Day 13 of the Afrobloggers WABC2021
This week, we’re talking about fashion and culture. A big shout out to Abs Kyei, our resident fashion designer (also my baby sister) helping us with this fashion and culture week!
“Fashion fosters the clichés of beauty, but I want to tear them apart. ” – Muccia Prada.
I must have been acting differently at work, because the boys noticed. And asked.
“Did our Virgin Mary get ‘some’ over the weekend?”
Virgin Mary indeed! I can’t say I was sexually experienced – I was definitely quite the goody-two-shoes. But I certainly was not a Virgin Mary. They had no idea what went on in my mind. Or what had gone on in the past. And I was definitely not about to tell it all.
I only laughed.
And the teasing got worse at lunch, when they noticed me beaming at my phone, not paying any attention at all to the continuation of the cryptocurrency conversation.
I was beaming at a text from Mawuli.
Let’s have a ‘proper’ formal date. I’ve never really had one of those.
Like one where we get dressed up… black tie, and go to some bourgeoise restaurant?
I didn’t know what to text back. I had no clothes for bourgeois restaurants. And I could not even remember the last time I went shopping!
I could buy you a gown, but I don’t know if my taste in gowns would make any sense.
Maybe Sheena could hook me up? She was great at all of that stuff, and I remembered she had a stylist – I had picked up an outfit from her for Sheena once.
So maybe instead, I can pay for whatever gown you choose.
I laughed once more, earning the glare of the boys this time. Why was he offering to buy me a gown? Was I supposed to find something designer to wear? What if he showed up in a tux and I showed up in a regular dress? What if I didn’t look good in exotic clothes? What if…
Okay, I needed to breathe. And so I did. I calmed myself down. This was Mawuli. My Mawuli. He was fun and sweet and full of all the chivalry in the world! If he wanted us to play dress up, I would show him how it was done!
I texted Sheena to ask for help, and she had her stylist call me to plan a meeting. Even over the phone, it was obvious the lady was a talker!
“The fashion industry evolves quickly. There are the people who follow trends, and those who follow icons, and a few who follow brands. I don’t follow any of that. I work with what works for each body. As you should too. If I remember right, you have a great figure… Almost anything would look good on you! But let me put together a few sketches, and we will have something either picked up or made.”
“And you had big hair the last time I saw you… any plans for it?”
“Uuh, No.” I replied.
“You know how our natural hair can be considered unkempt? You need a good hairstylist to make sure it looks great. I will get on that too.”
I didn’t know what to say. This was just a date, not my wedding day! Why was she making such a big deal about it?
“In the meantime, check out abskyei.com, and let see if you find anything good on there. She has amazing designs, and even though she studied at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, she isn’t outrageously priced like most of the new up and coming designers.”
“But I’m pretty sure she will soon be high-priced, haha, so get on there ASAP!”
I went on the site, and picked out three different things, and sent them to the stylist.
She replied with a text:
I will pick the third one for you, and maybe have her switch the front and back. That way your back will have that open space instead of your front. And maybe we’ll cut the front a little lower also. And I don’t think the arms should be this long. And what about a slit? I’ll see what she says. I am sure it’ll look better on you than on the model because of your much wider hips. I’ll have her put all that together and see where we are.
Mawuli decided he wasn’t going to tell me where the said date was going to be. Although it was cute, I begged him to tell me, just to make sure I wasn’t going to be underdressed or overdressed. He wouldn’t budge.
So I had two weeks to prepare for this mysterious date. Luckily, my custom-designed dress was going to be ready in that time. The stylist had a whole look planned out. She had me send in measurements. Sheena refused to tell me what this lady charged – she said this was my treat. And I hadn’t really asked but I had a feeling it was a fortune!
Because why was she calling me at 11:00PM to ask about waistbeads?
“Abs Kyei called me about it. She needs to be sure how low to make the back, that is, if you don’t want them to show – Yes, she is meticulous like that!”
When I told Mawuli about that, he was intrigued! I assumed he would laugh, because I found it funny.
“I didn’t know you wore waist beads… how come I’ve never noticed them?”
I glared at him as if he’d said something outlandish.
“Because they’re obviously not meant for your eyes!”
“But I see so many women wearing them all the time? And if I’m being very honest, they’re really cute!”
This was certainly not the direction I was expecting the conversation to go! I didn’t know how to even reply to that. And he was looking at me with a weird ‘I know what underwear you got on’ look.
“So why do you wear waistbeads if nobody gets to see them?”
I was confused. It’s something I’d just always had on since I was born. Whenever I outgrew any as a child, my mum would get new ones and tie them around my waist. She said it was to check if I’d gained or lost any weight. My grandmother said it was to give me a good feminine figure and that it was one of the things that distinguished our culture from some other cultures. One of my old aunts said it was to keep a man when I got married. Honestly, I only kept it on because it was what I was used to. I don’t remember ever going a day without them, and I only recently got the ones with clasps and fasteners when I became an adult – that way, my mother didn’t have to keep tying them for me. I remember an ex boyfriend that saw it one afternoon when he came to visit. I had on a crop top and shorts, and he thought it some sort of juju that I had on, to keep him with me. It was the first red flag that had me kicking him out of my life!
We were sitting in his car in front of my house. And he had my left hand in his, on his lap.
“If you won’t tell me why you wear them, can I at least see them?” He said in a suddenly quiet, husky voice.
“You’ll see them when I want you to see them!” I said quietly, grabbing my stuff and slowly getting out of the car, with a smile on my face.
I texted the stylist on my way inside the house.
I need the back to be low enough that the waistbeads show.