Why purposeful pairing and compellingly coordinated ensembles are always in style.
Oct 26, 2020
Just last year, InStyle magazine published an article that scientifically declared looks considered “too coordinated” a fashion sin. Citing a study called “The Science of Style: In Fashion, Colors Should Only Match Moderately” in which researchers at the University of North Carolina asked participants to rate clothing according to how "fashionable, good, and liked" they considered them, the piece explored whether "matchy-matchy" looks are really the fashion no-no that some consider them to be. Interestingly enough, they arrived at the conclusion that "maximum fashionableness is attained when outfits are neither too coordinated nor too different”, an idea that experts surmised as being in line with the natural human tendency to seek balance.
Be the science as it may, we can’t agree entirely. Is there any other ensemble that makes you look as instantly pulled together and chic, sans effort, as a coordinating top and bottom? It’s almost as easy as just slipping on a dress: both pieces working in harmony with the other to bring about a reassuring synchronicity that’s sure to prove an antidote to the chaos of everyday life. So, whether you’re putting together a nighttime look that pops, or just want something chic to spend a workday in, here are our favorite coordinating sets to create your own swoon-worthy matching moment. Shop the full collection, here.
Photo: Ojongo Suit Set. Emmy Kasbit
Emmy Kasbit’s Ojongo Suit Set
This Suit Set from Nigerian ready-to-wear brand Emmy Kasbit is an exercise in modern sophistication. The hand-crafted offbeat set offers its wearer an air of refinement and an undeniable cool factor. There's also something deliciously soothing about the brand’s designer, Emmanuel Okoro’s choice of color. The soft, almost pastel-like lavender colored blazer blends seamlessly with the rich, grapey purple of the set’s woven tapered trousers. And while there’s no denying the garments’ expert tailoring and sharp cuts, an unexpected flap detailing on the oversized jacket introduces a welcome touch of eccentricity to the ensemble. A full “look” in its own right, the set requires minimal styling and accessorizing as its notch lapel and button detail, as well as the unusual woven pattern emblazoned across the bottoms, are all you’ll need to turn heads. We advise choosing the most delicate of jewelry options to go along with this suit; slight huggie sleepers on the ears and a fine gold chain upon the neck are really all that’s called for.
Photo: Wide Leg Pants and Cropped Jacket. Lisa Folawiyo
Lisa Folawiyo’s Cropped Jacket and Wide Leg Pants
Over the past few years, Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo has emerged as something of a celebrity favorite, her garments being donned by some of the world’s most stylish women including Issa Rae, Lupita Nyong'o, and more. Artisanally made by local communities using eco-friendly upcycling practices, the designer’s matching Cropped Jacket and Wide Leg Pants serve as fine evidence as to why the brand is beloved by Hollywood glitterati. Cut from a soft, breathable cotton, Folawiyo’s streamlined set is a visually arresting choice for the fearless, the patterns of its contrasting, patterned panels of cotton mesmerizing in their complexity. Peer at both garments a little closer and you’ll notice the abstractly depicted women dancing across hues of navy blue and white, baroque embellishment completing the ornate visual. And where the trousers sit mid-waist, the matching jacket is cropped, these two precisely shaped garments combining to create a flattering silhouette that exudes confidence and poise no matter what you style it with.
Photo: Sohan Shirt and Rume Pants. Orange Culture
Orange Culture’s Sohan Shirt and Rume Pants
Made from a luxurious crinkle silk where swirling tones of tangerine, sapphire, mossy green, and buttercup yellow spiral among muted notes of black and white, Orange Culture’s matching Sohan Shirt and Rume Pants is the type of colorful, look-at-me get up that we simply can’t resist. Made in Nigeria’s capital of Lagos, the loose-fitting shirt features a wrap detail and detachable belt, meaning that you’re free to play around with the silhouette as you please. Our favourite element of the audacious pairing has to be those slick little ankle slits that complete the slim-leg pant. Though barely discernible at first glance, the slits are a savvy addition that allows your choice of footwear to share in the spotlight. We suggest stepping into the bona-fide closet staple that is the barely-there stiletto sandal: effortlessly chic and exceptionally subtle, it’s a choice that’ll ensure the audacious set remains the main event.
Photo: Blouson Ladder Shirt and A-Line Ladder Skirt. Studio 189
Studio 189’s Blouson Shirt and A-Line Ladder Skirt
Made from the highest quality cotton, this hand-batiked shirt and skirt set by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah’s label, Studio 189, is an artisanal answer to the traditional, professional look of a pencil skirt and matching jacket. Painstakingly crafted by local Ghanaian artisans in a process that can take up to two weeks to complete, the black and blue button down features blouson sleeves, a charming detail that imparts an air of femininity, while the matching A-Line skirt emphasises this feeling with its classic, ladylike shape. Swashed in eye-catching blue prints that were created using the traditional Batik method (an Indonesian technique—that has a long history of use in Ghana— wherein motifs are cut into stamps that are dipped into hot wax and impressed onto the fabric), this pairing is a no-nonsense get up that radiates an understated strength.
Photo: Point Fringe Skirt and Dress. Awa Meite
Awa Meite’s Point Fringe Skirt and dress
Based in Mali’s Bamako, the collections of designer Awa Meité’s eponymous label are an exercise in sustainable simplicity, many of their artisanally crafted garments looking sensational when paired together. Take the brand’s Point Fringe Skirt and Dress for example; while the black and white co-ords can certainly be worn separately for a more pared-back effect, wearing one with the other creates a bold statement look that we love. Both garments feature a captivating geometric print and purposefully “unfinished” appearance and when teamed together, they impart an air of clear confidence and singular elegance. Made from traditional mudcloth, the skirt (which sits mid-waist) and dress (which doubles as a top in this case) can easily be pulled off with little to no accessorizing, although we’re partial to the sense of cohesion a beaded earring in corresponding colors and minimalist, slip-on mule lends.
Studio 189’s Green and Monochrome Blazer and Andy Pant Sets
Another hit from Studio 189, the brand’s Double Breasted Blazer and Andy Pant sets (available in both a striped mossy green and classic black and white) deliver all the power of the pantsuit with none of the stuffiness. Though they’re undeniably sophisticated creations, the hand-woven, textured fugu fabric from which they are rendered and their boxy fit make them equally casual and unpretentious. Thanks to this laid-back spirit, they are the perfect ensembles for everything from a day running errands to a relaxed lunch date. We're all for teaming the monochrome set with a classic sneaker style in a bright color to add that extra bit of allure. If green’s your color, you know where to turn: pair the classically cut blazer and pants with a fitted white T-shirt, and a pair of dainty, flat sandals, to channel the feel-good spirit of summer even through these cooler months.
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