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To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect going into the movie. I’ve never read comics (though I always wanted silver hair like Storm), with nearly no background on the Black Panther story. When I heard “Black Panther,” my first reference was the Black Panther Party.
I envisioned a complete militant look, all black head-to-toe: vintage A-line leather skirt, plain turtleneck, leather jacket or coat – again, all black – hair out in an afro, rocking large hoop earrings. Can’t forget blacked out shades.
…and realized that’s it’s completely based on the African diaspora. So there goes the whole Black Panther Party vibe. Oops :(. Now what?
I didn’t want to wear a full-on African-inspired look because I felt that could wind up being a prime example of cultural appropriation. There’s a lot of commentary on the interwebs and on social media about this. My quick take: if you’re a) researching what you’re wearing and b) purchasing merchandise from an African vendor, then that’s culture appreciation. However, if you throw something on because it’s “cool” and it’s not even authentically African, then that’s appropriation.
The look is based on the Black Panther Party uniform, accessorized with African pieces, all evolved and forward-thinking, while being weather appropriate (because New York City winters are no joke, and I don’t like being cold!).
I decided to pay homage to the Black Panther Party because I felt more connected to that movement with it being based here in the States. I’m wearing a black turtleneck and black flared jeans that have side slits (peep the gold boots peeking out the side). I incorporated African accessories with an authentic headwrap and necklace. They add the right amount of culture and color to the overall look. I adore the necklace’s shape and colors against the simple, monochrome turtleneck which stand out in a subtle way.
The coolest accent was the purple leather belt with the huge buckle. It’s what a chic, cool, boss superhero (or super-SHERO) would wear. It brings together the gold metallic boots tie with the yellow in the head wrap and necklace.
The coat’s silhouette is a simple and clean. This is my attempt to make the look current (remember, Wakanda is an advanced nation!). It’s dark blue/black with blue and gold accents. I almost wore a 40’s metallic gold coat (since the movie is futuristic and all), but decided that was corny.
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(some of these exact items aren’t available, but alternatives are here and in the carousel below)
Black flare jeans – here with affordable options in the carousel below
Long black turtleneck – an affordable option is here
African head wrap – from The Wrap Life, a Brooklyn-based company that sources authentic prints from African designers