Ditch the dress 1

AJ Taylor

Its officially Party season and a cocktail dress is the obvious choice but every now and then, you just want something that is not a dress so here are some outfit ideas for when you don't want to wear a dress. (Click the links below the images to shop the pieces)


A Bold print top

When everyone is wearing a dress to that office party, why don't you try a print top. We love this particular number for it's bold print, its ladylike cut and the gorgeous figure flattering and edgy peplum. We want to play around with the classic and edgy feel of this look so we're pairing it with the ever classic pencil skirt made from leather. The top is bold on its own but will be even more striking against the white leather. To finish it off, we are upping the edginess level with these bold cutout  booties. This look is classic, strong and feminine all at once, and who wouldn't want to be those things at a party

Top- CJAJ09, Skirt- Missguided, Clutch- John Lewis, Booties- Ebay


A maxi skirt

Maxi skirts are an obvious choice for summer parties but we think they are just as great in the fall especially for holiday parties. A maxi skirt is a great alternative to a long evening dress and based on the nature of the party, you can style it up or down. We think a print maxi is the perfect background for a sequin top and metal accessories, to really create that evening look. And finally, because the skirt is floor length, wear your gorgeous heels but when it comes time to dance the night away, or if you are hosting and need to move around, you can switch to flat shoes and nobody needs to know.

Top- New Look, Shoes- Asos, Clutch- JJ's House, Skirt- CJAJ09


Co-ord set

A hot trend this year that is perfect for party season is the matching two piece, in this case a pair of peg leg trousers and a crop top to match. This is an instant outfit that is also quite easy to style, and it tends to be quite striking. And very comfortable to wear, not having any of the fuss normally associated with holiday party outfits. The co-ord look, being such a statement on its own does quite well with simple but edgy accessories so we're loving this cross between pumps and ankle booties and finishing it off with a cross body bucket bag. Now isn't this this the perfect outfit to dance the night away in?

2 piece- CJAJ09, Shoes- Asos, Bag- Missguided


There you have it, 3 outfits that are great for when you don't want to wear a dress. We've got a part two of this series coming up so stat tuned and happy holidays


Established in 2009, Ankara House, a subsidiary of CJAJ09, is an independent African fashion design house and clothing store that is all about making style accessible and fashion affordable for the sophisticated, hard working and discerning woman. We believe that culture and heritage should not have to cost that much and that clothes should be an extension of ones style, belief and background; a way to show who we really are. We aim to bring you beautiful, in style and on trend clothing at prices that won't leave you broke. we want you to look good and still have money to spend. Our products are of very high quality and we aim to provide the best customer service we can. 

Our designs draw from the beauty and sophisticated nature of European fashion mixed with the richness and ethnicity of African culture. Our clothes are a mixture of classic, vintage, contemporary and modern styles, which means we can cater to all events and occasions.

Just to help you keep your personal sense of style, we offer modifications on most clothing in store, and we also offer a custom made dress service so just get in touch with us via email at

As of 2017, in our quest to help you get more African print into your life and our effort to serve you better, we have expanded our offerings with the Zahara range, a line of African print home ware and accessories for your life. It's full of African print pieces that will fit right into your life and around your home, adding an instant touch of colour and culture. We have also launched the Ankara Life subscription box, a monthly box delivering clothes, homeware and accessories to your door with no extra hassle for you at all. Because we want to make it as easy as possible for you to live that Ankara Life and have all the print and colour you deserve. 

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