One of the reasons why ELLE UK is my favourite magazine is because they have such an original view on topics close to women's hearts. Last month, they published a piece by a writer I really like, Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (her latest novel Americanah is absolutely marvellous). In ELLE, Chimamanda talked about how, as a woman, you're expected to dress down to be taken seriously.
"Perhaps it is the confidence that comes with being older, or 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. I love black, and I love colour. I love heels, and I love flats. I love shorts and maxi dresses and feminine jackets with puffy sleeves. 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 of telling them so. Just because. I dress thinking of what I like, what fits and flatters, what puts me in a good mood. I dress to feel myself - an idea that is no less true for being a bit hackneyed. I think of it as going back to my roots. I grew up in a world where 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."
While I in no way support the idea that looks and personal style are necessarily a woman's issue (a man can take pride in his appearance as well), I was inspired by this beautiful article and admire Chimamanda's determination to overthrow the dull and limiting notion that a woman has to dress and look nondescript in order to be taken seriously. Like it or not, style is the most immediate form of communication - it's the first thing people find out about you, long before you open your mouth. So why not use it to communicate who you are? Or, better yet, who you want to be?
If you gave me a choice of either being extremely beautiful or possessing a legendary sense of style, I know exactly which one I'd choose. Without a doubt.
Photos from ELLE, Pinterest, They All Hate Us and Tuula.