How to Wear an African Maxi Skirt

How to Wear an African Maxi Skirt
African print fashion is versatile and can be worn throughout the year. Dress it down in warmer months and adapt it for winter by pairing it with ankle boots and thick sweaters.

It’s wedding season guys, so you will be seeing a lot more African print maxi skirts. This timeless print is sassy and gorgeous, and it makes the wearer look taller and distinguished. My favorite part about these skirts, however, is that they have pockets- that’s it, I’m sold.

But how do you style an African maxi skirt, also known as Ankara?

Read: You can also learn about styling an African maxi dress here.

Well, it depends on the occasion. You can dress up an African maxi skirt for a wedding or event, or wear it casually for a lunch date with the girls or errands around town.

Today, we will look at different designs and silhouettes of Ankara skirts and how to wear them accordingly. I’ve never been more excited to do a guide than I am now, so let’s go.

Interested in the history of African print or Ankara? Read this amazing piece.

Easy with a Tee

Don’t overthink it- a simple t-shirt or long sleeve t-shirt top will do, if you pair it with a round Ankara maxi and heeled sandals. If you choose a plain t-shirt, make a knot at the waist instead of tucking it in. This gives it that crop top vibe and allows you to accessorize like a young, modern girl.

Speaking of accessories, we don’t shy away from going overboard when wearing African print. Loud jewelry, oversized eyewear, hats and exaggerated nails are all in. But you can also tone it down with a long-sleeved top and heels.

Casual with a Trendy Top

Most African maxi skirts are voluminous, so pairing them with a minimal top really works. Tank tops look too plain, but I love this lacy type because it looks so feminine. You can also go with a one-shoulder, strapless or crop top.

Minimal jewelry is best here, and you can finish with heels and a clutch bag.

Playful with a Shirt

I say playful because we are not trying to dress up for the office here. When you wear a button-down shirt with an African maxi, it has nothing to do with making it formal. That’s why women will wear the shirt on the shoulders like a crop top or accessorize with screaming African jewelry.

This outfit, paired with a stiletto or pointed-toe pumps looks amazing for weddings, events and church.

Hot with Denim

I will keep preaching about this- denim makes everything look good. It especially elevates the African print and makes it look more youthful.

Try a round African maxi skirt with a deep blue denim shirt and heels. I’ve seen girls tuck in the shirt, but I prefer making a knot at the waist instead. For accessories, do layered bangles on one hand, a leather watch on the other and a bold red lip for that pop.

My favorite though, is the denim jacket, as you may have guessed. This works with any silhouette with a white or matching top underneath and banging earrings.

Pencil African Skirts and Exaggerated Blouses

If you know any rich African aunt, they will show up to weddings looking like a billion bucks. The gorgeous exaggerated blouses with chiffon, glitter and feathers are the secret when paired with a figure-hugging long pencil skirt and heels.

Let’s not forget the African headband and the glittery clutch that pull everything together. And did I mention their makeup and nails are always on point? It’s a look only a woman of color can pull off, and we are here for it.

Toned Ankara Skirt and Trendy Top

I say this with deep sadness, but not every woman can stand the bright, multi-colored print that is Ankara. That doesn’t mean they should steer clear of Ankara skirts, though. African maxi fabrics also come in plain or toned patterns that are clearly African but not too floral.

This yellow wrap skirt is a winner for any event or gathering at church or home. It’s elegant, figure-hugging and easy to style with a long sleeve top, stilettos and minimal accessories. She repeated the black prints on the skirt with her top and accessories, which was a genius move. As for the yellow, you will notice the earrings and the headband got that covered.

The Aso-ebi red skirt is also fabulous, with muted prints and a lovely pencil silhouette. Pair that with a white blouse or button-down shirt, heels and a clutch for any event.

Home Casual Ankara Skirt

I’m sure by now you are wondering- where is that casual look you said we can run errands with? All these look so classy and elegant.

Fret not. Wearing an Ankara maxi skirt casually is as easy as changing your shoes to sneakers or sandals. Granted, not all African maxi skirts can come down to a casual level, but many of them can, especially if they are ankle-length, not floor-length.

Pair any of these skirts with a simple tee or minimal tops, a denim jacket or sweater and head on out. For accessories, minimal eyewear and a sun hat will do so the sun doesn’t ruin your style. Instead of a clutch, carry a straw basket or a sling bag.

And because I’m nice, here are a couple of looks for inspiration.

How do you wear an African maxi skirt for winter?

African maxi skirts have a thick wax cotton fabric, which is perfect for winter, besides being long. Wear them with a warm t-shirt and sweater, and keep the legs warm with leggings and knee boots. A scarf is also a welcome accessory, worn on the neck or the head.

When do you wear an African maxi skirt?

African print may look like a summer and spring vibe, but it works all year long. You can dress it down casually during the warmer months and pull out some ankle boots and thick sweaters during winter. If the overly colorful print feels intimidating to you, choose something more muted you can wear any day.

Lior Shapiro

I love clothes with pockets and dresses, and I think any woman can pull off a good maxi dress.
I believe women's clothes with pockets make the world a better place.