Five ways to pull off a mean swag

How to look stylishly African every day

The upcoming Mebala brand, consisting of African-inspired luggage and accessories.
The upcoming Mebala brand, consisting of African-inspired luggage and accessories.
Image: Mebala/Instagram

Tlhalefang Moeletsi surprised the 2020 Design Indaba audiences with his passion for fashion design.

The PhD in economics student and research analyst for the World Bank was selected as an emerging creative for his beautiful Mebala brand, consisting of African-inspired luggage and accessories.

He shares his styling tips for gents on how to incorporate African-inspired accessories into their wardrobes.

Prints and patterns for beginners

Prints and patterns may appear to be difficult to pull off but the trick is to pare it down with solid colours that will complement and add balance to the look.

The solid colour breaks up the patterns and prints, making the outfit look stylish, modern, and not too matchy-matchy. Pair a bold African print blazer with plain trousers and neutral accessories.

For a weekend braai, swap out the trousers for a cool pair of shorts in the same colour family.

Stepping out of your neutral zone

Show off your African pride without drawing too much attention to yourself. A subtle way to incorporate African prints into your style is through luggage and accessories.

Look out for customised luggage and stylish bags that have the African print fused into their designs. If you’re a die-hard fan of leather – get the lining of your messenger bag and satchels fitted with an African-print lining.

The accessory could also be a wallet, cardholder, or laptop sleeve.

Wearing prints in the workplace

African prints at the workplace are a great way to express your personality and can be a good conversation starter. If your workplace allows for a little wiggle room when it comes to wardrobe, accessories are your best bet.

Swap out the chunky laptop bag for a fashionable African-printed backpack.

For a more relaxed work look, pair a white golfer with a pair of printed trousers, finished off with a lightweight jacket.

Accessories to wear at traditional events

When attending a wedding or any other traditional celebrations, keep your outfit stylish and functional.

Accessorise with a small sling bag that has pocket details, which makes it easy to fit under your arm and keep all your essential items.

For his-and-hers traditional outfits, opt for a darker shade of the same print than hers. This way you complement each other without looking identical.

The must-have accessory

Bucket hats are hailed for their versatility and superpower to make every outfit look fresh.

For a best-dressed look, pair a printed bucket hat with a utility vest, sweatpants, and sneakers. Another must-have is African prints on shoes, which are available on sneakers and as print accents on formal shoes.

For a casual look, step out in printed sneakers with denim shorts and a white T-shirt, or pair any formal suit and trousers with printed leather shoes for your next business meeting.


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