Wednesday, February 26, 2014

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE:
I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself.

Photo Credits: Sunday Alamba for the Associated Press
Fan-girling on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie today. Again. Adichie wrote a lovely piece for Elle.com, asking the seemingly obvious question of what's wrong with being a smart woman and loving fashion at the same time. I adore Adichie! She is smart, observant, emotional and passionate but not at all sentimental! In my wildest dreams, I even imagine us being friends. BUT one thing I have got to say about her and it's something that comes across through her writing but especially during her interviews: she is frighteningly sarcastic. In the Elle piece she shares an anecdote from a writing workshop in which a fellow (unpublished at the time) writer says about the instructor: “Look at that dress and makeup! You can’t take her seriously.” Adichie admires the woman and she finds her both brilliant and very graceful but hears herself quickly agreeing with her fellow-student. Yes, indeed, one could not take this author of three novels seriously, because she wore a pretty dress and two shades of eye shadow. Snort

This part here, though, just kills me: 
I am now 36 years old. During my most recent book tour, I wore, for the first time, clothes that made me happy. My favorite outfit was a pair of ankara-print shorts, a damask top, and yellow high-heel shoes. Perhaps it is the confidence that comes with being older. Perhaps it is the good fortune of being published and read seriously, but I no longer pretend not to care about clothes. Because I do care. I love embroidery and texture. I love lace and full skirts and cinched waists. I love black, and I love color. I love heels, and I love flats. I love exquisite detailing. I love shorts and long maxidresses and feminine jackets with puffy sleeves. I love colored trousers. I love shopping. I love my two wonderful tailors in Nigeria, who often give me suggestions and with whom I exchange sketches. I admire well-dressed women and often make a point to tell them so. Just because. I dress now thinking of what I like, what I think fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I feel again myself—an idea that is no less true for being a bit hackneyed. 
I like to think of this, a little fancifully, as going back to my roots. I grew up, after all, in a world in which a woman’s seriousness was not incompatible with an interest in appearance; if anything, an interest in appearance was expected of women who wanted to be taken seriously.

To my Eastern European sisters reading this, is it time to bring back up the conversation about green eye shadow and red hair again? I think so. 


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