Have not done well this week as far as posting…Below, some outfit inspirations for this week. I really like the stripe skirt from the crew, it’s simple yet fresh and it pairs well with the fuschia! Let me know which outfit you like best!
Most people believe all African women wear headscarves. In fact, I remember a girl looking down on me because I said I did not wear it. It was a funny moment and I tried hard not to laugh but there I was being taught how to dress African by a girl who had only heard of Africa from books and the few friends she knew. However, the fact is she did not know so how could I get upset? Maybe she genuinely felt compelled to help me appreciate what she believed to be a quintessential part of grooming in my culture.
And in some African countries, the headscarf is indeed a staple in women’s clothing. However, Africa is a very diverse continent, not all of its inhabitants share the same traditions or preferences. In fact, even the city in which I was born has very distinct grooming rules based on the tribe one is from, and the personal choices one makes.
Will I ever wear a headscarf? Absolutely, in fact I have in the past because it looked amazing on some models from Nigeria. Is it mandatory in the culture I was raised in to wear one? No. As a matter of fact, in the Kinshasa I grew up in, young and single women usually did not wear headscarves. They could but usually did not. Typically, only married women choose to wear them.
Updated. Now, I assigned myself a small project to understand the origins of the headscarf and the different styling options. Here are my findings:
- The headscarf originated as a protection against natural elements (read wind, sun and dust) for women’s hair
- It then migrated as a protection against evil spirits as a woman’s head was believed to be the superior part of her body and the entrance to her soul ( :( there had to be some spiritism somewhere)
- The style evolved once again into a means of seduction that married women used to accentuate their face and, per Beaute-Ebene, ‘arouse their husbands’ pride’. I would agree with this explanation as it is in harmony to what I was told as a young child in Kinshasa.
- In Kinshasa, young and unwed women only wear headscarf to cover unruly hair or to make a fashion statement; no as a cultural fashion staple
- It seems that the first painting of Black slave women wearing headscarves was made in 1707 by Dirk Valkenburg (the painting is called “Slave Play” and you can see a picture below
- The headscarf may be traced even further in the past with Ancient Egypt where kings, queens (famous Nefertiti headscarf) and false gods used it depending on their function and gender
- In Islam, the headscarf is used for religious purposes
- There are a variety of styles, GirlMeetsWorld proposes 36 ways to tie an African scarf, image below:
- One quintessential headscarf that must be paired with the Nigerian Buba (traditional Yoruba outfit) is the Gele (or Aso-Oke), the only scarf I have tried to tie and would like to get right! There is a detailed post on the style at Savoir Et Partage. Basically, the Gele is worn in Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana (Yoruba people of Western Africa). What I love about this scarf is that it indicates the status of the woman wearing it. Indeed, when the end of the scarf is pointing right, the woman is married and should be left alone. When it is pointing left, she is free and available. How ingenious is that! :)
Picture courtesy of Obonheur
If you are interested in some tutorials for African headscarf styling, some options below! Please share your pictures when you try them on your own!
This is a print that has gathered a few raves per my Personal Stylist. The Photo Floral reminds me of the Punk Floral from last Spring.
images above courtesy of J.Crew.com
Pros: very cute print, fresh and light, can be paired with whites, greens, blues, etc. It’s all cotton but…
Cons: No lining!!! I felt a little too exposed and with the summer heat, there could be sweat spots which are unflattering. I’d recommend a slip if you are considering, or wearing now in Spring with cooler temperatures. Also, considering the very light cotton, I am not sure the unique print by itself justifies the full price… :(
Material: 100% cotton, no lining
Fit: Runs large. My regular size was simply too puffy and the waist did not hold. I’d recommend to size down or go with your smaller skirt size at the Crew.
Sissi’s verdict: I’d say wait for sales, but I hear it’s been going fast like the Punk Floral from last season. Up to you, I’d wait for a discount.
Do you agree? Please share!
A cute pullover with a French line available at Madewell and currently on sale. The sweater is particularly cute! Review below.
Pros: very cute, lightweight, pretty versatile, loving the white and blue pairing. The sweater feels great on, no itchiness.
Cons: sheer enough to require a cami underneath
Material: 100% wool, the color is closer to cream than white
Fit: true to size
Sissi’s verdict: Keeper! Do you agree? Please share!