your matching ensemble to an evening gathering. Finish things off with a shoulder bag or tasteful purse: we love Thalia Strates’ effortlessly cool Niki Messenger Bag for the day due to its practicality and playful spirit, while Bouswari’s Sultan Wallet delivers on nighttime grace.
Photo: Daisy Akwete Skirt, Emmy Kasbit
The Pencil Skirt
In our eyes, a pencil skirt pairing is always a winner, one that really does work for any occasion; a wedding, a staff party, a dinner date, you name it. Paired with a button-down, it always does the trick, and Emmy Kasbit’s Daisy Akwete Skirt is a playfully layered and fringed bet that’s easily worn with your favorite collared shirt or corresponding jacket. And while a set of must-have, chunky heels will get you ready for a nighttime celebration, a lace-up brogue or streamlined sandal is your undemanding daytime champion. Once again, an earring choice can also make an enormous difference here. The oversized creations of Sidai Designs (such as their Kifungo Double Tassel or Pembetatu Earring) which drip in delicate glass beading, moderate the refined elegance of the closet essential that is the pencil skirt. Meanwhile, the graceful finesse of the brand’s Geometric style is what you need to make a smooth transition into the night: crafted from gold and dusty-pink hued beads, it is a fine trinket that nails refinement. Try finishing off your daytime look with Khokho Collections’ Lindi Minaudière in Smoke Blush and your nighttime one with their Ball Bag in Chalk, both of which are artisanal offerings that flaunt an air of bohemia.
Photo: Patched Front T-shirt, IAMISIGO
Think you can’t dress up a plain old T-Shirt? Think again. The building block of many a daytime look, it's no longer just your wear-at-home staple, and hasn’t been for a long time. Tucked into a tailored midi-skirt and worn with comfy, heeled mules, our casual tee by IAMISIGO looks perfectly in place everywhere from your workplace to the bar. Further the evening-ready vibe of your tee-based ensemble and turn to a clutch purse. Okapi’s black stonewash iteration provides a degree of flair with its Ostrich-skin finish, and the addition of a chunky necklace like Ami Doshi Shah’s Collar style pulls everything together. It's also easy to keep things daytime casual with Bouswari’s Black Nafa Belt Bag. This simple, belted piece can be worn with anything but looks particularly cool and informal with a no-fuss jeans and tee combo, while the addition of Patrick Mavros’ Pangolin Haka earring and stacking cuff provides the finest of finishing touches with their gleaming sterling silver forms.
We love a good jumpsuit here at Industrie Africa. The ultimate wardrobe multi-tasker, it's not only an effortless choice, but one that was expressly designed to be an adaptable all-rounder. Pichulik’s Malachite hoops are dainty enough to keep a solid colored jumpsuit (like Diarrablu’s White Umy version) soft enough for morning and afternoon activities, while switching those out for Ami Doshi Shah’s layerable Vessel pendants will let it shine equally as brightly after hours. Bag-wise, the Aqua Nomadic Beach Bag by Reform Studio is an instant classic; with its pastel shades and fringe embellishment, it’s the perfect carryall for that al fresco lunch date. Femi Handbags’ Ameena Midi style however, with its brightly hued, hand-loomed Aso-Oke, packs a color punch, delivering a hefty dose of fun and sartorial panache that comes alive in the nighttime. Turn to Shekudo’s Tinubu Slide or a chic flat of your choice when running errands, or, if you’re taking the jumpsuit out for the night, step into a slick, high-heeled boot that’ll surely support your dancing the night away.
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