Top tips on Ankara mix and match (Ankara and Ankara combinations)

What to consider when mixing Ankara fabrics

Ankara and Ankara combinations

Ankara, from Ankara prints to African prints, African wax prints, all the way to Dutch wax and Holland wax, whichever name you know it by, they all mean the same thing, a unique fabric people always look forward to clouding themselves in. 

Oh wait… Kitenge, yes I said Kitenge, because that is another name for it. And yeah, as you might have guessed already, this is a very popular fabric in Africa cutting across different cultures, but with a little twist here and there. Countries like Ghana, especially, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, just to mention but a few know this fabric as Kitenge. Countries like Malawi, Namibia and Zambia know this same fabric as Chitenge. Is that not too many names for one fabric? Yeah, maybe, but that is what happens when you are popular. People cannot help but know you, one way or the other.

So which ever it it, mix-matching, mix and match, or mixing and matching is what is popular with the fabric currently.


But just in case somehow you do not know about this unique and beautiful fabric, do not worry, you are not left out, I have you covered in the next paragraph.

Ankara is a popular fabric in Africa made out of 100% cotton using wax resistant techniques, hence tend to not fade easily compared to some other fabrics. It is colourful with unique patterns like tribal murals, geometric shapes, lines and even proverbs, that gives it a look of Africa. 

Read more about Ankara fabrics here.


Why do you need to combine fabrics?

There is no doubt, not three, not two, not one that Ankara or Kitenge fabrics are really beautiful and colourful fabric to make into and wear as clothing. But… yes, there is a but, just like every other thing that revolves in our day to day life. Fashion is always every changing with the goal of standing out and looking good remaining same. Wearing a same print pattern fabric from up to down sometimes gets boring. Good if you are going for just a simple plain look. But for a look that involves style and designs of lines and curves to amplify certain looks, going plain single fabric is a killer of such intentions, as the designs will fade in with the main outfit, becoming hidden or difficult to spot out, especially from a distance.


So if you want to play the fabric game of mix and match, below is how you do it. 


Mix-matching tips for Ankara (Kitenge) and other patterned fabrics

Mixing fabrics is quite an easy task if you know exactly what you are matching. It is not just a task of picking at random and hoping they fit. Well, lucky you, sometimes they might fit, perfectly even, when chance smiles on you. But what if it doesn’t? That would be a waste of time, money, effort and beautiful fabrics. There are some key things to consider or look out for when combining fabrics. When combining or mix-matching fabrics, you should consider the following:

  • Colour
  • Print pattern or design
  • Using a bridge fabric



This the most basic factor when it comes to mixing fabrics. It is what draws attention the most, colours! If you have the colour or colours in harmony already, then you are good to go. 

There are two ways you can go with the colour approach:

  • You can match Ankara fabrics that have the same base colour or colour theme. By this I mean, choosing fabrics that have similar dorminant colour, the colour that is used as the background upon which the patterns and designs are drawn or printed, or the colour that is more pronounced compared to other colours on the fabric. 
  • You can also mix match Ankara fabrics by choosing fabrics that have colours that compliment each others. This makes it more fun and offers the opportunity to be able to combine two totally unrelated Ankara fabric prints so long as they have base colours that does not dispute each other.

Check out this article on colour combination tips to know how well to combine different colours.



Matching ankara fabric base colour from @rhonkefellacollections
Matching ankara fabric base colour from @rhonkefellacollections


Print pattern or design:

Another way of mixing and matching Ankara fabrics is by matching the patterns on the fabric. This can be done regardless of colours. You can totally match two different Ankara fabric with the same exact pattern but totally different colours. The similar patterns in them creates the unity between them.

You can also do pattern types, match pattern shapes of similar or near sizes. It could be geometry, same or different floral designs, or even strips. But for strips, just don’t do two different sizes strips, they don’t work!

Matching different colour Ankara patterns
Matching patterns from @effizycouture




Using a bridge fabric:

Well, this third tip is my own personal tip, so cherish this. It requires more than two fabrics to pull off. Let’s say you want to combine two different Ankara fabrics, not related in pattern design or colour even. Introducing a third fabric that complements the two unrelated fabric either in print pattern or colour, acts as a bridge link between them, does the trick. The end result is an outfit with a smooth blend patterns and colours fading beautifully into each other.

Using a bridge fabric to mix-match ankara
@iammimiblaque blending top and shorts with yellow bridge fabric.


What is the maximum number of fabrics that can be combined?

You already know two is the minimum number of fabric that can be combined. You cannot combine a fabric with itself can you? Yes, but that would not be regarded as a combination.

Three different fabrics is a good safe limit when combining any kind of fabrics. But then, it is fashion, and creativity is it’s other name, so there are no limits, just few rules. And one thing about rule is that they are meant to be broken. So you can combine as many different fabrics as you want. Just stick to some basic rules and you will be fine. Or create yours and come up with something unique and beautiful like never before. 

When many fabrics are combined, it is know as patching.

Ankara patching from @mayrushonline


Ankara patching from @couturebychyohzy



So which ever steps you want to follow, always know you can decide to use all the tips for matching a single cloth or not. But remember to be flexible. The Idea of mix-matching Ankara fabrics is to have something unique and different from regular day to day Ankara while still being in the box.

Do well to remember and check other articles on our website, you never know, it might be what you just need for your next outfit.


Written by Sene Bestman

Particular clingy on answering the questions that pops up everyday before stepping out - "Do I look okay"?
I believe that outfit might just be the right amount of confidence boost you needed.

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