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Miss Yinx: Dressing To Impress

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Last Saturday, I was trying to pick an outfit for a wedding reception and my husband kindly helped me choose a pretty dress. As stylish as it looked, I refused to wear it because, in my opinion, it was too cheap to be worn to a posh party. His response; “Who will know it’s cheap? Maybe your fellow girls though”. It was funny when he said it, but it got me thinking. It is a general assumption that the average “Naija” woman or any other woman in the world loves to dress well and look good sometimes to the detriment of her pocket or the pocket of the person paying for the items. Is this assumption also true for the men? Whoever coined the saying “looking good is good business” was not lying. I don’t know about you but I definitely love to wear classy outfits and stylish accessories. However, a dilemma comes with our quest to look tasteful.

Do we dress to please ourselves, the opposite sex, the same sex or even our Creator? Do we dress for our colleagues, superiors or religious leaders? It is easy enough to say we are dressing to please ourselves but is that genuinely the case? In actual fact, if I wanted to dress to please myself, I would appear in leggings and a tank top every other day. I love my comfort but I love my job too. Religion, society and so many other factors dictate otherwise, hence we cannot always dress to please ourselves.

I have seen a couple of ‘Hijab sisters’ within the confines of their homes and I’m glad to tell you that I have been pleasantly surprised each time. Their husbands are not missing a thing! Whilst they fulfill a religious obligation, beneath those veils are stylish and trendy pieces of clothing.  I am sure about some of the clothes some of us wear to certain events that our pastors and imams would not be thrilled to see us in. Who are we dressed to please?

From the little I know about men, I would say they are not really attracted to clothes or accessories but the manner in which they suit the wearer, essentially the physique, the personality, carriage, neatness etc. How many men would recognize a pack of expensive Peruvian hair even if smacked them in the face? More often than not, when a man says your hair is nice it is not because you spent a whopping 500 dollars to import the hair.  He either means it as a pick-up line because he likes what he sees or the hair suits you beautifully. If he says likes your skirt, trust me, he’s probably checking out your booty or your legs. When a woman says she likes your hair, she will perhaps go on to ask for the contact details of your hairdresser or the cost of the hair extensions.

I also know that we women like to outdo each other.  I’m not sure of the reason for this. Most times, there is an unspoken competition. Whose heels are higher, whose clothes are more expensive, whose dress is from the high street and whose dress is from a top designer. Ask a man and a woman to describe the same lady on the same day in the same outfit. You are likely to get answers similar to the following: Man: She’s tall and fair-skinned, with long hair and wearing a black dress. Woman: She’s a bit fairer than I am. She’s wearing stilettos, 16-18” Brazilian weave and a black H & M Peplum dress. I think she’s “toning” her skin. Same woman, different judgments.

Let us consider the men. Do they also like to outdo each other? In my opinion, they are more practical in their dressing than the women. Men usually dress for convenience and comfort, except for the few I’ve seen who wear blazers so tight they cannot shake hands properly and trousers so tight they cannot walk straight. I like it when men subtly coordinate their colours well. When I say colours, I mean simple straight-forward colours – not Teal, Fuschia or Sage. For men, one item is usually enough to make a statement. It could be the watch, the shoes or the tie. Though, the effort to look dapper might sometimes be sniggered at by their fellow men and labeled as frivolity, it is most times admired and appreciated by the women-folk. Should we, then, believe that the guys dress to make an impression on the girls?

Most times when we start to get dressed we have a look we want to achieve. A look we have seen and we admire or a look we have imagined and desire. The purpose should also dictate our selection of clothes. No matter how expensive a pair of cycling shorts to the office would not make any sense! These days fashion is becoming more and more provocative, bringing a lot of attention, sometimes negative, to the wearer. Regardless of whom we dress to please, let us aim for one thing –RESPECT.

Photo Credit: clairenadine.com
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Yinka Ademola is an aspiring author, a PR person, wife and mother-to-be who likes to express herself by writing her thoughts and observations of all sorts, and by cooking! Passionate about transforming Nigeria, she is greatly inspired by its sights and sounds. Find more of her thoughts on Twitter @layinx.

Yinka Ademola is an aspiring author, a wife, a government employee and a soon-to-be mother. She enjoys cooking and sharing recipes. She likes to discuss issues that affect day-to-day life ,although in a lighthearted manner. One of her ultimate goals is to make Nigeria a safer and cleaner place. She firmly believes that women can excel both in the workplace and at home building. Yinka's favourite place is the beach and she enjoys travelling locally and internationally.

27 Comments

  1. smashingM

    February 19, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Beautiful write-up. I learned

  2. Asabe Chiamaka Adeolu

    February 19, 2014 at 10:16 am

    This post is riddled with EXTREMELY INACCURATE gender stereotypes.
    Again, another woman bringing down women all in the name of “concern”. And of course, placing men on a pedestal for being the more amicable gender.
    I hope you are not like these troublesome women you just described above.
    Please next time, say something that will uplift women.

    • nomad

      February 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Thank you. I’m tired of all this faux concern wrapped up in judgmental and condescending language. I kept rolling my eyes all through and expecting the usual comments from people not versed in critical thinking.

      “I also know that we women like to outdo each other.” – Speak for yourself and your friends, darling. Don’t tar all women with your brush.

    • Leggy

      February 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

      You couldn’t have said it any better. “The little I know about men they are not attracted to the clothes and accessories”. Sureee, because every woman is dressing to impress some man. We cannot possibly be wearing that dress or accessory because WE like it. It must be discussed and analysed to be because of some man. Ok oh

    • Neo

      February 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      Exactly! I use myself as the perfect example. Growing up skinny in a house with chubby siblings was hard, i was always on a mission to gain weight and fit in with big boobs, hips and ass. Took me a while to love my skinny body and now i overlove it sef! i dress for me and my skinny body and not for any man or woman at that. I have a fantastic body and when i dress for it, i feel good. If it pleases the opposite or same sex, thats a bonus.

    • Yinka Ademola

      February 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Hi. I love your names. Totally Nigerian! Thanks for your comment. The intention was definitely not to ridicule my fellow women. It just happened to be something I have observed over a period of time.

    • nene

      February 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      i don’t see what you’re complaining about. a lot of women dress to be noticed and to outdo the other girl. but women as usual lie and say i dress for myself. abet it is a competition for most women in almost everything, while men are more laid back and relaxed, they don’t care, they just want to be comfortable

    • idoublecrossmyheart

      February 19, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      I duff my red carpet…I stopped mid-way and asked how this article is beneficial to my breakfast..,..I did not understand the direction. Is she berating women for being competitive? The last time I checked men are equally critical of women as women are….just delivered differently.

    • Ivie ibodje

      February 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      D writer did not in any way sayy anytin judgemental.

  3. http://www.anemistyle.com

    February 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Interesting article, I understand what you mean though by women dressing to impress other women. I try to dress for myself, my husband and business in that order. As a wardrobe consultant I have to look put together but not over the top as you want people to notice but you don’t want to overwhelm them.

  4. Leggy

    February 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

    El oh el. I’m tired of all these articles bent on telling Nigerian women who inferior they are to Nigerian men who are sooo laid back while we all compete with each other. I’m tired of it.

    • Leggy

      February 19, 2014 at 11:32 am

      How*

    • Yinka Ademola

      February 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Women are not inferior to men. We are very fascinating but never inferior.

  5. funmi

    February 19, 2014 at 11:39 am

    trendy jackets, either boyfriend,flirty jacks or suits blazzers in great designs worn over skirts or pants looks amazing. or just your lovely gowns as long as am comfortable wearing them i no care who gets headache ooo

  6. chichi

    February 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    really nice indeed……….. so true!

  7. Promise

    February 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    @Yinx Good write up and i commend your observation but speaking as a pretty and curvy light skinned Lady,i actually sat back to ”genuinely” think about why i dress the way i dress cos am a very fashionable person and you know what?i realised i actually dress up to sooth myself and feel good and what i’ve noticed most times is that when i put on expensive accessories or quality clothes,my male colleagues actually complement on my dressing more and that doesn’t go to say that we should overstep our bounds financially but just to point out that most guys especially those who are stylish and have eyes for quality know when a girl wears cheap and trashy outfits as opposed to when they don’t. I believe anyone who is stylish knows there is something looking good and classy does to your esteem-you can walk into a gathering and speak to anyone with your head up high so sorry i don’t agree “my opinion though

  8. Modella

    February 19, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Kpam,every written words are true sha,but not applicable to every women…with the advent and exposure to social media..Facebook,instagram,the hustle is real…I ve friends in facebook,who some I knew are from struggling background and are still student…am always amazed at the kind of stuff they have on…The competition is real men,you have to fit in to belong…Life is in stages,why not live each moment at a time?

  9. Olusegun Opadeyu

    February 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    MissYinx, how are you? Very interesting write-up.

  10. Her Excellency

    February 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    We dress to please the occasion

  11. Simsi

    February 19, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I make all my clothes. So there’s no issue about buying expensive clothes. I dress to be comfortable most times. I only put extra effort wen its importnant. You can rarely see me wearing heels. And dis is coming from a 5”4 height. If I had my way. I’l just wear short, slippers nd loose fittings tops everyday. They’re so comfy

  12. Pink sandy

    February 19, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Great write up yinx. Most if not all you have observed is true but at the same time,we’ve still got quite a lot of women who dress to suit themselves and just because it makes them feel good. It does not have to be a designer label,any high street clothing mix matched well will make you feel good and of course wow others.

  13. Tosin

    February 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Nice article. I agree with all you said although it’s not always true. I used to wear a lot of jeans and throw on a comfortable top and i never remembered to wear earrings. Some of my friends complained and my male friends too. One said the reason I’m not in a relationship is because i don’t dress well even though I know friends i dress better than who are married. Now i try to dress really stylish with the heels and all but not comfortable sometimes. Whenever i get tired of all that, i just dress down which is my usual way. So my question is: Will guys not ask for a relationship just because you don’t wear all the heels and dresses? (I don’t think so but i’d like to hear your views.) Thanks.

  14. t.moni

    February 20, 2014 at 8:32 am

    nice write up Miss Yinx! i wear anything that makes me comfortable. Whoever says wat shez wearing is not nice,thats his/her headache*shrugs* like i care. lol

  15. yeni Bash

    February 20, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Nice write up dear! We all love to dress to impress..my opinion!

  16. Ivie ibodje

    February 20, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Nice piece yinkus. But I want to say evry lady or guy have separate reasons for dressing up. I personally will truely dress up for myself nd mayb my hubby. But most tyms wether its *cheap*. Clothing or *expensive* clothing, d most important thing is to look good in it. Uu can wear d cheapest but if its well put togeda, u’ll still look expensive.

  17. Adesh

    February 21, 2014 at 6:05 am

    Sublime, this write up! I’ve been opportuned or should I say unfortunate to see women folk who I reckon attempted to dress to impress men at parties but resulted in a ghastly debacle, It is at times like this that it becomes very obvious that a lady tried too hard and we men have a good laugh. Generally, I must say men, especially Lagos men usually dress to suit the occasion and its hardly likely that you’d see a man who looks like H&M puked on him unlike our female counterparts. Considering my Narcissistic nature, I dress to Impress myself!

  18. jaybee

    March 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    You are not far from the truth,most women are competitive and always seek tp outshine the next woman,so yeah,some of us dress to please ourselves,while some dress to impress others.But on the whole,moderation is key,expensive doesnt ,mean classy,and cheap doesnt mean tacky,just dress well and look comfortable,that’s all.

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