African Fashion, Design trends

The versatility of Ankara and African batik shift dresses


Shift dresses are loose-fitting dresses with a silhouette that does not fit at the waist or conform to mold the shape of the wearer. Shift dresses are chic and roomy making it a perfect summer day casual outfit. They have been around since the 1920s but went out of style and made a comeback around the 1960s when Audrey Hepburn wore a Givenchy shift dress for Breakfast At The Tiffany’s. It was further made popular when Lily Pulitzer made one for Jackie Kennedy

A shift dress is a common staple in any girl’s wardrobe as it bares versatility and range as it can be worn to almost any occasion so long as it is properly accessorized. Ankara shift dresses can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. You can transform a shift dress from casual afternoon wear to a chic evening with the addition of a fancy belt and heels.

An Ankara shift dress is typically simple, sleek, and fits seamlessly into all segments of a woman’s wardrobe. They are dresses you can wear to the church by 9 am and show up for brunch at 1 pm. A shift dress is perfect for different events so let me paint different scenarios and how to perfectly style your shift dress to fit each one.


We all know you can meet your future husband anywhere so you can’t run errands looking like a sack of potatoes. A shift dress is perfect for errands because is typically free and allows for a lot of movement. To be more comfortable, you can pair an above-the-knee shift with leggings.


Picnics are usually relaxed events so a cute shift dress and sandals will suffice. A cross bag paired with sandals for a shift dress is the perfect accessory for a picnic day. You can forgo the sandal and put on a sneaker with leather bracelets to give it the casual hip look.


Shift dresses also work for cold days. A nicely colored turtle neck that matches the shift dress can be worn inside the dress to give it the layers look. If the dress does not give room for an inner turtle neck, you can pair it with a chick jacket. All of these can be worn with thick leggings and boots. Add a barrette and you have that Emily In Paris feels.

Amber Blue Adire silk batik gown


Some evenings can be both casual and formal and you can be caught in the space of indecision. It could be an event where you don’t want to be too formal in a dinner dress and you don’t want to be casual so shift dresses to the rescue. In this case, a shift dress can be paired with a belt, shining or dangling accessories, and a pair of high-heeled shoes.

There is so much to be done with shift dresses and I haven’t begun to scratch the surface. You can pair them with almost anything; a blazer, bold necklaces, silk scarves, leather jacket, and many more. So go forth and slay in your shift dresses.

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