Over the weekend a girlfriend of mine shared an article with me written by one of favorite novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; which really resonated with me. And I couldn’t help but add my two cents about it; as I too had a very similar experience. You can find the link below:
In the article ,Adichie speaks of her childhood experience with fashion ; and what I have noticed to be the typical upbringing of many students, both African and of African descent. The importance of a proper dress when leaving your home; and similar to Adichie, I too was a bit at awe when I came to the states for schooling and saw that students and even adults at times would come to class and stroll around and shorts and flip flops. The “just roll out of bed” look I call it.
The sight was one to be seen, from someone that grew up with a mother who on a daily basis reminded me that the two biggest faux pas was leaving your house without a brand new pair of underwear and wrinkle free clothes.
As I reminisce, I laugh a bit because, the efforts she put forth in getting us prepared for school and Sunday services, one would of thought we were headed to meet the head of state. My sister and I, received a full blown treatment; our heads adorned with satin ribbons that had to compliment our dresses, sparkling leather shoes and matching socks. I can almost smell the scent of her perfume that she showered the house with because one pump just never seem to do it.
Fast forward years later, in college these simple things stuck with me subconsciously. As, I was always know as the girl you seem to always be “dressed up” and I can’t even begin to tell you how many people stopped to ask me if I was going somewhere, or the countless “why are you all dressed up ? You know you are only coming to class, Right?” I almost began to think I was doing to much but no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t seem to break the cycle. For what many of my American classmates thought was dressed up; I thought of as casual wear.
One would say that maybe it was the school, I attended especially being in Miami, which definitely is a bit more relaxed in comparison to the rest of the United States; but my experience mirrored many of my friends that in were in other regions of states.
Like Adichie and many other foreign students, such as myself, the experience has been the same both male and female. I would say maybe it is a culture difference, especially when it comes to the university environment because what a student wears to class here. I would not dare to wear on a university grounds back home.
And don’t get me wrong I don’t want to over generalized but from my experience students especially in university just seem as if they can not be bother with the idea of putting the energy forth in the morning to get dress. I have even seen cases of pajamas being worn in my early morning Finance class, my jaw just dropped.
However, I must say to each his own but I am truly thankful to my mother for being my very first fashion icon, and daring me to dress according to what is true to me. And because of boldness, I dare not compromise.
Love to hear your experiences and/or your thoughts on the matter.
Check out Adichie’s Article
As always, Avec Amour