Last week my kids had Multicultural day at their elementary school. There was a parade in the morning and then a festival in the evening, put on by yours truly. It got me thinking about the term multicultural. The event was designed to highlight the diversity of our students, but it was also an opportunity for us to show that our identities may be made up of multiple cultures. My own boys wore kurtas over jeans with sneakers. Sans the sneakers, I tend to do that too. Mixing ethnic pieces into your wardrobe is a fun way to show off your culture and helps you create a look that is uniquely you.
Where are You From?
This question used to really bother me. My response would be ‘Indiana’, person asking the question would say ‘India?’, to which I would reply ‘In-di-a-na’. I get it, having brown skin begs the question. Perhaps I had a chip on my shoulder because of it. But now I have no qualms about it. So, where am I from? I am from Sugar Land, originally from a small town in northern Indiana. Ethnically, I am Pakistani. What does that have to do with fashion? Well I find my ethnicity and geography really influence my sense of style.
Mixing Pakistani and American Clothes
With formal Pakistani wear, I tend to keep that for weddings and events. But I definitely mix in the casual pieces with my everyday wear. The top below is Sapphire. It’s also from last year, which means it’s long gone. But Sapphire has lots of tops to mix with every day wear, and they ship to the US!
Shawls are also a great way to incorporate Pakistani fashion into your wardrobe. This one is my mom’s from her wedding!
The Easiest Way to Mix it in – Jewelry
If wearing ethnic clothing is too much, a more subtle way of mixing ethnic pieces into your wardrobe is with jewelry. I love these earrings, a great statement piece.
These earrings are part of a set my aunt gave to me at my wedding. Though gold jewelry is a significant investment, it is something you can pass down to future generations.
Appreciating Other Cultures Without Appropriating
Whenever we travel I love to find pieces unique to those locations. I prefer to find accessories as opposed to clothing as I feel that is a better way of mixing those cultural pieces into my wardrobe. Each of these pieces have special significance of the country from where I got them. The scarf is from Istanbul and has tulips on it, which is symbolic of Turkey. The shoes are from Mexico City, hand made by a local designer. The necklace is made of paua shells, native to New Zealand. And the earrings were given to me by a woman at a cultural exhibit in Johannesburg.
Do you mix ethnic pieces into your wardrobe? How do you do it? Would love to hear from you!