The Flesh Begs for Mercy

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Petronella Sibeene

FASHION evolves, agreed? We have had mini-skirts, midi-skirts and maxi-skirts and every time something fashionable comes out, it has adjustments to it.

My dear mother would always tell her daughters to dress up modestly and to her that meant covering most parts of the body, contrary to what is happening today.

It is fashion mother! It is not restricted to a certain culture. We are bound to wear anything and its origin does not really matter, I would always say.

But having grown up and looking at what is happening today, I have realised that all she was trying to do was to instil in us a guide that we would grow up with and would always apply in our clothing taste.

In my own world, I have of late observed that most people especially us women are confused and do not really know what to wear where, when and how. Anything goes as long as it is a label and in fashion.

Who knows, maybe the Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana label gurus had the likes of Naomi Campbell and Alek Wek in their minds when they designed some of their clothing?

Just a walk in town will reveal to you how many fashion maniacs are out there. In almost every direction you would not run short of seeing someone in a short and transparent piece of cloth, some running around the upper part of the body, others starting where they finish, and vice-versa.

While the ‘blouse’ is usually held to the shoulders by strings (thongs?), the sagging loose trousers leave the upper part of the panties clinging to the hips an inch or two above the unbelted pair of trousers that is almost falling.

Although clothes are primarily meant to cover one’s nakedness and shelter one against the weather elements, it seems it is becoming fashionable to expose more and more flesh by wearing less and less clothing in today’s world.

The flesh is squeezed and literally begs to be let loose from the piece of cloth (that is a poor excuse for clothes) just to catch a breath of fresh air.

I am not a fashion guru and in as much as designers are trying to satisfy market demand, perhaps the designers could also give a hint on which body a certain cut and material type would suit. (Finola Hughes of Style Network’s How Do I Look has made strides in rescuing fashion victims. I tell you, it’s a programme worth watching!)

It is not everything that is for everyone in the fashion world.

This week I found myself at a friend’s place and there came another woman who was selling her recently imported clothing merchandise.

After doing some optical nutrition and hand sampling, I landed on some colourful piece of cloth that I initially mistook for a boob top. But no, it was some kind of bikini with padded stuff kama to enhance the hip area (gunsakke). Surprised at the sight, and before I could say anything, a friend unfolded another one but this one had the pads at the back.

I burst into laughter and my friend explained that one was to enhance the bum.

Out of curiosity, I checked the label and surely I could not read because it was ≠∏π – Chinese stuff.

I asked the seller if those small things were really tailor-made for an African figure because surely, the continent, let alone the country, is endowed with full figures to a large extent that the padded materials would be of no use as far as enhancing the appearance is concerned.

True or not, the lady told me the world has undergone a sea of change. Be it apparel, accessories or hairstyle, the fashion consciousness of people is quite evident. And the city shops offer them opportunities to learn and adapt themselves to the latest in fashion.

I then concluded that in as much as we should wear what we are comfortable in, it would do no harm also taking introspection as to what really looks good on us.

Surely, dressing up decently does not mean not being trendy. There are several clothes that are made in the latest styles but do not necessarily have to show everything.

That’s my opinion.

Eewa.

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