Wearing ‘Ethnic’ Clothes from Other Parts of the World

As a professional who has the privilege and opportunity to travel across the world, I have the amazing opportunity to see the national dresses of various cultures. From the colorful prints in Africa to the gorgeous skirts in Southeast Asia to the sarees, salwars, and lehengas we see in South Asia and that are included on this site, these colorful, decorative, and artistic outfits are fun to wear.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, we live in a world where Western fashion has dominated the office scene, and part of my goal in building this site was to begin a global fashion movement where everyone would feel comfortable wearing clothes from anywhere without fear of being socially rebuked.
And many of today’s top designers draw their inspiration from outfits they seen around the world, except they only become trendy when a large fashion name like Ralph Lauren, Armani or Gucci make the clothes trendy; on top of that you will pay top dollar to buy or wear something similiar if you went to the average European or American department store.

Take the tunic, for example. According to Wikipedia, tunics have actually been around since Greco-Roman times, and in the west, tunics are worn among the clergy and other religious leaders. However, as the article so aptly noted,

“Worn in Indian Sub-Continent, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, [the] tunic is usually referred to as Kurta and is now an emerging women’s top style increasingly liked by many in the West. An Asian tunic is typically adorned with delicate embroidery, bead-work or intricate threadwork as well. Embroidery or thread work on such tunics usually combines threads of many different colors.”

Fashion, like food and music, is often influenced by the interaction of different cultures. So one day, I hope, we can all start to become more comfortable with wearing “ethnic” clothes in the office or outside of the country of origin.

In the meantime, here are some amazing shots of women wearing “ethnic” clothes to the office. And be sure to check out our articles on ways to wear a tunic or a salwar to the office.

The African Shirt Company Blue Lagoon Shirt

Photo courtesy of: The African Shirt Company

This woman is pairing this brightly colored blue African-style print shirt with navy blue jeans and boots. Perfect to wear anywhere and still colorful enough to make you standout from the crowd that are all shopping at the same stores and wearing non-original clothes.


African traditional dress code
Photos courtesy of: Wikipedia commons

More and more in my hometown of Washington, DC, I am seeing women wearing these African-inspired gorgeous paneled skirts all around town.

Local Refugee Art Auction & Fashion Show 2011

Photo courtesy of: Viktoriya Aleksandrov

These Chin Burmese girls, are wearing a colorful short-sleeved top that goes with a matching skirt, for this festive event celebrating refugee women.

Do you have a picture that you can share of you wearing your ‘ethnic’ clothing and rocking it? Feel free to comment on this post or contact us at contact@ammascloset.com.