Black Fashion, What Is It?

Eve at BET Awards

Not for the faint hearted

Beauty & The Black Woman is expanding her scope. About to celebrate it’s one month anniversary on the world wide web and I thought that I’d start with some fashion . I wont say advice because fashion is such a subjective thing that well. It’s all in the eye of the beholder really. But we all know hot when we see it and we also know trash when we see it. I’ve been contemplating on how to best proceed on this delicate subject. We’re all very precious when it comes to our personal tastes and appearance. And since it’s proven over and over again that black men and women seem to have the highest self esteems about their physical appearance than most of the other races (this is a good thing), it makes it very hard to be politically correct about some of the fashion out there on the streets of Melbourne and black celebrities in general.
Hip Hop Influence 

The opinion of my now adult 18 year old sister is that black people have a bad fashion sense. Don’t all get your knickers in a knot. This is the opinion of a very  young woman who has just recently graduated from her daggy tracksuit pants and discovered a dress.

I tried a while ago to describe black fashion. I mean what is it? Do black men and women dress a certain way and if so what’s the best way to pin down that style without well offending anyone?

After a lot of thinking, I decided to concentrate on the influences of black fashion (this is very broad). When it comes to clothes, black people seem to be very adventurous. We skip to the beat of our own drum. Black fashion for men and women tends to have an urban tribal origin. You first of all have the influence of music through the hip hop artists, then there’s the Rastafarian threads of Reggae, followed by the bright bold prints of Africa. With so many different influences, it’s only natural that sometimes people get it wrong.

African PrintsReggae Style

So how do you balance all these elements and still look like the goddess individual that I think you all are without looking like a fashion victim despite the fact that your over confidence in your appearance will carry you everywhere.

That’s where the basics come in. Starting from next week, I’ll be featuring an article of clothing essential in any woman’s wardrobe. This forms the basic elements on which you can launch your look on whether it would be Tribal, Reggae, or hip hop.   I’ll discuss body shape, the way a garment should fit on your body, the cut and the fabric.

Our first stop is body shape. You’ve all heard of the apple, the pear, the hour glass and i think there’s even the peg. Do you know what type of body you have? Looking at all the images of black women I’ve posted on this blog, the pear is the first shape that comes to mind for most black women.

Body Types

I’ll be the first to say that not all black women have the same body shape. There are four women in my family and every single one of us has  her own unique body shape and no, they aren’t all variations of our mother. We  have fruits, hour glasses and pegs. Almost the whole  spectrum of body types.

The Well Toned Pear

Beyonce makes up for being smaller on the top by keeping her both the lower and upper part of her body in immaculate condition

The Pear

Think Halle Berry, Beyonce, Kelly Rowlands, even Serena Williams. They are all different variations of the same body type. They all have small little wastes, carry most of the weight on their hips, thighs and behind, and generally have narrow shoulders. They differ from the our glass by being narrow in the shoulder, otherwise they would be an hour glass.


If you are this body type, you’ve got to work hard at keeping your bum in shape as all the weight seems to go straight there and also your upper body. By toning up your bum and upper body you create the  illusion of balance. The more toned your arms and chest are the less you look like a pear.


Skirts and Pants

There’s nothing like that beautiful pair of jeans that fits perfectly around the bum but gaps on your waste. And no matter how hard you try, you just can’t find the jeans, pants, shorts or skirt that fits you perfectly around waster. Don’t bother looking. Once something fits over your bum and you’re satisfied with the appearance, don’t worry too much about the waste as this is something you will need to get altered. Find a good alteration place who will then adjust it to your waist size.


Avoid halter tops. They make you r shoulders look narrow and emphasise your pear shape by making your bottom look bigger. Singlets will have the same impact if they are really tight around your body.  Try shirts and blouses or tops with frills or detail to make the top part of your body balance more with your bottom.

Wear lighter colours and patterns on the top and darker colours on the bottom to achieve symmetry.


This is the hardest thing for a pear woman to find, it’s  a dress that will fit her lower part of her body and the upper. Fitted dresses are hard, if they fit your on the top, they are not going to fit you at the bottom and visa versa.  If you can get it made then please do otherwise, alternative is dresses that go out from the waist down and drape over the bottom. Wrap dresses are great for this especially if they have a frill at the top.

Stay beautiful!


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