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West Coastin’: African Print Pants

September 23rd, 2013

The move from NYC to LA has already got me thinking differently about style.

It’s warm every day here and we’re not far from the beach, so fashion, and life in general, is just a little more laidback. Sure, it can be easy to get lazy, but I find that the weather restrictions and cultural change are only forcing me to be more creative.

Here’s an example. On the corner of 7th avenue and 10th street in NYC’s West Village there’s a small street stand owned by a Senegalese man named Bala. Bala sells cotton shirts, shorts and pants in colorful African prints that his brother ships to him directly from Senegal.

In my eight years living in NYC I’ve probably walked passed Bala dozens of times, not really paying attention to his product. This time however, thanks in part to my homie Niko’s encouragement, his street booth caught my eye.

I’ve been looking for an alternative to tailored trousers that are lightweight, flowly, casual, and fun. These turned out to be perfect, so I bought three pairs ($20/each) when I was in town for Fashion Week.

Here’s how I’ve been rocking them, on the East coast and West coast…

1. Futuristic Flow


Bala has hundreds of colorful patterns, but the first one that caught my eye was this black and white geometric print.

The minimalistic graphic gives these pants a very modern and “high-fashion” feel, making them a perfect complement to this almost-futuristic sans-lapel H&M x Margiela jacket.


The pants themselves are super simple; just lightweight cotton with a drawstring waist and side pockets.

They’re basically pajamas, which I’m a huge fan of. I’ve already worn PJs for business and with formal attire.


I didn’t have them tailored, but I made sure to buy the right size!

Luckily the inseam was just right since I love the little “split” detail at the hemline.

  • Clear frame sunglasses by Vintage ·
  • Black collar-less jacket by H&M x Margiela ·
  • Black cotton/linen v-neck t-shirt by Kenneth Cole ·
  • Black Cotton print pants from BALA NYC Street Stand – 7th ave & 10th ·
  • “Stella” Watch by Brera Orologi ·
  • Brass railroad spike cuff bracelet by Giles & Brother ·
  • Black leather penny loafers by Bass Weejun

2. Wild West


This particular pattern struck me as a little more Native American inspired.

Being that we’re in the Wild Wild West now, it seemed right to go with a linen henley and rough-up western shirt.


I think Cowboys and Indians will both be recurring inspirations as I figure out my West Coast style… More on that coming up.


This pair is a little wider through the leg than the others, so I roll ’em and let ’em flow.

Shout out to our friend Gagan for the leather slip-ons! I’m getting even more use out of them in LA.

  • Black Cotton print pants from BALA NYC Street Stand – 7th ave & 10th ·
  • Denim shirt by RRL ·
  • White linen/silk henley t-shirt by Theory ·
  • Grey tortoise shades by Matsuda

3. Après-Beach Party


What do you wear with loud abstract-patterned pants? A slim white oxford is always a safe choice.

This one is from Band of Outsiders: you can always tell by the cropped length. Their shirts are designed to be worn untucked, hitting around the waist with only enough room for six front buttons.


I think I’ll be wearing suits less often on the West coast and getting back to the Articles of Style roots of innovating and experimenting with different styles of menswear…


Another thing that I didn’t think about as much in NYC: how my feet look.

I can’t be wearing sandals and chillin at the beach with nasty, calloused-up, ex-bballer feet.

So, as I shared on the Articles of Style Instagram the other day, it was time to man-up and hit the pedicure spot. My dogs have never felt better…

  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic ·
  • Oxidized cuff bracelet by Men in Cities ·
  • Black Cotton print pants from BALA NYC Street Stand – 7th ave & 10th ·
  • Brown leather strap sandals by Mercanti Forentini
  • · White oxford shirt by Band of Outsiders

White USA Oxford Shirt

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Articles of Style


Photography by Alex Crawford