Monday, May 24, 2010

Fashion Good Cop, Fashion Bad Cop

My girlfriend once said to me that I almost never wear a shirt-and-jeans combo. And that was the first time I noticed that yeah, she’s right! I don’t know if I’m fashion forward or backward, but I’ve long realised that being a Muslim girl who wears a hijab I have always had issues when it comes to fashion-
1. Vogue is not entirely reliable. I mean, if the season’s ‘in’ item is a pair of hotpants, that’s not exactly helpful is it?
2. All those beautiful Zara miniskirts and Prada dresses are look-but-don’t-touch items
3. People have fashion muses- Katy Perry, Nicole Kidman, Gwen Stefani etc. How about fashion icons who wear headscarves? None.
But then when I was raised as a child my mother has always reminded me that I should never limit my fashion access just because I am the Muslim girl with certain limitations in terms of dressing codes. Work with what you’ve got. It’s like how Eva Longoria would have to work with her short height, or how Jennifer Lopez would have to work with her extra curves. It’s really just the same concept.
And when you think about it, it’s so much better to not have a fashion muse! It means you don’t need to live up to any expectations. You are now the trendsetter. I have always loved clothes. I would eat friggin instant noodles for weeks if it means getting a dress I like. And why shouldn’t I buy a dress? Improvise. If you get a nice dress alter it shorter so you could wear it with opaque tights or dark skinny jeans. If it’s sleeveless find a cute bolero or a shorter jacket that fits really nicely on you and you’re good to go. The shoes will ALWAYS make the look. Great top, good pants, ugly shoes? Ugh. And the headscarves. As a Muslim woman you wear the hijab just as much you wear your tops so the rule of thumb is YOU MUST HAVE AS MUCH SCARVES AS YOU HAVE CLOTHES. I now own no less than 20 scarves. And no matter what people say you must try to never wear black or white hijabs (unless of course it perfectly matches the top). Those colours read ‘I can not be bothered’. If you don’t care about yourself, why should everyone else care about you?
The most important thing to remember is whether you are a Muslim girl wearing hijabs or a Vegas table dancer, the basic rules of fashion is the same. Here I’m listing down the basic rules and how it applies to scarf-wearing women-
1. When wearing baju kurung, your underwear and bra MUST completely support everything. Bra lines that show on your chest when wearing thin/fine-fabric baju kurung is just downright tacky (and it shows you’re trying to slut it up with the national dress. Have some respect!). And the baju kurung should always cut nicely at your knees or slightly above it, and the armpits should be close to your own armpit measurements, otherwise no one will know where your ass/waist/boobs are and people will think you steal other people’s clothes that are not your size.
2. G-strings are out the window. Wear seamless or boxers instead. Sitting on the floor with your head covered but you butt crack showing and your thong riding up your jeans? Not classy.
3. Nothing good can come, and I repeat nothing, can come from looking like a walking eggplant. That means to say if you’re wearing strong colours like purple, yellow and orange, do not opt to wear them too matchy-matchy (say, yellow pants, yellow top, yellow scarf). Add another splash of colour, like maybe a clashing-coloured handbag or scarves with different-coloured pattern.
4. If you go tight up, go big down. Tight down, go big up. For example flowy capri pants with a nice shirt that fits. Or a hobo flowery blouse with slim fit jeans. It keeps modesty intact, while style is balanced.
5. If wanting to wear a dress, remember that when wearing pants with dresses, the dress must always cut above the knee. Or else it will look like the dress doesn’t belong there.
6. When faced with the sudden sadness that you can never wear that glittery disco sleeveless top, remember that actually, really, there is nothing that you cannot wear. Find a good leather jacket or fitted jacket/bolero, some super high heels and you look better than Ke$ha already, honey.
7. Yes. It is a fact that being a Muslim girl with a love for fashion will always cost more $$$. You will always need to invest on pieces. You can’t just throw on a dress and shake your hair. It will always have to be a combination of dresses, overcoat/jackets, good pants that really fit your body, gorgeous expensive scarves and nice shoes. Face it. Swallow it. Embrace it.
8. When you look at a piece of clothing, don’t think “Ah, I can’t wear that”. Instead think “Okay, how can I wear this to fit MY needs?” Like knee high boots. You can never wear them with mini skirts like Kate Moss, but you can certainly wear them over skinny jeans like Gisele Bundchen.
9. Makeup, makeup, makeup. Solves almost everything.

No comments: