There was a time when you were considered unfashionable if you had your natural hair. The trend was to have your hair straightened. Even as a teenager in the early 90s, I looked forward to having my hair permed immediately I graduated from the secondary school. That was the in-thing.
Fast forward to twenty years later, everyone is going back to being “local”. No one sees natural hair as unfashionable anymore. It is now considered to be a pride to flaunt the natural look. Even the social media is agog with different ways to keep your natural hair looking beautiful. Google also has different images of natural hair styles and sincerely they are very pretty.
There was a time when having a total transformation with your make-up was considered trashy. Prior to that, our parents made up their faces heavily for parties and events. It was the fad then. I smile now when I remember attending parties with our parents and seeing the faces of some women with the rounded red or pink highlights on their cheekbones. It looked really funny but well, it was being fashion forward during that era.
Fast forward to twenty years later, having your make-up done by a professional make-up artist is the real deal. I have seen some faces made up and I actually fail to recognize the person behind the face. I once attended a wedding where I was looking out for the bride but did not realize she had just passed by me. Her make-up was a total transformation with a capital T and she had changed into an evening gown; so identifying her among the many beautiful ladies in various gowns got me confused.
There was a time when wearing our local African fabrics was termed as old-fashioned. Only our grandmothers proudly rocked the Adire and the Ankara materials. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe our rejection of our local fabrics was one of the problems the textile industry encountered which eventually helped in running them aground. Yeah, we all know about the country not having power but it has been that way since eons ago (probably since my toddler years).
Fast forward to twenty years later, the Ankara material became the darling of wedding planners and brides. It became the choice of aso ebi. The fashion industry is also awash with Ankara sewn in beautiful styles while the Adire is gradually stamping its feet.
There was a time when people looked at you with “one kain eye” if you wore a platform shoe. Prior to that, our parents rocked the platform shoes in parties and events. If you need proof, ask your parents or any woman in her late 50s or 60s to show you pictures of herself in her teenage years. Even the men were not left out. They were awesome as they rocked the bell trousers. I remember watching soul train and seeing only bell trousers in every episode.
Fast forward to twenty years later, the bell trousers are back with a bang but this time, the women are owning it. The platforms have been back for a while and it has even been incorporated and designed as normal work shoes. I personally prefer wearing shoes with a little platform as it helps reduce the strain on the arch of the feet.
There was a time when it was fashionable to amass body weight. Pot-bellied men were regarded as the “Baba Olowos”. Even the women were not left out. If you were married and put on a bit of weight, it was said that you were showing evidence of being taken care of by your husband.
Fast forward to the millennium, everyone is talking about eating healthy. The pot-bellied men of yester years want to have six packs by force and run the six-pack body youngsters out of the market. Gyms are springing up at every corner to assist them in achieving this purpose. The women (both single and married) don’t want to put on weight any longer. And those who have been blessed “in a big way” are getting into diets to remain healthy.
Above all, it is nice to know that I am a part of this fashion eras making the rounds. So in another twenty years, I would be able to tell the youngsters that “we rocked that in those days”.
***Do you have any fashion stories or pictures of your parents, aunties or uncles dressed to the nines and rocking their era to share? Drop them in the comments section below and let us have a good laugh.***