Kitenge prints are currently quite the sensation among fashion lovers both locally and internationally. At the rate its popularity has grown, it’s hard to imagine that in the recent past, kitenge used to be associated with elderly, mature women (some with a sense of style and a magnanimous head gear ; read Orie Rogo Manduli) and even with people from shagz who had yet to discover boutique copy-cat clothes.
However, most people still shy away from the kitenge because the tricky thing about the print is how loudly it calls attention to itself. Most kitenge prints are so vivid and vibrant they seem only fit for the most festive of occasions e.g. fashion galas and weddings which is where I see a lot of kitenge print.
Nevertheless, there is no reason to not rock this fabulous print for less festive occasions like evening dates and the like. The delicate balance is to stand out and look amazing but not overdone as often happens where the kitenge is concerned. So here are five ways to rock the kitenge print for an evening out:
1. Avoid a very busy print
The vivid prints are what make the kitenge popular among many, but for an evening out, it is highly recommended that you ditch the ever busy prints and go for those with smaller and not-so-visible-to-the-eye prints. If you’re feeling stubborn and insist on sticking to the vibrant prints, you’re better off wearing with a short dress- preferably strapless. At all costs, for evenings, keep away from long dresses with very vibrant kitenge prints because they can be overwhelming to the eye.
For an evening out, most people usually opt for fabrics like silk or satin due to their glossy appearance. Waxed kitenge is a great alternative as it will give you the sheen that you so greatly desire.
3.Mix it up.
To spice things up, combine your kitenge with another plain fabric that is suitable for the evening. That way, you can choose to keep your very busy pattern but you will have softened it up by incorporating the other fabric. This works really well for men who wear plain evening wear and top it up with a kitenge print coat.
4 Minimal jewelry
Even with minimal prints going on, you’d do well to keep it simple with your jewelry; you ought not to be looking over the top on your special night. Metallic pieces are great and I would also recommend that you avoid jewelry with multicolored African beads on them as you might end up looking like your attending a wedding rather than your date. If again you insist on donning some African jewelry, make it monochrome rather than multicolored. You don’t want to end up looking like a Christmas tree!
5. Add details onto your dress
What makes one evening dress stand out from the other is the detailing you are bound to find in that dress. Think frills, asymmetrical shapes/designs, low/high necklines, cowl necklines; these are what you need for your perfect night out.
About the Guest Writer:
Mwangi Eva is a 21 year old Fashion student at Kenyatta University. She writes fashion articles for Couture Africa Magazine and Zen Magazine.
Follow her on twitter @MwangiEva