Guest Post: Mix Your Style By The ALWAYS fashionable Jenni Keating (in Mali)


My life in West Africa always keeps me guessing – What surprise will I find around the next corner? How many emails can I send before the power goes out? What’s that donkey thinking right now?  This is why I like to keep West Africa guessing by dressing like a crazy person having unique personal style. SO in the spirit of ‘The Gazelle Skirt’ here are a few ideas for mixing up your style from my closet in Bamako (which ironically, smells like a campfire even though it’s inside my house):

MiX TO THE MAX: My all-time favorite tip: Don’t be afraid to mix prints!  I seriously can’t say this enough. Indulge your inner ’85 year-old eccentric self’ and have fun. Feeling nervous about taking the print-mixing plunge? Keep it safe and stay in the same color family. You might be surprised how much enjoy yourself.

MORE IS MORE: NO EXCUSES – Accessorize! Coco Chanel once said – “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” She obviously never lived in Africa. I like to say, “Before you leave the house, ask yourself, ‘Why am I not wearing a turban right now?'” and then go put on bigger earrings.

MOD AFRIQUE: Think outside the ‘bubu’ and try using African prints for some of your favorite modern clothing pieces – dresses, skirts, jackets, tops, etc. There is so much potential here! Pinterest or your favorite online store can be a great source of inspiration. Find a good tailor and don’t give up when something doesn’t fit right the first time!

YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS: Leopard print, stripes, polka dots – consider making these your new neutrals. Count on these friends to help bring a clean, modern edge to some of your favorite African print pieces. 

BE YOURSELF: While it’s important to dress appropriately to your setting, it’s ok to be yourself too. So maybe leopard print heels aren’t the most practical thing to wear when learning how to pound millet. Totally get that. Just don’t be afraid to take advantage of a dinner date or get-together with friends to dress up and have fun with your personal style.>

Clockwise from top: 1. Wax prints  2. Jacket  3. Earrings  4. Scarf  5. Maasai necklace 6. Wood ring  7. Leopard pumps  8. Striped shirt  9. African print clutch


7 thoughts on “Guest Post: Mix Your Style By The ALWAYS fashionable Jenni Keating (in Mali)

  1. Ok Jenni! I’m going to find some leopard print heels or funky wax print heels and wear them ALL the time because I want to be just like you! : )

  2. I’d heard that Coco Chanel quote before, so it didn’t make sense to me that Jenn could pile on the accessories and prints and colors and make it work so well. But I think you’ve helped me figure it out, Jenni… a) It’s Africa. The rules are different. b) It’s about personal style/signature. And c) She’s Jenn. 🙂

    I started playing around with accessories and colors more, but trying to define my own style and not just play dress-up in someone else’s. I’m much more into neutrals, stones, wood, etc…

    Thanks for this post, Jenni (and Amy)!

  3. I love all these things: where can I get the clutch, both earning, the jacket and the rest, please. The colours are wounderful!

  4. oh jenni, i cant stop laughing. this is great. i remember looking at all the prints in Paris and trying to see which ones went together

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