Why every woman should have an African woman for a stylist: My ode to Puksies Wardrobe and Lupita Nyong'o
I have never considered myself to be a fashionista, although I am a girlie girl of sorts and I like nice things. This is until I discovered two divine goddesses of fashion: Puksies Wardrobe and Lupita Nyong'o. Two African women who completely transformed my understanding of fashion and my indifference to it.
Growing up in the Caribbean, women's template for fashion either came from the UK or the US and of the last 30 years or so, more so the US than Britain. I am not judging, but skimpy, ill fitting, and down right 'you lost your damn mind' clothing became the trend du jour and often times the only choice for women and young girls.
We all tried to emulate what we saw on the MTV videos and all the other US media that for some God forsaken reason we made the authority on dress. Clothing stores respected the demand for the USA image and indulged our wayward tastes with apt clothing choices. With that template set, it was fashionable, as I said, to wear the most ill-fitting i.e. too small, to skimpy, crack showing, brek bubby flapping and absolutely no reminder or indication of a woman's divine essence as the defining feature of Barbadian fashion.
And so, I was never inclined to be a fashionista, until now. I must say though that even before I became acquainted with these two ladies, I have always been absolutely mesmerised by African fashion. I have never seen a style aesthetic for women that was as devastatingly elegant and bold at the same time. And mind you, I am not talking formal events like weddings or parties. I am talking about 'just stepping out your front door for some milk' fashion.
My first introduction to African garb came while studying in Bournemouth, when a good friend of mine gave me a two piece skirt set with gele for my birthday. What can I say? Divine! I felt like a goddess and completely transformed. (Thanks Dami!!)
But at the same time, I thought, damn this is absolutely gorgeous; how can I wear this, wear this in Barbados? I thought the sheer regalia of this African garb would be too much. And the sad truth was that it was by no means garish or loud in a bad way. It was just different.
Lord knows I love individuality. Life is too short to be follow-pattern, but a shift from the Caribbean and Barbadian fashion aesthetic would take a few more years to come.
And with Puksies Wardrobe and Lupita Nyong'o it has finally come full circle.
A popular vlogger on Youtube, Puksies Wardrobe embraces her Nigerian heritage uncompromisingly. This is not to say that she does not do American sportswear, because she certainly does. But and this is a huge but, everything that she styles has that unquestionable African look and feel to it. Colour is colour. Nothing washed out or bland; accessories to match. And since we are talking about African garb, no one styles and wears it with such devotion to her roots while at the same time making it modern and fresh for all of her 20' something followers, better than Puksies Wardrobe.
As for Lupita Nyong'o. Damn! That is all that I can say. Effortless, timeless and chic and minimal to the point that whatever she puts on, may it be a bath towel, she looks devastatingly beautiful. It is the African grace and beauty that baptises Lupita.
I know that perhaps her stylist is not African, but she has the beauty that is characteristic of Africa but sadly ignored. No weave, no war paint for makeup and no vulgar clothing. Even when she does sexy, and she has, it is always and I do mean ALWAYS classy.
An unlikely fashion favourite on this year's red carpet, as the newbie in the crowd, Lupita has made an indelible mark on fashion this year. The SAGs, the Golden Globes, Critics Choice etc. But I must say that she started to captivate me even before. At her press junkets and promotion for 12 years a Slave, she killed it just in her interviews alone. Never over done or overbearing- just like a cool breeze in the sun, Lupita's style was to be felt and savoured
These two women make fashion the homage for which it was intended: a woman's divine essence. And I am grateful for these examples, and so should you.
And that really sums it up there guys, bold, beautiful, timeless, chic and African! Every woman should have an African woman for a stylist.
Petra Marie…Inspired Be