Friday, January 25, 2013

Accessories: The Balancing Act

The whole universe operates on a system which is in balance or else chaos ensues. The human body follows that same rule, oxygen which is vital for life when in excess in the body is fatal; similarly water taken in excess overworks the liver to such levels that it may fail. This rule of balance should also be applied when accessorizing. One of my biggest pet peeves is over-accessorizing. Nairobi women are very notorious in wearing all the accessories they own.  Accessories, like spices and herbs in food, should enhance your look and not be the main element.
Women often overlook other aspect of their whole look when accessorizing. Your hair when done in an intricate manner does form part of your accessory, your nails when done in colorful or neon colors , your watch, your bag and shoes. All those have to be taken into consideration. Makeup is also not to be forgotten. When we talk of accessories most people jump to earrings and neck pieces yet as in all else you have to look at the overall picture to get a clear view of what you’re working with. Another issue to be considered is the article of clothing you are wearing. Does it have bold prints and patterns?  For halter-neck dresses and tops, you have to be careful as regards the type of accessories you will be wearing, same as one shoulder pieces, its not one size fits all, ladies. Be shrewd and again the mirror is your friend but only if you've disciplined yourself to edit your looks in a way that flatters you.
 At an award ceremony last year, I was responsible for the numerous wardrobe changes the two hosts had to make during the show. At one point the lady insisted that she had to wear both her chunky neck piece and her chandelier earrings; something I was very opposed to as her outfit was already very detailed. I tried to compromise with her requesting her to choose one accessory of the two but she wouldn't listen saying she was from a particular community who were known for 'over the top' dressing and accessorizing. While I have heard of this claim, it is no excuse for you as an individual to spoil your whole look in the name of its part of your community, the only exception being you’re wearing a costume or participating in a traditional event. What is your brand and when people encounter you, what message do you want them to take home and share with others as regards who you are. The answers to those questions should be a guide to your personal style.
Another Faux pax most Kenyan ladies are fond of is the idea of wearing all your accessories in one colour. It astonishes me that in this day and age where all forms of colour blocking has been showcased; some would choose to do such an outdated trend!  What these ladies don’t know is that it makes you look dated and really part of some table decor.  While following trends is not advisable but neither is sticking to some which have left with the century. If you hate trends then stick to timeless classic pieces. My rule of thumb is that the maximum number of accessories that should match in colour is two!
Most women have one form of accessory that is their favourite be it earrings, neck pieces, rings, bangles, shoes, belts as some of the few. A few others will like two forms but in all those, you will find one form as their favourite and their go-to pieces. Mine are earrings. I have a section of my walls dedicated to earrings. Wherever I travel, I look for unique earrings and I love unique handmade pieces. As such all other accessories are secondary to those earrings in my dressing with a few exceptions when an outfit I’m wearing calls for an elaborate hairdo or needs a neck piece. So do accessorize but in a balanced flattering manner.

Friday, January 18, 2013


At least one pair of khaki pants has become a staple in almost every man's, woman's and child's wardrobe because they are so versatile. Khaki pants have been around for decades, originally relegated to work clothes and then in the 1960s and '70s, becoming popular for "nerds." Khaki trousers deserve better than the faint ridicule they've received. Naturally, the "I’m a man’s man guy wears them—saggy, baggy, dorky ones. But the new khakis balance comfort with style, says Nathan Laffin, senior vice president of Dockers Global Design. Simplify your wardrobe with a new pair (khakis go with almost anything), but buy smart.

For many of us, khaki pants are not always at eye level in our wardrobes.  They’re a step between dress pants and jeans, a gray area between business and pleasure.  Yet khakis are an important part of the modern man’s wardrobe, an item that can make an edgy outfit look refined and business wear look relaxed.

You can dress up khaki pants with a tie, navy blazer and/or a sweater or go extremely casual with a colored T-shirt and anything in between. What really makes or breaks the fashion statement with khaki pants are the accessories, belts, shoes and socks. Accessories are designed to complement an outfit, not detract from or overpower a garment. Never wear these accessories in black with khaki pants unless the shirt is black, because black is too harsh a color to complement the khaki color. Otherwise, choose a brown or colored belt, no wider than 1 1/2 inches with an understated

A nice, gray pair of khaki pants has a lot of wardrobe versatility.  Their color neutrality fits well with blacks, whites and other grays, but works just as well with the colored clothing staples you keep in your closet
If your workplace is on the traditional side when it comes to attire, it’s hard to own too much khaki.  Fortunately, traditional tan khaki is easy to accessorize in a manner that makes you stand out amongst your colleagues.  Many different solid-color dress shirts will work well with a color-neutral cardigan, and a gray or black fedora and scarf will raise the stakes a bit.

 A friend of mine asked me the other day what shoes could he pair with khaki pants especially at a smart casual work do; a fair question that does baffle some men. Try to avoid wearing sneakers. A casual boot or shoe is preferable. A sneaker speaks of immaturity–something you want to avoid. I’d say for a casual out of office event do feel free to try the new African print covered moccasins that local artistes are selling. Some are too flamboyant for some men but for the adventurous they do seem to add a kind of flair to the whole look. A vendor that comes to mind in Nairobi is Afri Tribal who can be found on face book.  So guys do re-look at your khakis and enjoy them as you do your denims.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

African Print Designs....the absolute wonder of it all!

Finally the world of fashion is paying attention to the richness of the African print. As a young African woman I've had a love hate relationship with African print outfits . This was due to the very old designs that I would often see women wearing and being the very hip person I thought I was, I could not imagine a time when I'd have to adorn any of those designs even to appease a demanding mother in law. It's been to my delight to see African print being worn in such young, fresh and interesting ways. As a stylist and personal shopper I get my share of queries for good designers, tailors and designs more so as regards African print designs. Part of my plans for this year includes ways in which i can fulfill these needs while also earning my keep. :-)

Below are just but part of designs that have captured my eye...while most are not necessarily my personal style I do believe they offer a refreshing treat for the eye and offer such a wide variety for my clients to choose.

 For those interested in outfits with similar designs to visit my face book page at Nyangi Styles where I've created an album with more prints. I am sure we can have some interesting conversation and some business ending up with you having awesome outfits

Credit does go to Vlisco, African Print Fashion and  Shadders for Images.