Celebrating Easter in Style!

Khady in Dakar

Picture 6

My husband’s Senegalese mom (did you follow that?) gave me this dress as a wedding gift, but I’ve never worn it… until today! Somehow pink embroidery just seemed right on Easter. Plus, we were going to a Senegalese friend’s house for lunch.

Picture 7

It’s a long tunic top over a skirt, and then the musoor headwrap. I like it because it’s not too frilly (pink and embroidery is girly enough for me!), fairly cool and easy to walk in.


I’m on the fence when it comes to head scarves. I want to love them – and I do on others. I think I’ve figured out that, for me, the key is not to cover all my hair. Anyone out there know if this is an acceptable halfway point, culturally speaking?

Picture 4


Karen in Burkina Faso

When we moved back to Senegal, Karen was the first toubab woman who dressed in Senegalese clothes most of the time. She lived in St-Louis at the time and carried herself with a grace and ease that I really admired. So, knowing she’d be wearing something awesome, I asked her to send a photo of her Easter clothes.


“This I wore to celebrate the 90 years that that the resurrection of Jesus has been celebrated in Burkina Faso.”


Angèle in Dakar


“I wore a blue dress made by Jones New York for Easter today. I have this weird relation with this brand. Several of my favorite pieces of clothing, whether thrifted or purchased brand new, happen to be Jones New York! I bought this at a TJ Maxx for the marked down price of $30 (normally it was close to $100). It’s cotton and I chose it because it’s comfortable, it’s bright (Easter is a happy holiday!:)),and it has pockets. I’m really into skirts and dresses with pockets right now!”


“I don’t wear this dress very much because I like to keep it for special days, but I would consider it one of my favorites! :)”


Nadia in Dakar

photo (1)

“My sister bought this dress at the Saturday market, and gave it to me. I really love the floral vintage print. My belt is from Forever 21.”


Fatou Kiné in St-Louis


You remember Fatou Kiné, right? So it’s no surprise that she went all out in full Senegalese fashion for Easter.


The women from her church do a natt, which is a weekly collection of about 500cfa per person. This money is saved for the group to spend together on a designated item, such as soap in bulk or, in this case, fabric for Easter! One person is charged with buying the fabric for everyone. Then each woman has an outfit made that’s her own style or variation. And of course, they all wear them on Easter Sunday.

STL ladies

This year’s fabric is a very light weight cotton. “I used a new tailor and I really like him,” Fatou Kiné said. “It’s amazing the different styles each woman wore given we each had six meters of the same fabric.”


Meg in Tunisia

Jumping on Easter

“I got this dress from the frippe (used clothing market) in Tunis. It was around a dollar. When I saw it, it reminded me of a slightly more grown-up version of the dresses my Mom used to make my sister and I for Easter Sunday. I love wearing flowers on Easter because they signify hope and new life.
I added ankle-length leggings because the weather here is unpredictable, and my Forever 21 jean jacket that I have had for about three years and wear all the time, everywhere! I wasn’t wearing them in this picture, but I also had on cream-coloured “Bali” Birkenstocks. Oh, and a gold locket, pearl stud earrings, and an emerald ring, all from my parents. I rarely wear these in Tunis, but on Easter I feel like I need to look my best for Jesus!”

Choir Outfits

“When the choir burst out into the church singing, they were all wearing incredible African outfits in every style and colour. Even the men! This photo doesn’t do them justice. They did their culture and their Saviour proud- Their voices were every bit as bright and joyful as their attire!”


Trish in Louga

“I was going to wear something much fancier, but the power went out right before church so I couldn’t iron it! So I just wore my favorite outfit instead :)”



Paula in Thiès

I (halfway) jokingly posted on Facebook that I was having trouble deciding between a faux-hawk and a big headscarf to go with my Easter dress. Paula replied that she had gone the musoor headscarf route, so I asked her to send a photo.

Picture 2

It’s a wax print in ‘Easter colors’!


Kaylyn in Dakar


Adorable, isn’t it? And her husband picked it out!


LeCrecia in Dakar


“This was an HLM impulse buy. My husband called it “the Windows dress”! But my Senegalese friend said that I was beautiful!” (We agree!)


Jenn in Dakar


“This year I decided to wear some floral pastel wide-leg pants that I recently bought at an Embassy yard sale for 1,000 cfa {$2!}. They’re so flowy that they almost look like a skirt, they’re “springy”, and best of all, extremely comfortable! I borrowed a white shirt from Khady’s closet {a great place to shop, if you ask me!}, a pinkish-peach colored cami and matching earrings. I wore silver sandals that my friend Dior loved and wanted to take home with her. She was wearing silver flower earrings with a matching ring, a brown basin dress with black designs in the fabric, and intricate brown beading throughout the top of the dress.”


“At our Senegalese church’s Easter service, women were wearing everything from fancy red ball gowns and heels, to black pants with a black blazer. Almost everyone was wearing fancy earrings of some kind, and everyone looked great!”


Shannon in Dakar

Remember Shannon’s jacket? Here’s more from her closet!

Photo on 2013-03-31 at 15.02 #2

“So this is my Easter dress. I had it made at the tailor here. I love the 1950’s and I love Senegal fabrics, so I merged the two!”


Dressing your age

Picture 1

They’re adorable, aren’t they? I just got back from a week in Saly with these two lovely young ladies. Saying that makes me sound so old! But that’s a great segue into the topic of this post: dressing your age.

When I was asking these two about their outfits and why they chose them, Angèle made a comment about how hard it is for her to dress in a way that’s not too young, but also without pretending she’s an adult. I really admired her desire to dress appropriately for her age. She and Cari are both beautiful young women, inside and out.

It got me thinking about the challenges I face in dressing appropriately for my age/stage in life. I am a 32-year-old wife and mom. This means that (among other things) high-waisted pants, the color white and cropped jackets are OUT. Not even options.

Because of the context in which we live, I also avoid anything above the knee, thin-strapped tops and flip-flops outside the home. The way I dress reflects on my husband, so I try to put on ‘real’ clothes (unless I’m headed out to run, this means no yoga pants) when I leave our apartment. Sometimes I am more successful than others… But when I look at the women in our building who are my age, I see that none of them ever leave their homes dressed sloppily or even casually. They are definitely ‘Madames’.

So I gave it try. Like I said, I’m trying to avoid the yoga pants and flip-flops and being sure my legs and shoulders are covered a bit more. I’ve also started wearing nicer jewelry and make-up more often. And, since hanging out more with Jenn, I seem to be pulling outfits together with accessories rather than just wearing a top/bottom. Who knew that Madame-ing it up could be so fun?

Dressing our age can be challenging at any stage in life. But I want it to be a welcome challenge, almost like a rite of passage. And I want to set a good example for the next generation. (There I go sounding like an old grandma again!)

What guidelines do you choose to follow and what advice would you give to those looking to dress their age?

What my dog wears

Okay, you might think that I’m a total freak for posting pictures of what my dog wears, but I don’t care. You might also think that I’m a total animal lover, one that dresses her pup in little fuzzy sweaters with matching headbands. I assure you, I’m not and I don’t.

I just like my dog Roxy, and I have fun tying colorful bandanas around her furry neck. It has kind of become her “signature mark”, and sometimes, if she’s not wearing one, people will joke that she’s naked. Even Africans comment on how stylish she is. Ha!

Neon green.

Neon green.

Orange dreamsicle

Orange dreamsicle.

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.

I mean, seriously! How cute!

“Crazy” pants mean a crazy me

Post contributed by P. who lives among the Fulani in the Kolda region of Senegal. She blogs at For the love of Fulani.

A friend recently blogged about her “crazy” pants (although on her the fabric looks totally and completely normal and adorable!) . Pants made with the loud print, brightly colored fabrics that you grow to love and laugh at when you live here. One of my favorite things to do when I’m needing a shopping fix is to wander through the fabric stalls in the market and look at all the fabulous fabrics. The people here are not shy when it comes to thinking of some interesting prints. I’ve seen toasters, chickens, peas in their pods, motorcycles, brooms and so much more all boldly emblazoned on bright multicolored fabrics. And we’re not talking about small prints. We’re talking 12 inch toasters every 2 inches! I LOVE it!

I’ve had pants on my list of sewing projects so after seeing her post I was inspired. I went digging through all my fabric to find something that I didn’t necessarily want a whole outfit made out of, something that I could mess up without crying over. I scanned my bookmarks and finally found the link taking me to what the blogger described as the easiest method of making pants. I thought…one hour tops and I’ll have a pair of pants. That should have been my clue that it would take longer and be far more complicated!

6 hours later (including some much needed breaks before I ripped everything around me to shreds and countless seams ripped) I had my pants…not perfect, slightly irregular pants. I don’t think I can bring myself to wear them around in public but I will proudly wear them in the house and compound 🙂

My crazy pants

Lesson learned: Next time I want pants…just go to the stinking tailor!

Thought you might enjoy this

All dressed up, and ready for the fasion show.

All dressed up, and ready for the fashion show.

The three of us haven’t been friends for very long, you know. We met, had similar interests, went to a few of the same events and functions (like the Dakar Women’s Group fashion show), and here we are, a few months later, hosting a fashion blog together. Crazy, isn’t it!?

Anyhow, I thought you might enjoy seeing what the three of us wore to the fashion show. I love that Amy’s wearing cowboy (cowgirl?) boots with Senegalese fabric, I’m wearing a pink leopard hand-me-down dress, and Khady’s wearing some neutral gladiator sandals, cool pants, and beautiful African-made jewelry.

Each outfit is somehow fitting to our personalities, don’t you think? 

White, navy, and maroon pants

First of all, I just want to say that I’m having a lot of fun with this blog. Hopefully you are too!

It was pretty funny, I was at an embassy yard sale this past weekend, and someone that I didn’t know (ahem, or at least recognize), came up to me said, “Love the new blog!”

It’s so fun knowing that people are keeping up with us, and all of our “gazelle skirtness”.

Here’s an outift I wore last week, on a VERY windy day (as you can see from the pictures). These pants are comfy, and I love the fabric, but they’re a bit challenging in the knowing-what-shirt-to-wear department.



I wore a maroon colored t-shirt from JCrew. I’ve seriously had this shirt for like six years, and it’s still in great shape. You may pay more for their t-shirts, compared to, say, Old Navy, but they’ll last forever and a day. I wore a navy blue vest over the shirt, a silver elephant necklace (a favorite, from The Buckle), and silver sandals (from Kadel in Dakar).

From the front. Woah, that wind!

From the front. Woah, that wind!

From the back.

From the back.

A fun little elephant necklace.

A fun little elephant necklace.

A view of the pants. What shirt would you wear with them?

A view of the pants. What shirt would you wear with them?

Chaya, harem, baby-catchers…

Picture 2

A pair my tailor gave me as a gift. #ibuytoomuch

The go by many names.

Harem pants. Chayas. Baby-catchers.

They are hated by some, loved dearly by others.

Low on the hips, very wide and loose in the leg, but fitted at the ankle.

Picture 1

A pair I bought on a street market in France for €10.

Picture 3

Bought from an artisan who collaborates with Peace Corps in Senegal, 5000cfa. Love these!

Picture 3

So, do you chaya?