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How to Accessorize with Ankara

Updated on July 17, 2016
Cameroonian designer wearing scarf, earings and bangles accessories made of Ankara
Cameroonian designer wearing scarf, earings and bangles accessories made of Ankara | Source

Why Accesorize

Accessories can create entire new looks from the same outfit.

Your basic black dress which is a regular workhorse for your 9 to 5, can be transformed into an upbeat party dress with a few well chosen Ankara accessories.

Accessories are the secret to your own unique style, and will make you stand out even if someone else turns up at an event with the same outfit.

Ankara Inspired Accessories set

AfricaBlooms - African Jewelry for women with Bold & Rich Print Fabric - Ankara Print - Dashiki for Women
AfricaBlooms - African Jewelry for women with Bold & Rich Print Fabric - Ankara Print - Dashiki for Women

This set of ankara accessories will pick up any outfit. They are perfect with a simple monochrome dress.


How to Accessorize with Ankara

  1. Ankara is vibrant and colorful, so at the start of your accessorizing adventure, only pair them with neutral or monochrome outfits.
  2. If you are going to use accessories from different fabrics, wear them in one area. That is, you can wear a collection of different colorful bangles on your arm.
  3. However try not to pair that with a statement necklace featuring a different ankara fabrics. The designer in the picture at the beginning of this hub wisely decided to leave her neck free of accessories.
  4. If you use an ankara head wrap or scarf, pairing it with a bag of the same fabric looks extremely chic.
  5. Don't be too color conscious when accessorizing with ankara. That is do not wear only purple themed pieces with your purple outfit. Ankara should bring a blast of controlled riotous color into your style.
  6. Wear only one large piece at a time. The other accessories should be smaller. This is to ensure you don't look like you are dressed in costume.

Pictures of Ankara fabric

Varieties of Ankara Fabric
Varieties of Ankara Fabric | Source

Ankara Fabric

Ankara is an African inspired, 100% cotton fabric with vibrant colors and complex designs.

Traditionally ankara is worn is wrappers and boubous across Africa.

Recently it has re-emerged as a modern design choice for exotic outfits which can be worn at formal, corporate or informal events.

An even more recent trend is to use Ankara for Accessories. These could be bangles earings, necklaces, belts , purses and headwraps.

Picture of Ankara Earrings

Simple Loop Ankara Earrings
Simple Loop Ankara Earrings | Source

Types of Ankara Accesories

Ankara Earrings

These are usually droop earrings. These are made with the ankara fabric and foam or padding on a metal base.You could also glue fabric over an old earring.

It is best not to pair large ankara earings with a big neck piece as this often looks overwhelmingly busy.

Ankara earings make a bold statement and can be used as the sole accessory for an outfit even if it is colored. In that case, the neck should be left bare.

How to Tie Ascot Gele

Trendy Ankara Head Scarf - The Ascot Gele

At the height of the African fashion scene is the trendy unique head wrap referred to as Ascot gele.

The Ascot gele is inspired by western hat designs and is tied to form a rose shaped fabric cluster usually to one side of the head.

Fabulous Ascot Gele

Fabulous Ascot Gele - This one is with aso-oke fabric.
Fabulous Ascot Gele - This one is with aso-oke fabric. | Source

Pictures of Ankara Bracelets

Ankara and African Horn bangles
Ankara and African Horn bangles | Source

Ankara Bracelets

These bracelets or bangles are simple to wear. Since they are on the wrists and relatively some distance from the neck, they could be easily paired with other accessories.

They are best worn at least two at a time. These bangles can easily be slipped on and off.

Once you have a sizeable collection, you can even put a few on a straw basket and use them as room decorative pieces.

Best Ankara Accessories

If you are going for a party whose dress code is "accessorized black", which ankara acessory would you prefer to spice up the outfit with

See results

Ankara Purse

My Purse, my creation, my ankara clutch
My Purse, my creation, my ankara clutch | Source

Ankara Clutch Purse

A bag, any bag makes a statement. Taking an ankara with you is a sure way to invite discussion at any party.

They come in an endless variety of colors and sizes. The simplest is the envelope clutch pictured here. It has a band and bow across the front to add some detail to it.

Ankara Accessories Don'ts


Ankara Accessories Don'ts

Bear in mind that fashion is very individual and depends a lot on confidence and personal style, so the don'ts below are merely a guide.

The lovely couple in Ankara have wisely stayed away from ankara accessories.

  1. Too many large accessories, ankara or not are not quite appropriate for a formal corporate event or job interview (unless it is for a fashion related job). I shudder to think of appearing for a job interview in a staid institution decked out in Ankara bracelets, earings and topped off with an intricate ascot gele.
  2. Do not carry an anakara clutch with an ankara outfit unless they are made from the same fabric.
  3. Do not wear an ankara outfit and accessorize with lots of ankara. It usually turns out to be riotous and uncoordinated.

Accessorizing with Ankara

Ankara accessories are bold fashion pieces made from Ankara fabric. They include bags, shoes, bracelets, earings and neckpieces.

You can use them to brighten up an outfit. They are best utilized when you want to stand out, no one can blend with the wall paper when holding a bold ankara clutch purse.


Try Ankara accessories for a season and let us know how it went!


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