Coming to America
The Cinematic Inspiration
If you have yet to see this gem of a film or are in need of a quick plot refresher, here's the long and short of it. The comedy follows Prince Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), heir to the throne of Zamunda, Africa, who flees to the United States in search of a wife who will love him for who he is and not his royal status. Prince Joffer and his best friend, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), portray themselves as foreign students living in Queens, New York, and work at the local fast food restaurant called McDowell's. It is there that Joffer meets and falls for the owner's daughter Lisa (Shari Headley). Attempting to win her hand in marriage, Prince Joffer is forced to compete with Lisa's sleazy boyfriend (Eriq La Salle) and impress her father, all while trying to conceal his true identity, which leads to a slew of the film's most comedic moments!
The Sartorial Story
Now that we've caught you up to speed on the film's plotline, it's time to talk fashion! Set in the late '80s in both Queens and the fictitious African country of Zamunda, Coming To America gave us a number of memorable sartorial moments. However, for the purpose of today's story, we've decided to focus our attention on the latter location, as the runway references are vast. From the Leopard Chiffon Caftan ($2295) at Michael Kors to the billowy printed Trousers ($995) at Gucci, a number of spring collections hint at an African safari landscape, as well as the elaborate wardrobes of Zamunda's royal family. That said, our ode to the genius flick comes to you via a fantastic collection of inspired-by items, all of which will boast a little of that Coming to America spirit we love so much!
Get The Look
No.6 Jasper Tank Dress ($415, 212.226.5759) in Black/Cream Multi Stripe
Every summer wardrobe should be equipped with at least one maxi dress, which is why we'd like to direct you to this truly stunning version by No.6. The ankle-grazing frock is swathed in indigenous/tribal stripes and cinches around the waist for a figure-flattering look. Style it with flat metallic sandals and a wide-brimmed hat for the day, then come evening, swap in a pair of chic wedges and colorful jewelry.
Mara Hoffman Embroidered Bustier Top ($207)
Mara Hoffman's spring collection is filled with amazing tribal-inspired prints like the one featured on this must-have bustier top. Not only is this piece in perfect keeping with the theme of today's story, but its vibrant pattern also offers the sultry top a playful twist. If you're not afraid to show off some skin, we suggest styling it with a high-waisted pencil skirt in blue or red, or you can always wear it with the designer's matching hot pants for a truly high-impact look.
Fallon Gold & Emerald Ines Mesh Necklace ($225)
Our next pick, a beautiful mesh necklace by Fallon, is obviously inspired by the ornate and lustrous gold jewelry worn by the Zamunda royal women. Embellished with Swarovski crystals, this regal piece will instantly elevate any ensemble. While it's sure to upgrade a fancier after-hours look, we also like the idea of using it to dress up a casual t-shirt and jeans combo-the outcome will be unexpectedly chic!
Hare+Hart Zero Waste Bangles ($40-55 each)
For a subtle way of trying today's look, consider Hare+Hart's colorful bangles! Every piece is made from recycled materials and hand painted in Argentina, so each one is unique. While versatile on their own, we think you should do as the Zamunda royal family does, and stack a handful of bracelets on your wrist for a statement-making color-block look.
Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Nail Lacquer ($19) in Pure Red
We could have selected any bright polish for today's story, but something about Estee Lauder's new-for-spring Pure Red felt like a perfect fit. Indeed, red is associated with power, happiness, and success-themes present throughout the film-but this classic shade will also look brilliant with a range of neutral and bright looks too, so it's a lacquer you can wear well through summer and into fall.
Kenny Sanders Pants ($198) in Lucky Cream
If a printed dress or top isn't your cup of tea, then you must consider these cool trousers by Kenny. The micro-sized pattern is perfectly on-trend for spring, while the relaxed, wide-leg cut guarantees a comfortable fit all day. Just be sure to keep them the focal point of your look by pairing them with a fuss-free, solid-colored top.
H&M Sandals ($18)
You can't very well head out on safari, or to the beach for that matter, in sky-high heels, which is why having a pair of flat sandals on hand for the warm weather months is key. Happily, you don't have to spend a fortune to snatch up a great style! Case in point: this sleek crisscross pair from H&M. Available in a versatile saddle brown hue, these sandals are perfect for grounding all your spring and summer looks, from a silky maxi dress to a tailored shorts and blouse combo.
Nanette Lepore Squeeze Me Skirt ($198) in Pond Multi
While we don't condone wearing actual animal skins like the Zamunda royal family, there is a cruelty-free way to get the look: Nanette Lepore's Squeeze Me Skirt. Pencil skirts are a lot like t-shirts-you can never really have enough styles-and this one is particularly desirable. The chic snake print offers the sophisticated silhouette a luxurious look, while the bright turquoise color keeps it feeling fresh and on-trend too!
Eddera Aurelie Elephant Clutch ($275) in Red
If you're looking for the perfect way to complete your Coming To America ensemble, this striking clutch by Eddera is just the piece you need. Featuring bold red suede fabric and a gold-plated elephant ornament, this clutch exudes plenty of elegance and style. Plus, it comes with a removable chain strap, so it can function as a petite day bag too. But that's not even the best part. Now through May 30th, Eddera is offering 15% off to all WWW readers! All you have to do is enter WHOWHATWEAR15OFF at checkout.--Jessica Baker