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What I’m Wearing: A Proud Afghan-American Who Mixes Vintage With High Fashion

Safia uses her style to highlight the rich history and culture of Afghanistan.
All photos courtesy of Safia

Everything about Safia screams confidence. Just take her Instagram handle, for instance, @bestdressedafghan. Born in Pakistan, Safia has lived in the Washington area since she moved to the United States in 2002, and she currently lives in Reston. “I am all American at heart with an Afghan soul,” she says.

At 25 years old, Safia works as an assistant designer for her older sister’s DC-based company, Kochaii, where she helps stylize and photograph handcrafted iPhone cases. More than gaining followers, Safia is motivated by a responsibility to authentically represent her city and culture. Her Instagram account is dedicated to the history of Afghan fashion, and she often posts photos of celebrities who wear traditional Afghan vests and dresses.

“My people need the representation because the world has seen nothing but negative narratives about Afghanistan,” she says. “I am as proud of being an American as I am an Afghan.”

safia dc fashion

What I’m wearing in this picture

“My Blazer is by L’agence, skirt is by Phillip Lim, shoes by Malone Souliers x Emanuel Ungaro, clutch by Zara, and I have completed the look with my vintage Afghan choker. All purchased from various online retailers.”

Sense of style

“It definitely depends on my mood, but I somehow always gravitate more towards an East meets West look where I love to incorporate traditional pieces with my modern-day look.”

Fashion icon

Jacqueline de Ribes. “She is the epitome of elegance, femininity, and a dream muse of every couturier. Not only has she been a member of the International Best Dressed List since 1962, but she also managed to became a successful fashion designer herself—a true representation of beauty and brains.”

safia dc fashion

Commute style strategy

“For shoes, I always go for my Clarks boots.” As for bags, Safia says: “I can fit a whole lot in my Goyard tote.” 

Favorite item of clothing

A blazer from Blaze Milano.

Favorite fashion trend

“I haven’t followed trends since middle school. I really don’t care about the what’s in and what’s out today concept and know my style well enough now to purchase statement pieces that will last for many years.”

Least favorite fashion trend

“Undergarments as outerwear.”

Best bargain

“A vintage embroidered Afghan vest that I bought for $12.”

Have a unique sense of style you’d like to share with other Washingtonians? Tag a picture of your favorite outfit on Instagram with #WhatImWearingDC, or email me with “What I’m Wearing” in the subject line. You might be featured next! To read past entries, click here.

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Assistant Editor

Elliot joined Washingtonian in January 2018. An alum of Villanova University, he grew up in the Philadelphia area before moving to Syracuse to pursue a master’s in journalism. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, CatholicNews.com, and Syracuse.com. He lives in Eckington.