Nigerian Americana feat. Niyi Okuboyejo

May 20th, 2013

Harlem based designer Niyi Okuboyejo appreciates preppy American menswear, but also remains close to his Nigerian roots. His personal style is a creative and tasteful blend of the two.

“Even though I am aware of my Americana, I still strongly identify with my Nigerian heritage. At this point in my life, they both go hand in hand in defining my tastes and style.”

Niyi, who just launched his accessories line Post-Imperial, shows us three examples of his clever culture mixing.

    1. Senegalese Slippin’


    Niyi understands the functionality and versatility of an unconstructed jacket for Spring. This cotton pinstriped version, for example, is the perfect compliment to his simple t-shirt & chinos look.

    “Most of my wardrobe is built around a sports jacket or blazer. I prefer them unstructured and unlined, which means I don’t have to take them off when traveling to tropical countries.”


    article 2-13, my favorite pocket square from collection II, has been getting a lot of wear lately. It’s smooth Indian cotton, but the loose embroidered fringes give it a contrasting rough texture.”


    “I stumbled upon these Senegalese slippers at a local art market in Nigeria. It’s actually one of the coolest places I have ever been. Lord knows how many times I got lost discovering numerous oddities there. You can also commission all kinds of stuff from oversized artworks, to custom furniture, to backpacks made of python skin.

    I once ran into a well-known European designer shopping there…taking pictures of the local artisans and their work for inspiration.”


    • Round Frame Tortoise Shell Sunglasses by Ralph Lauren
    • Navy Cotton Pinstripe Jacket by Club Monaco
    • Wide Crewneck Stripe Shirt by Saturdays NYC
    • Pocket square “article 2-13” by Post-Imperial
    • Navy Chinos by Club Monaco
    • Yellow Leather Senegalese Slippers by local market in Nigeria

    2. Like A Chief


    “Another unstructured jacket, different pattern. This plaid fabric is actually lightweight cotton shirting – it’s very hollow and quite airy.

    The plaid is strong, so I usually pair it with different shades of blue. At one time in my life I obsessed over that color. It was the foundation on which I built my wardrobe.”


    “This is an Igbo ceremonial Chief hat from Nigeria. Most of my Igbo friends might want to hang me for wearing one since I am neither Igbo nor a chief.

    That being said, it is one of the coolest hats I own. Besides, with 250+ ethnic groups in the country we are bound to appropriate cultural ideas from one another.”


    article 2-05 is a traditional Japanese dot print canvas that disguises its irregular dots in true Japanese fashion. It doesn’t take too much attention away from the jacket, but then again what can?”


    • Red Igbo Chief Hat by street vendor in Lagos, Nigeria
    • Round Frame Tortoise Shell Glasses by Ralph Lauren
    • Grey Plaid Unstructured Jacket by Club Monaco
    • Blue Oxford Shirt by Ralph Lauren
    • “article 2-05” pocket square by Post-Imperial
    • Brown Watch by Denis Guidone for Projects
    • Blue Pants by Club Monaco
    • Chocolate Sued Shoes by Tom Ford

    3. Cultural Color Mix


    Niyi makes a great point here about keeping the designing and styling processes separate. That is, when ordering custom clothing, try to avoid over-designing “style” into a piece. Instead, set yourself up with well-fitting, versatile pieces that can be worn for endless stylish outfits.

    “When going the custom route on a suit, my American tendencies skip most of the overbearing and unnecessary ‘details’. No trick pockets, no colorful buttonholes, no crazy bright linings – just a simple suit that I can treat like a blank canvas.”


    “On the other hand, the Nigerian in me usually calls for elaborate dressing. It’s the reason I process color the way I do, and wear straw hats and embroidered pocket squares like article 2-02.

    I am freshly inspired every time I attend a traditional wedding or ceremonial event.”


    As you can see from his previous feature, Niyi knows a thing or two about accessorizing a tailored look.


    • Beige Panama Hat by Vintage (eBay)
    • Round Frame Tortoise Shell Glasses by Ralph Lauren
    • Custom-Made Ustructured Grey Glenplaid Suit by Kent Wang
    • Lime Green Cotton Shirt by Ralph Lauren
    • Navy Tie by Ralph Lauren
    • Fish Hook Tie Bar by Vintage (eBay)
    • “article 2-02” pocket square by Post-Imperial
    • Brown Watch by Denis Guidone for Projects
    • Chocolate Brown Oxford Lace ups by Meermin

    Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Niyi for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • olukayode

      I absolutely love the class Niyi always portray. As a budding Nigerian designer I observe people like him to inspire me. kudos bro, I cant find your twitter handle anywhere tho… only @postimperialism ???

    • BlacknDapper

      Nice to see a fellow Nigerian-American, enjoyed this and your last feature as well. And from your first name, I thought you were Igbo, but your last names sounds more Yoruba. But I have a feeling that you are neither (like me) lol

      • Niyi

        I am full blooded Yoruba. haha

    • http://undefined mathieu lavoie

      Wow!…just wow!

      Such a nice balance between, style, comfort, color and personnality.

      Very inspiring, I wich i had a similar figure though…same stuff would probably be not so flattering on me…

    • RedYeti

      That last look is incredible. A perfect example of the Coco Chanel ‘look in the mirror and remove one accessory’ idea. He hasn’t overdone it like a lot of ‘stylish’ menswear guys

    • Eugene

      The looks seem completely effortless. Hoping to see more of Niyi. Something highly appealing about his sense of style. It is always refreshing when an “individual” comes along.

    • Pat

      That fish hook tie bar is awesome! I want one. Niyi you just became my new inspiration. Great post.

    • fitfoodiele

      STYLE ICON!!!!!!

    • Lola


    • TO

      The man with the pinstripe separates! How could I forget Niyi??

      Still looks great, would love to check out some of those places he has shopped.

    • BF

      last look is exceptional.
      Fish hook tie bar FTW

      • John Crossley

        Yeah, that fish hook has convinced me to invest in some tie bar alternatives.

        • BF

          I got an ak-47 tie bar from that’s pretty sick…

      • Jordan

        My dad gave me one of those fishhooks ages ago as a bookmark (?!), it just chewed up the pages of the book so I started wearing it as a tie bar. Great minds etc.

    • Khalid

      Glad to see Niyi back! So fresh.

      Niyi, did you have that blazer in look 1 tailored? What size is it and how tall are you? (I’m 5’10, have the same blazer in size M, and am wondering whether I should taper the sleeves.)

      Hope to see more of Niyi in the future; he’s definitely got a knack for colour and accessorizing.

      • Niyi

        Thanks Khalid,
        I actually didn’t touch it at all. I got it as fit pretty well from jump. I actually just threw it in the washer abut a month ago and it shrunk a tad bit.

        By the way I am 5’8″ and 150 lbs.

    • MS

      I have mixed feelings about look #1. While this dude kills it across the board in such an iconic, mellow, breezy way—I don’t think anyone can pull off the same-color-pant-as-unmatching-patterned-sportcoat look.

      • John Crossley

        In my opinion, if you’re going casual, you rock the same or in this case similar (the jacket has more of a lighter fade to it) color/different patterns jacket and pants. I think look 1 is really strong.

    • Viorel

      His style has evolved in my opinion from the crazy colors and accessories worn all at once gave in the previous post to the subtle mixing of colors and accessories in this one. The perfect example of “less is more”.

    • Temi

      nicely done… #proudlyNigerian!

    • Mon

      anyone know the watch from #1?

      • Andrew

        Post #2 and #3 have the same watch and it is credited at the bottom.

    • Big Jon

      I’m not on board with wearing slippers in public, but i will say this. I’m inspired by that last look. Everything about it was awesome.

    • John

      While I don’t like neither the slippers, nor the hat, I get his style and creativity! Props for being so bold!
      Look #3 is the best by far for me! Well done!

      • John Crossley

        The gray/key lime/navy color combo works so well together. I have to figure out how to incorporate that into my wardrobe somehow. Look #3 is spot on.

    • Steve

      Great flair for style.

    • Jerome

      Very very strong post!

    • DK

      Proud Nigerian American! Love this post!