“Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady”
― Marilyn Monroe
I always look for a good vantage point to soak in the bustling city, its vibrant, and exciting, hopefully, and you get to glimpse amazing fashion moments. So you can chuckle to yourself and of course share with whoever you are how Kenyan women are elevating the fashion scene, are more liberated and finally getting around to being more daring in their fashion sense. So whether I am uptown, enjoying coffee at another Java outlet or downtown trying to avoid people bumping into me or is it the other way round? Sigh! Downtown has a way of cancelling out completely the mere thought of personal space, people seem too busy hustling to care they shoved you for the hundredth time.
Regardless of where I am browsing the crowd, there seems to be an ongoing phenomenon that keeps popping up, over and over and over again. Finding these eye sores is unfortunately too easy, from shop to shop these items are proudly displayed, hawkers are always proudly chanting them and even in the quiet hum of malls, they seat there. Proudly displayed, of course, better styled, with plenty of space to view from several angles, quiet hum and an attendant which is all factored in the price, sometimes three times over.
The super tight tops, dresses and pants are fashion culprits hiding in plain sight. Looking both alluring and mockingly from a window display. These culprits are designed to lure you in with bold colours, latest trend cuts, perfectly displayed and bold graphics. Where they fail over and over again, is in the fabric, hold it up on a sunny day and you could be looking through your favourite pair of shades. This is when you recall the word translucent from your school days. I have to applaud these culprits because they make you false promises over and over again aided by their accomplices aka attendants & shop owners and we believe them.
Here are a few tips, to avoid incriminating yourself as you shop and fall prey to these culprits
Just because you can squeeze into it doesn’t mean it fits – sometimes things that hold you too tight should be let go e.g. terrible exes, bad friends and super unhealthy foods. Clothes that only showcase you at your worst and literally put a spotlight on your unflattering areas should be dumped. It doesn’t matter what promises they have given you or the fact “It’s at night, no one will notice” Nope unless you can manipulate light like a mutant and ensure no jiggly parts are seen. It’s never a good idea, factor in a few drinks, and a gazillion selfies with bright flashing lights while trying the latest dance moves and you will find yourself sticking to the 3D story Deny, deny & Deny that that was ever you.
Know thyself – understand your body and what looks on your body and stick to that. Any item that glorifies showing your extra love handles, belly button, and jiggly parts and showing everyone which inner wear you picked or didn’t pick me (OH boy) is not loving your body. There are amazing clothes for every body type and you don’t have to compromise your fashion sense for any item.
It’s in the fabric – it’s sometimes tough to keep up with numerous fabrics, but overall keep away from stretchy, super light, translucent and clingy materials, nothing good has come out from clingy things. Once you wear an item have a look at how the fabric drapes on your body, does it highlight your best assets? And yes everyone has something worth highlighting; amazing skin, great bust, tiny waist, long legs, blessed behind, whatever it is the fabric, cut, colour and shape should be to highlight your best assets and be forgiving on your lovely lady lumps.
Keep to the classics – some items look amazing in a variety of body shapes. The much acclaimed peplum style is very flattering, as the fit and flare dress, wrap dresses, empire waist tops/dresses and classic button-down white shirt.
Don’t be quick to believe the sales attendant – sadly not all have your best interest. The following comments “It’s stretchy ,ndio itakufit” “That’s how they all fit” “As long as the front is fine,no one sees the back” “You are not that BIG” “That’s how everyone is wearing them” (even when it’s clear you are bursting the seams) And please note if you tear it, you will pay for it. Simply give a non-committal “Mmm” gently remove the item, say thank you and walk away. No looking back is allowed.
Foundation – this is a mantra to keep repeating over and over, a great foundation is well worth the investment, many times over when you rock a fitting dress that holds everything together just right. There is a reason Spanx is a billion dollar company. Celebrities on the red carpet live by this rule, the most honest confession I have read was from Gayle King who even wears a smaller size or even 2 body length Spanx when she has on occasion. Do not be shy, invest in a new one or look for more affordable gently used ones that come in a variety of breathable styles and fabrics.
Stop adding the pounds– too-tight clothes actually make you look larger as they emphasize your size . When you wear fitting clothes they make you look slimmer. Ditch the “culprits” and already you look slimmer!
Let’s come together and kick these culprits from our closets, be another woman’s keeper and spread the word. Save yourself the agony of constantly clutching your tummy, or adjusting your dress, or self-consciously posing or cautiously picking something from the ground because you know like everyone else knows that it’s just too tight.