Where did Colour Go?

THE STORY

They say an understanding of colour is a fundamental part of dressing well. It basically brings the difference between trying on dozens of different pieces of clothing and wondering if they are going to blend with your wardrobe back home and picking one well-suited piece with confidence.

You will find that most male stores are guided by the blues, whites , the navies and the  grays, otherwise known as the ‘staples’. So where exactly did the colors go? We are not against the idea of the neutrals but what separates a well-dressed man is the ability to build off those neutral bases,

rather than simply wearing them day in and day out. Most men nowadays tend to be clueless whenever someone starts talking about hues and shades, not realizing that combining colors tastefully is one of the hallmarks of the truly well-dressed man.

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Before the white colonialists, set foot in the savanna plains, Africans were largely flamboyant in their fashion. With generous accessorising and ardent bold embellishments, we were largely not apologetic about our identity. Enter the colonialists in the late 1800’s. Their beige khaki shorts and white shirts overtime seemed more fashionable than our own traditional attire.

Dressing well for Africans back in the day involved proper conduct and elegant style, which included appropriate apparel, cosmetics, and coiffure along with magnificent carriage, graceful movement, fastidious toilette, and immaculate garments, which all incorporated bold colour.

The wide range of color and style in African dress, headdress, and footwear reflected the reality that covering and adorning the body was used to provide both aesthetic and social information about an individual or a group. The Maasai mode of dressing for example has been one whereby colour is prominent. In fact the idea of colour has been really emphasized in the Maasai culture that according to them,even God manifests Himself in the form of colour, according to an article read on www.exploringafrica.com. Moving on to the Samburu culture, their distinctive feature is the amount of jewellery, especially colourful multi-beaded bracelets, anklets and necklaces won by both men and women.

The Samburu Mark

Color therefore, has been the African mark for a very long time, until we had to comply with what was deemed as professional and corporate during the colonial era. Our forefathers matched it up from top to bottom and not surprisingly  the more the color you had, the higher the status you were ascribed.

Mixing Colors

If you’ve never won color, now could be the time. However, avoid mixing color like you are a five year old, with access to six buckets of paint and no parental supervision.  You don’t want to look too enthusiastic or clueless. The confident swag of the Samburu as they drape themselves in embellished shukhas should &  act as a guide.

“Kenya’s current challenges can largely be traced to a lack of assertiveness as far as our culture is concerned. We can go so far as to say, we may have a crisis of identity. If we simply appreciated more of what we have or who we are then our confidence would propel us to greater heights.” says Sam Omindo, Creative Director of Genteel.

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