BY Omolayo Nkem, 8:34am July 06, 2017,

How to Dress and Stand Out at a Gala, Pan-African Style

Attending an African Gala is a unique blend of glam and personal and cultural expression. Imagine a Nigerian wedding meets the Met Gala, and you have the attire for a glamorous evening of cocktails, red-carpet posing, and a 3-course dinner with entertainment.

So you can’t just walk up to such an illustrious event in any ol’ outfit, you gotta come ready to impress. So here are some tips for choosing the perfect outfit for an African Gala:

Embrace your culture

There’s going to be plenty of Ankara and other African prints during a gala, so this is the time to whip out that long ankara ball gown in the back of your closet. Even if you don’t have a full attire with African print, it’s always a classy touch to add. Men can wear African print bow ties or pocket square. Women can wear a glamorous Ankara head scarf, or come with traditional bangles and other jewelry. If you don’t rock Afro-chique at an African gala when else can you?!

How to Dress and Stand Out at a Gala, Pan-African Style

Touch of western attire

Although you can totally feel free to go full Akan prince, or Igbo princess, most people attend galas in African attire with a western flare. But if you want to don your full traditional regalia, no one will stop you – as long as you look dressed to the 9s for a red carpet event.

How to Dress and Stand Out at a Gala, Pan-African Style

Choose the long ballgown over the cocktail dress

Galas are black tie events, so you want to be dressed your very best. There will be plenty of press and opportunities for you to get your own selfie game on, so you don’t want to be the polo wearing guy in a group shot of tuxedos. Don’t break the bank trying to impress randoms, but definitely come ready for a night of high flying African fashion.

How to Dress and Stand Out at a Gala, Pan-African Style

Wear the right shoes & accessories

Shoes and accessories take your outfit to the next level so make sure you wear appropriate and complimentary ones. You likely wouldn’t wear sneakers with an evening gown or flip-flops with a suit. When dressing, just use your head and make sure you’ll be comfortable. If you are planning to wear heels, think about transportation and how much you might have to stand. Sandals in the purse anyone? If your gala is having a dinner portion, then you know you might not have to stand in your heels for too long.


How to Dress and Stand Out at a Gala, Pan-African Style

Be Yourself

The most important thing about getting dressed for any event, is expressing yourself. Find an outfit that compliments your body shape and suits your sense of style. First impressions make a huge difference, and the only thing that speaks louder than your outfit is your confidence and ease in wearing said outfit.

There you have it! All the tips you need for appropriate attire to an African Gala. Got your outfit ready and no gala to attend? That must mean you haven’t bought your ticket for Face2face Africa’s FACE List Awards, the main event of the Pan-African Event scheduled for July 13-16th in NYC. For the 6th year in a row, Face2Face Africa is celebrating pan-African excellence ins style, elegance, and a whole lot of glamour.  It’s a star-studded night and a weekend full of great opportunities to network and be inspired. To find out more about the events and get your tickets, head to the Pan-African Weekend site.

All photos on this page are from Karen All of Living My Bliss InStyle .

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: July 6, 2017


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