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Tips for wearing African Dashiki Clothing

Silver Ant Marketing

In recent years, we've seen the popularity of African clothing transcend borders and cultures. Traditional African attire is becoming a major trend, seen at many top events, magazines, and on Instagram, thanks to our favorite fashion influencers, celebs, and designers. However, there's one standout star that always steals the spotlight: The African Dashiki. 

People from diverse backgrounds are drawn to the unique beauty and authenticity of African Dashiki embracing it as a symbol of individuality and cultural appreciation. 

And why wouldn't they? Aren't we so used to subdued tones of pastels, blacks, and whites? The eye-popping colors, intricate patterns, and rich cultural elements of Dashiki dresses truly feel like a breath of fresh air in the fashion world. 

In this blog, we've decided to give our readers an in-depth outlook on the popular African Dashiki clothing and all the stunning ways you can style it. Let's go!

What is African Dashiki Clothing?

The word Dashiki comes from the Yoruba term “Dan ciki” which refers to a loose-fit shirt initially developed as a practical work tunic for men. African Dashiki shirts in their most original form are loose-fit pullover garments. They have a V-neckline with elaborate embroidery and gorgeous colorful patterns that reflect their West African roots, specially tailored for the region's humid climate. 

In present-day West Africa, individuals commonly wear tunics crafted from hand-woven or machine-woven textiles sometimes featuring sleeves and gussets, paired with coordinated trousers for casual streetwear. In the 1960s, the Dashiki gained popularity in the African diasporic communities and later became a fashion statement, alongside other Afrocentric styles. This was possibly influenced by the African students and diplomats in NYC. Toon van de Manakker, a Vlisco textile designer, created the classic dashiki, drawing inspiration from 19th-century Ethiopian noblewomen's garments. New Breed Clothing Limited founders further modernized the dashiki, coining its name and mass-producing it, making it accessible to a wider audience.

Now, the Dashiki dresses are popularized in the United States, available in many different styles, ranging from sleeveless tunics to pullover shirts or Kaftans with short or flowing bat sleeves. Notably, the African Dashiki has also transcended gender boundaries with both genders uniquely styling it. Women mostly go for short Dashiki dresses, full-length maxis, and other creative cuts. 

What does Dashiki symbolize? 

The African Dashiki carries powerful symbolism, representing a connection and appreciation for African Clothing and traditions. It is a celebration of Black pride. Since the late 1960s, African Americans have embraced Dashiki as a way to affirm their roots and honor their history. It has become a unisex staple, especially during Black History Month, symbolizing unity and cultural affirmation. 

Revival of African Dashiki Fashion

The African Dashiki Fashion had a revival in popularity after 2016 on a global scale. The iconic garment is one of the most trend-setting casual wear and street wear choices, especially for people of African descent. Celebrities, including Amandla Stenberg, Beyoncé, Drake, and Rihanna, among others, quickly embraced the trend, using the dashiki as a means to celebrate their identity through fashion. 

Many fashion designers took the opportunity and designed stunning pieces using the vibrant Angelina fabric, African print brocade, silk, lace, suiting, or cotton fabrics. 

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker wore a dashiki designed by Kevin Afuwah for Royal Kulture at a Nordstrom event. In 2014, Jhene Aiko also wore a dashiki to promote her new single, “The Pressure,” in Vogue.

All the Fashionable Ways Women can Style their Dashiki Dresses

Styling Dashiki dresses is all about expressing your individual love for fashion in a fun and creative way. Whether you're strolling through the streets or attending a formal event, knowing how to style your Dashiki the right way is sure to turn heads.

First off, it's important to let the patterns and vibrant colors take center stage by keeping the rest of your outfit low-key with neutral pieces. 

You can combine a lot of looks based on the occasion. If it's simply a day out in the streets, go for a loose African Dashiki top with minimal embroidery and pair it with plain jeans and comfy sandals, completing the look with gold hoops, layered necklaces and funky sunglasses. 

When dressing up for special occasions like birthdays, dates, and college parties, slip into a Dashiki mini dress paired with strappy heels minimalistic jewelry, and a statement clutch. 

For formal events, choose a Dashiki floor-length gown with intricate embroidery around the neckline and cuffs. Put the whole look together with statement stilettos and bold jewelry for extra glam. 

If you're aiming for a unique work look, layer a Dashiki shirt over tailored pants and top it off with a structured blazer and a statement tote bag. Keep the rest of the outfit neutral to let the dashiki pattern stand out while still looking polished and professional.

Additionally, dashiki dresses are incredibly inclusive in sizing, making them suitable for all body types. Whether you opt for a plus size or a standard size, you can easily achieve a regal and flattering look for any occasion.

Dashiki Looks for Men

African Dashiki attire is perfect for men looking to blend traditional outfits with modern fashion trends. Unlike in the past, when draped dashikis were common, the current trend leans towards fully tailored suits, offering both formal and informal variations. 

The African Dashiki caters to both formal and casual occasions. Casual Dashiki typically features traditional embroidery while the formal options come in three main styles: Sokoto, Senegalese Kaftan, and Grand boubou. The Sokoto consists of drawstring trousers paired with a matching kufi, known as the Dashiki suit. The Senegalese kaftan includes an ankle-length shirt, Sokoto pants, and a matching Kufi. The Grand Boubou combines a Dashiki top with matching pants and agbada. 

Men can style Dashiki in numerous creative yet eye-catching ways. A vibrant African shirt with jeans or chinos worn with either sneakers or sandals can make for an ideal everyday look with an African aesthetic. For a contemporary twist, you can put on a tailored blazer or a denim jacket over your Dashiki shirt, perfect for special occasions. Even for men, Dashiki clothing is available in a spectrum of colors, each with a unique symbolic meaning. It's always a good idea to keep a handy pair of plain white or black pants as they can go with any Dashiki shirt. 

Dashikis are a popular choice for African weddings, parties, and festivals. Whether going for a tailored Dashiki shirt or a complete Dashiki suit set, men can showcase their style confidently while embracing tradition and modernity.

Accessorizing with Dashiki

The informal dashiki is the one you’ll usually see worn in everyday life and usually comes with a traditional print or as an embroidered dashiki. Accessorizing can make or break your style, allowing for creative expression while also celebrating the eye-catching colors and prints of the garment. 

For jewelry, think chunky necklaces, beaded bracelets, or minimalistic gold earrings. Choose pieces that complement the colors of your Dashiki attire while adding visual interest to your outfit. 

For headwear, complete your look with traditional African headwraps of as vibrant shades as the outfit. Alternatively, you can wear wide-brimmed hats and caps and complete the look with a colorful scarf draped over your shoulders for added glam. 

Choose sunglasses that complement the shape of your eyes and facial structure in a frame color that complements the colors of your Dashiki. 

Pro tip, for Dashiki women's clothing like mini dresses and long maxi shirts, define your waist and add structure to your dress by adding a statement belt.

Wrapping it Up

African Dashiki has evolved over time and continues to do so, making it a timeless fashion staple. With an immense worldwide following, It is no longer just for Africans. The popularity of dashiki inspires us to design African print clothing that can be integrated into your day-to-day outfits.  Apparel stores have a variety of dashiki to choose from. 

In addition to being incredibly comfortable, it’s also fun to wear and it’s ideal for hot, humid weather due to its loose fit. The size and shape of the garment means anyone can wear it, no matter what their shape or size.

Celebrate culture with the traditional African Dashiki clothing. Visit the African stars and browse through our collection of Dashiki dresses, T-shirts, suits, and more!

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