Connect with us


Is the Quest for “Glam” Stylish or Inappropriate?



African Fashion Trendy or Approprite - BellaNaija - July2013A few weeks ago I went to see a movie with my sister and her boyfriend at the Palms Shopping Mall. I was already having a great time and was more than excited to be finally getting to watch Olympus Has Fallen. A few minutes later we were  seated in the not so dark hall and ready for the amazement those who had watched the movie promised. The next thing I knew, my chair started to shake. It wasn’t from the effects of the movie, that hadn’t even started. This annoying vibration was coming from the girl sitting beside me.

Apparently, this girl who couldn’t have been more than 16 years old had on the shortest pair of shorts I had ever seen in my life and a cropped top. The cold was increasing, and as Olympus started to fall, her legs started to shake even more. At this point I’m thinking to myself, why would you wear such clothes knowing fully well that you were going to be in a cold place? Would it be that bad if you had taken a jacket along? Or are jackets not as trending as your cropped top?

After the movie, my movie companions and I walked downstairs to get something to eat. Being the small amebo that I am, I was looking out for her to get a full look at what she was wearing but I couldn’t find her. Why? Because almost every girl I saw had on almost the same thing.

What is it with some people and not dressing appropriately? Now, I am not talking about her wearing something that shows me she likes lace underwear. Nope, I’m talking about appropriateness for the weather, place, occasion etc. Why wont people dress weather friendly? For example, there is a certain hip hop rapper who dresses like he is a member of  the Naughty By Nature, even though the weather here is unsuitable for such dressing. Is that his personality/trademark? Or is he simply unaware of the weather here. Do people dress for weather or are they simply following what music video vixens are wearing.

On the social media there was a lot of talk about Banky W’s video shoot photos. “Why are the girls wearing bikinis?”  “This is nudity“. It’s the beach, if you don’t wear a bikini or swim suit you might as well sit on of pile of coals and light yourself on fire.

Why is it that we are eager to dress like Rihanna, Beyonce, Wiz Khalifah, Kanye West and maybe someday North West, when we are trying to build an African fashion mentality?

I discussed this with my friend and even though we couldn’t come to one conclusion she believes that “if African fashion has to grow, we have to learn from people who are in the fashion business and have been for a long time. You don’t build a house without learning how to build first. So, when it comes to dressing we are simply doing it according to what we have seen over the years. Now, I would rather wear a leather jacket because I know somewhere in the world Kim Kardashian is wearing it, than because I know Genevieve has it in her closet“.

She also talked about some girls who wear body con dresses to every occasion – polo tournament, white body con dress; music concert, red body con dress; wedding, blue body con dress…frankly I know what she is talking about. Some girls just need to throw their body con dresses away for infringement on the Terms of Use.

My question is, how can we learn African fashion from places that aren’t African? How can we wear clothes and style trends that were patterned to foreign weather conditions in ours. Is fashion really that universal that we would wear a fur jacket no matter where we are? Why don’t we decide to dress Nigerian weather friendly or Canadian weather friendly or South African weather friendly? Are trends bigger than comfort and do they take appropriateness out of the picture? Let’s discuss.

Photo Credit:

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. lola

    July 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    maybe you all need to send this article to the BN red cartpet whores.

    • Audrey Gold

      July 9, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      why are they whores? I find it beyond appalling when women use those terms to describe other women. It reminds me that women sometimes are the cause of the sexism other women receive at the hands of men.

      If you still insist they are whores please enlighten me. You seem so wise in the topic of what makes a woman a whore.

      To Jennifer, I totally agree with you. There are so many talented designers in Nigeria, who are not utilised to their fullest potential. And honestly I used to think that Nigeria was way ahead of American fashion (3-4 years ago, not anymore.)

    • Non professional opinion

      July 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      I don’t think she means whores in a sexual way. I think she means they can’t get enough….of red carpets. Aside from that Aubrey take it easy jor 😉

    • lola

      July 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      *have some cold water* i wasnt only refering to women. A man can be a whore too. You dont need a soothsayer to tell you that some people are now so thirsty for the spotlight and would do anything to be on the red carpet. Hence, their dressing inappropriately for vent and wearing anything and everything. If you dont have and cant afford the appropriate outfit for an event, it means you need to sit your ass down at home and dont need to be at said event.

  2. rozay

    July 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    lol at body con dress colours .

  3. lee

    July 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Hehehehehe.I’m still laughing.u speak the truth.he who has ear.

  4. nnennia

    July 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    girls have lost their sense of decency.most girls feel that without exposing their bodies,the guys wnt come calling.there is nothing as pretty like a well covered girl

  5. odutola roots

    July 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm


  6. Dora the explorer

    July 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    We dint even mention the age appropriate aspect of dressing..
    The abuse of the body cons sha!!! inyama!!!

  7. Concerned_Boyfriend

    July 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    The first step to a solution is recognizing the problem. Affluence and development has created a new middle-class in Africa but unfortunately decorum still eludes us. A vast majority (especially those that are yet to travel oversea) have no sense of style and fashion other than what they see on TVs and Magazine. Some of these fashion faux pas screams ignorance and you can’t help but shake your head in amazement. In any developed society, the media is the conscience of the the society. This is a great opportunity for media practitioners to point out these ills and to educate the people on the subject matter…Hopefully, we will get there one day..

  8. Hurperyermie

    July 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    lola that is harsh kilode? love your write up jare that is why a lot of ladies find if difficult to get married the guy will take you to clubs and you will mumuciously dress to kill, smoke and drink and when it is time to get married he goes for the calm headed and wife material girl next tin we hear is complains of heartbreak your heart na plastic? abeg

  9. Concerned_Boyfriend

    July 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Yeah..what is body con dress ?. Help a brother out!

    • Amazeballs!

      July 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Those extremely tight ones that you can almost see the girls organs self!

    • MT

      July 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Google it brother! Body con is a body conscious dress that shows every contour of the body… It’s the body hug of the new age… Depending on how old you are.. I might need to explain body hug too :/

    • Teris

      July 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

      LOL!! i had to google the body-con-thing too. hilarious!

  10. DUU

    July 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    TRUE WORD””, please people should learn to dress according to your culture and weather”””” Nice article

  11. chiamz

    July 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    honestly, ‘ since when did trends take the place of comfort?’ yimu! gr8 article! modesty and comfort are so number one!

  12. Fray

    July 9, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I think you’re jumbling issues. Are you asking about what is weather/occasion-appropriate or why the ‘African fashion mentality’ isn’t being promoted? You haven’t even defined ‘African fashion’. Is what is appropriate in Nigeria appropriate for South Africa’s winter? Would short shorts be more appropriate in Africa if they had a Maki Oh label? In parts of Africa, partial nudity is very much in fashion — is that not ‘African fashion’, too? Lol. I’m not sure this has much to do with African fashion, which is itself open to a variety of influences, including globalization. Globalization by its very nature ensures there are overlaps in dressing, music, food, etc, and dominant countries (e.g. The US of A) have a larger share of mind. What is more at stake here is that while our sense of self/Africanness is influenced by the larger world, there has been an erosion in our sense of self/history/culture over time, whereby more young folks are more likely to ‘dress American’ or ‘speak American’ than they are anything else. America dominates your radio stations. America dominates your TV screens. America will invariably dominate your diet and wardrobes. The solution? Dig deep into our culture(s), find creative ways to make them attractive to the younger generation so they can find a way to merge a variety of influences & not edge Africa out altogether.

    Also, some folks simply prefer aesthetics over comfort and would rather wear trendy clothes than ‘appropriate’ clothes. And some folks would rather wear leather in a desert and pantyhose to a summer picnic. Fashion is open to individual interpretations and choices, and I’m not sure an ‘African fashion mentality’ – whatever that means – can cure this ‘problem.’ If you’re deeply concerned about ‘appropriate dressing’, start a campaign 🙂

    • Neo

      July 9, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Bless you!

    • Person

      July 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Thank you!

    • Naveah

      July 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Love Your Reponse!

    • nikky

      July 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      You should send this to Emmy Collins

    • Abike

      July 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Very apt response.

  13. linda

    July 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    thumbs up jenny, let those that have eyes read and learn how to dress!!! gbam#

  14. Akingboye Damilola

    July 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    How about we start with Nigerian designers that tag their lookbook, summer, spring , and winter knowing fully well that we only have rainy and sunny season here, and while its summer abroad, its raining black and blue here…

    • kesh

      July 9, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      lmao you had me rolling on the floor with that comment but i believe they do it to make their brand global and not just african focused lol

    • nikky

      July 9, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      I find it very silly that our designers have fall and winter collections. Whatever happened to harmattan season collection cuz that’s our weather not winter.

    • lily

      July 9, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      u are so right, i see no reason y dey shud always imitate the american

  15. Nomy1

    July 9, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Am a chic and I don’t even know what Body con means! Fashion agbanari go nu m na oso! That said, I agree with the writer, appropriate dressing is key, in a bid to dress oyibo, we make mistakes they’ll never make!

  16. sara

    July 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you! I’ve never understood people wearing leather in the hottest months.

  17. Nicole

    July 9, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Oh well, for some folks that is what it means to be fashionable even at the expense of comfort and sometimes , common sense and all I have to say to that is to each his own. Just check out the many of us who will don 5 and 1/2 inch heels whatever our reason, even when studies show time and again that continuous wear of heels like that can do real damage. We can’t dictate the way in which other people choose to operate their own lives. Though the writer makes some good points, the article is all over the place for me. I don’t know what its primary concern is. Is it that folks aren’t promoting “African” fashion or that they are too eager to wear what foreigners wear or that they don’t dress appropriately for occasions or with the weather in mind. Yes, there will always be the followers who like mindless robots do what those we think are fashionable do without thinking of their own style, likes, dislikes, comfort or personality. But, even amongst those who are trailblazers in the fashion industry, you will find people for whom fashion is all about the art and if that means that sometimes comfort and conformity are compromised, they are very willing to make the sacrifice. This article cannot possibly be directed at those folks, since it would be falling on deaf ears. People will wear what they like. I feel like this article is more a product of the writer’s own personal preferences and unfortunately not everyone will share in those.

  18. amakafaith

    July 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    may be we should start 4rom our nigeqian artist and movie producers. I think they are the bone of contention, we shld promote decency in dis country u are sexy wen u cover up and dress in a christian way.

  19. chibuogu ononye

    July 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    this what i have been saying for years especially when office wear is concerned men wore suits in the west especially lets say England because the weather barely gets hot but you see people wearing suits and turtle necks on the bus stop i just dont get it. Another thing i feel like everyone needs a dress code class cause every time i see pictures of events its like the attendees got too different invites overdress and underdress

    • Nene Leakes

      July 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      You do know that people in california and florida (really hot places) wear suits. Suit is formal not really based the weather. A coat over the suit is based on the weather.

  20. Munwa

    July 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    God bless this writer. I have never understood why people dress inappropriately. Is it the female teenagers who feel clothes made with half a yard is best, or young boys who would gladly show off the colours of their boxers? Is it the women who think they always have to reveal cleavage or show us the whole of their thighs and backs, or the men who find it “sexy” to unbutton their shirts for us to see their chest hair and a “surpponsingly” expensive gold chain? Everyone is to blame…..ahaaaaa, and yes the African designers who unveil summer, winter, spring and autumn wears….give me a break! i’ve never experienced these seasons in my Nigeria. We all need to change our mentality when it comes to dressing.

  21. Nene Leakes

    July 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Jennifer, this your article doesn’t really make sense and I don’t want you to take offense to that. A crop top and shorts are appropriate for the Nigerian weather. Although I agree a shawl or jumper or blazer would help the girl feel warmer in the cinema but she forgot it. O don’t think she should be penalized or insulted for that. As Nigerians we dress very Nigerian on special occasions and wear our regular clothes (T-shirts and jeans or whareva) during regular days. I don’t think following the trend of celebrities is a bad thing either as long as it’s weather appropriate. I don’t expect Nigerians to wear head-warmers, thick jumpers, leather jackets, thick blazers, coats, and all things winter in our weather .

  22. .....just saying

    July 9, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Toolz is guilty as charged for the body con dresses. Ahn…ahn…

  23. xoxo

    July 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Google is ur friend. Stop coming here to ask what body con dresses are .Some ppl though!!

  24. NNENNE

    July 10, 2013 at 3:17 am

    To all their own.
    My philosophy? Cover up and leave a lot for the imagination.

  25. Bee

    July 10, 2013 at 6:52 am

    And so what, I ask. How is it your problem how the next person (that you do not even know from Adam) dresses. Why do most Africans feel the need to force their own personal believes down other peoples throats. Nigerian weather is hot and shorts are completely appropriate for that kind of weather. The cold you are talking about, that affected the girl came from air-conditioning, and she probably forgot to pick up a Jacket,or did not think she needed it since it was hot outside. Why do you (and most Africans) make it your duty to point out and judge innocent people that are going on with their own lives and doing as they please, just because they do not fit your little do & don’t, appropriate & inappropriate bubble. Grow up and learn how to mind your business. Understand that these people you see are “individuals”, which means that they are different from you and there have a right to do what suits their personality and style. Not everyone is modest and that is okay. Just because you cover up does not make you better than the next person who doesn’t, they could probably even have a better and kinder heart than you who is so busy judging. Live and let live. Ugh

  26. Mama Mia!!!

    July 10, 2013 at 6:53 am

    What’s this article’s intent exactly? Cause the writer seems to be mincing her own words. Are you talking decency, patriotism or being aware of your climate condition while being yourself. Make up your mind as you lost me at Rihanna.

  27. JADE

    July 10, 2013 at 8:42 am

    @Nene Leakes cropped top and short shorts are appropriate for Nigeria? i concur but you do realize we are in the middle of the rainy season so its cold? she was going to the movies and every one knows the cinema gets very cold at some point, have u even seen what babes wear to the movies?u’d think they were either going to the beach or going for a society wedding.

  28. dammy

    July 10, 2013 at 8:52 am

    i agree with this write up to a certain level, i was at ikeja mall yesterday and i was shocked at the way some girls were dressed. This girl wore the miniest skirt ever and wore a chiffon top with only bra under, lets say she was even comfortable in it i’d have forgiven her, instead she kept pulling down the skirt and i am thinking why the fuck would u wear something u are not comfortable in???? its disconcerting to think that you would dress half naked and you would now be bothered when guys make cat-calls at you. In the western world where they dress like this, their men are used to seeing women dress like that, guys here are not used to seeing that and they proceed to shout crude obscienities at you and you get angry. If you want to be half-naked on the street make sure you are comfortable and confident enough to pull it off!

  29. Eve82

    July 10, 2013 at 9:13 am

    To each his/her own!

  30. MumsAloud

    July 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Its unfortunate that we have to copy the ways of the foreigners and then turn around to complain of the rise in rape in our society. And I fully agree with dammy about their men used to seeing their women dress like that. What is even more unfortunate is that the young girls in our society are more interested in showing off their bodies instead of their brains. You hardly hear a young girl talk about politics, aiming to be in senior management or even running their own multi-million dollar business. Dont forget that the stars you try to emulate are already made (money wise ofcourse) and all they do is just for publicity stunt, to make you spend more and help them get richer. Okay, enough of the preaching but seriously – we need a new set of role models for our young girls.

    • Ada Nnewi

      July 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Wow! You must be such a fantastic Role Model! See the wonderful excuse you’ve been able to make for rapists and would-be rapists…it completely absolves them from guilt… You are the most amazing flag bearer for their deluded cause…*Mmmsssccchhheeewww!

  31. Call me anonymous

    July 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I agree with the last speaker….to each, his own! The chickens are coming home to roost! Bad parenting is all this points to…..

  32. jummy

    July 10, 2013 at 10:21 am

    In as much as i have an idea of the point the writer is trying to make i still think some writeup on bellanaija needs proper research before putting it out to the public. This issue is way beyond bodycon because whether you like it or not bodycon dresses will come and go and the craze for another trend will arise. Therefore defining and understanding our own style is the key. but again like everything in life your style is your choice. if you choose comfort over glam good enough and if otherwise good enough.

  33. makeupbyebi

    July 10, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Dress, age, weather and occasion appropriate for women and even some men is a battle of the mind for most. I’ld say parents need to teach their children proper dress sense and also set the right example! it all starts from the home front. Also where ever we as individuals @ work, skool, church, mosque, the mall or cinemas etc we need to set the example if you know better. Life is simple.

  34. comment awaiting moderation

    July 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    The world will be boring if we all conform to certain standard…My take is on those who don’t have the body to fit in some certain dress(huge ass or thighs,stretch marks,bleech body,bulging tummy and weirdo makeup) aside that I’ve go no problem…There are certain body type that can dress just anyhow and get away with it!

  35. Kay

    August 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Nice piece. I was beginnig to think we didn’t have people with any sense of decency anymore. I’m sharing this piece.

  36. Kay

    August 31, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Nice piece. I was beginning to think we ddnt have people with any sense of decency. There are clothes for different occasions. And I don’t believe you have to expose sensitive parts of your body to look glamorous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Features