Have you heard? You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it. At least, that’s what Academy Award-winning costume designer Edith Head supposedly said.
Ah, if only things were that easy. Although, when you think about it, there must be some truth to that statement. Otherwise, what is ‘dressing for success and ‘power dressing’ all about if not to dress for something you envision attaining (i.e., success and power, respectively)?
The way you dress also communicates your identity, uniqueness, and individuality. Case in point: Afro chic clothing. You can not be more unique and more comfortable in your own skin than when you wear tribal brand clothing. The gorgeously bold patterns and color combinations shout — nay, scream — ‘Look at me!’
That’s not the point of this write-up, though. The fact is that what you wear has an impact and makes a clear stand. It can tell people what you aspire to become or what you’ve achieved.
If you wish to brand yourself as edgy, someone who is at the forefront of fashion trends, ahead of the times, or refuses to be boxed and labeled, here are a few fashion-forward styling tips for you.
- Go Afro Boho
Afro chic clothing features gorgeous color and pattern combinations. If you want to stand out from a crowd, there’s no easier way of doing that than to wear a white dreamy, flowy boho dress with a stunningly detailed and colorful embroidered collar.
You can also wear a fitted ensemble — a sapphire-blue top and a fitted but wispy thin short skirt or long pants — and top it with a loose open white tunic cape or kaftan with a colorful, distinctly African embroidery on the lapels and bordering the sleeve ends.
The only thing about this way of dressing is that when you wear an Afro boho dress once, people will remember. However, waiting three months before you wear your boho outfit again would be such a waste, which brings us to the next tip.
- Change Things Up
Use accessories to create distinct looks out of the same outfit. Using the example above, you can frequently wear the same Boho outfit without losing your edgy flair.
One time, you can go all out by adding more boho accessories like golden disc earrings, thick golden bangles, and over-the-top gladiator heels. You can even add a hair wreath made of feathers or flowers.
Another time, you can go the minimalist route, removing the accessories entirely and going bare or choosing understated pieces. For instance, you can go with a pendant on a thin gold necklace or layer several delicate gold links of different lengths to create a simple but still visually intriguing statement piece. If you want something bohemian, you can look into shell jewelry eternity trend collars. You can also wear stud earrings, a dainty watch, a simple charm ankle bracelet, then finish the whole look with strappy sandals.
Another time, you can wear your hair differently, say, wear it in braids or a French twist and change your footwear to ballet flats or even trainers.
- Wear It Differently
If you want to be edgier, you must be comfortable with challenging fashion norms.
You don’t have to go so far out. You can begin by challenging your own style. Instead of wearing your shirt tucked in or tucked out, for instance, why not tuck only part of the shirt? You can tuck the left half of a white button-down shirt into your pants and leave the left half hanging out. You can also tuck the front in and leave the back out.
Yes, it’s not exactly revolutionary, but it’s a change and a step in the right direction.
Another time, you can wear the legs of your jeans cuffed. Cuff it higher than the norm; that can be interesting. Then wear high heels with your cuffed jeans, then wear a leather top. It doesn’t matter what combination you use. It should just be a beautiful study in contrast.
If you often wear a blazer, try it one time with a belt on top, even when it’s not meant to be worn with a belt. Instead of using a leather belt, you can even belt your blazer with a piece of string, a colorful scarf, a long chain necklace, a ribbon, or even a piece of braided fabric.
How about the Afro boho example above? Of course, you can add to or subtract from the outfit and modify it. Wear your Afro chic kaftan dress closed and belted instead of open. You can change the outfit underneath to all white, all black, or some other color combinations. You can even wear all denim underneath. How about wearing a sheath dress under the kaftan?
Meanwhile, you can create pleats on your boho dress using safety pins, tape, or some such devices. You can add a sash on it or wear a metal chain belt. You can also shorten your dress or change its natural silhouette. Of course, you can also wear pants underneath to turn the dress into a long top, or you can turn the dress into a skirt and wear a shirt on top.
- Funk It Up
Finally, you could also seriously consider pairing classic pieces with funkier items in your wardrobe. How about matching black or white linen pants with an Afro retro cropped top denim? That would create a fascinating contrast. Or how about covering up your long, flowy Afro retro tunic dress with a structured blazer — you know, the type that says smart office wear?
You can also dress in all classic pieces — a white silk shirt, black linen pants, and black pumps — then accessorize with an Afro denim jacket, a heavy feather or wood necklace, tribal bangles, and dark Havana sunglasses.
Go Beyond the Basics
Edgy fashion is all about pushing your boundaries beyond the norm or customary. It involves combining pieces you or people around you are not accustomed to seeing together.
You’ll have to use a lot of creativity and sound judgment to ensure your style remains functional but stands out and excites.
Ethiopian-born and Dubai-based fashion designer Feiruza Mudessir discovered her curiosity to mix the traditional with contemporary at a young age, and this has become the trademark of her designs for Finchitua today. With her unique style standpoint, she served the VIP Color Forecast Panel 2017 for Al Jazeera Paints Company and VIP Color Forecast Panel 2019 for Asian Paints Berger. Ms. Mudessir is a shortlisted nominee for the prestigious Fashion Scout London 2018.