The Clash

Malawi, as you may well know is a land of contrast. Beauty and Poverty. Happiness and grief. Churches and nfitis. BMWs and beggars. You catch my drift..

Sometimes the contrast is so extreme it results in a clash. These clashes occur everywhere and can be encountered regularly, to the shock and detriment of one’s disposition. Formal functions are a rich source of them, as you well know… And if you are a Malawian girl of a certain age, you are expected to attend these formal functions such as weddings and bridal showers on a weekly basis. But, do not despair young Malawian girl, for this is a fine place to observe the Malawian peoples in their element! Look at how she casually discards a K50 with a flick of the wrist, look at how the MC gyrates to the next song! And look at what everyone is wearing! Look at that fabolous woman in a white hat-

Look at that cheeky lady with the peach fascinator-

Look at those guys in dashing suits-


And then bang! It hits you! There’s a guy with a wig on and a purse around his neck- *disney fail noise- pweeeee pweeee pweeeeem*

I told you it could be shocking people. These occurrences are not limited to weddings and bridal showers- random clashes also occur on the streets. Exhibit A- regular man buying tangerines while wearing a Chelsea football shirt (cough) and boxy formal slacks. CLASH! Also schooner-esque shoes. And I’m gonna go ahead and take this opportunity to campaign against shoes that resemble boats. Malawian men, can we make it stop? They are EVERYWHERE.


Clashes can also be of the internal kind. Take for example crocs, which I positively despise. My aunty wears them! Some of my very best friends swear by them… Dare I castigate them? Clash of conscience! Alas, I must maintain impartiality. CROCS ARE BAD. There i said it! Comfort does not excuse ugliness. They should only be allowed on kids under the age of 5.. Observe-

They do nothing for anybody.

Some clashes are of the circumstantial kind. For example, what is this ROCKSTAR doing playing in a band at Buchanans? He should be on tour with the Killers! What a bad-ass-

Check out that leather jacket with the tassles

So folks, do not be shocked with these clashes that assault you on a daily basis. Take it in your stride, as the beauty in the Malawi is definitely in the variety.

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In search of…

…the real Malawian aesthetic.

It was a good weekend for the world of Malawian sports! Firstly well done to the Flames who kicked Togo’s ass (and would have done even if Adebayor had been here) and secondly well done to my future husband Isaac Chilemba, ‘ol Goldenballs himself (errr Goldenboy)!! Good job all round boys. Flames knew they had to win though, because if we all got soaked for nada, the fans would have been dragging the players through the mud and not the random soldiers.

So as predicted, the match was a spectacle! Chanting, jeering, teasing, hollering, whooping, you name it, it was there. Same goes for the outfits! Now suffice to say Open stands was rather a bit rowdy since the FAM officials seem to have decided to ignore capacity restrictions and go ahead and pack the stadium to the max! So I was somewhat reluctant to pull out my bright pink camera and start snapping away at people.. Especially after some guy decided to give me an almighty stinging slap on the back because I didn’t want to hug him (???!!!?? woman’s prerogative, anybody??!!)

However, there was one particular gentleman who caught my eye! Have a look at this!


YES!!!! He is wearing a waistcoat and hat made out of cane!!! While I concede its kinda wierd and undoubtedly uncomfortable, you gotta give it to the guy for creativity! This outfit was definitely eye-catching… And I love how he’s making it work for himself with the rasta scarf and saggy jeans! So many questions- where did he get it? did he design it? is there more of it (can i get a cane dress? imagine the scratchiness of cane pants!) but it also begs the question what is a truly Malawian outfit? Why don’t we see more whimsical design and creativity with our tailors and designers? Why don’t we use more ‘alternative’ materials? I mean lakeside hats have had the same boring design for time memorial, how great would it be to see a hat like his being sold? If not only for variety’s sake! Would love to hear from more Malawian designers and see their work out there..

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Man-repelling

One of my favourite websites is called ‘The man-repeller’. Man-repelling is defined as ‘outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex’. It’s a wonderful witty blog, always showing cutting edge fashion, nothing cutesy or just sexy, but artsy, whimsical and fashion forward. I’m sure many Malawian girls identify with this as I do. In my eyes this is an admirable thing- sacrificing approval of ‘the mens’ in order to achieve sartorial excellence and individuality. It takes courage! How many times have you been out and your guy friends are baffled at what your wearing? The token ‘what are those’? To which you respond ‘Omg these pants are so cool! How can you not like them??!?’ and they respond ‘You look like MC Hammer’ at which point you roll your eyes and mutter to yourself about how they’ll never understand etc etc…

Suffice to say, its a sacrifice that we must all make from time to time to satisfy our inner wannabe fashionista. Things I do.. For example, I have taken to wearing my dad’s suspenders to work. Yup i needn’t explain myself on this blog. 🙂

my new favourite accesory


Also it can be done unwitttingly- imagine my surprise when I took out my braids this weekend and all my guy friends were thrilled! Wait, guys don’t like braids? Us girls sure do!! I think they’re God’s gift personally! So man-repelling can be a double-edged sword! (it goes without saying that I WILL be getting braids against soonest- I cannot deal with this maintenance)

Similarly, men do things that us women fail to understand. However, I do not consider this valiant or courageous, rather just irritating as hell! For example, wearing those super long t-shirts that look like dresses, or wearing their ties really short and the worst- keeping their little fingers nail long. Grosse! Grosse! Grosse! Grosse! There does not exist any woman in this universe or parallel, that finds this attractive! Its disturbing and unattractive to behold!

uughhhh. that is all

Now I realise there is so much out there that I cant possible document myself so i invite you to send me all you man/woman repelling moments. Similarly, this lent thing is doing nothing for my social life, so if you see people looking really good (or bad) out there, send me your pics. Email me at FashPoMW@gmail.com. I also wish to proclaim my mission to find out what is really MALAWIAN traditional wear. So your help would be invaluable.

In closing, fashion extremism aside, we can say one can just as easily safely go out just looking sexy in standard black..

lil cheeky chest hairs 😛


sleek and sexy in black

And, there is merit in bringing back the basics like the simple white tee…

Maskal 🙂 (one for the ladies...)

But regardless, we still love the extreme so get emailing with those pics!!

Small addendum, herewith my fantasy man-repelling outfit. Is it sufficiently un-sexy and kooky?

Of Two Minds embroidered tee
$195 – calypsostbarth.com

CHRISTIAN COTA silk pants
1.694 EUR – luisaviaroma.com

Alexander mcqueen handbag
$2,195 – net-a-porter.com

Pearl jewelry
$15 – fantasyjewelrybox.com

Rachel Roy blue ring
$48 – rachelroy.com

Crystal necklace
$570 – kirnazabete.com

ASOS fedora hat
25 GBP – asos.com

Rodarte for Opening Ceremony glass shade
$255 – openingceremony.us

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Thinking aloud

Lent has begun and as such I am submitting myself to 40 days and 40 nights sans a single drop of alcohol. This is very difficult. In fact I was almost lynched at a launch I attended on Friday for the audacity of it all.. I am talking seriousoutrage/almostbeingforce-fedcocktails/sheerdisbelief here. Witnesses will testify. Hence, today’s post is based on individuality and not conforming- two of the hallmarks of style I’ll have you know 😉

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud”- Coco Chanel (Or Carnel- ey J!)

I also happen to think people who stand-out have some sort of ‘it’ factor. They way they put things together looks unique and stylish, no matter how much it cost or where it came from. Someone else wearing exactly the same group of items could look boring.. It’s just that one drop-crotch pant leg pulled up just so-

OBSESSED with the drop-crotch pants melps

Or jazzing up your simple grey vest with layers and accessories

layers from Mia

Even more so is the case with guys, who have less to work with. As dear old Plato said “Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity”. And we’ve all heard the less is more malarkey. It does work well with guys though, for example the simple use of colour

see again real men wear pink!

And it’s the little details that make the difference- the navy blue jumper, the interesting loafers. 😉

subtle but effective

subtle but effective

I love it the most when I see this expression of style in our own African context. There’s nothing like the vibrancy and colour of a well-made traditional outfit.

lovely in blue

orange flair and accents

I truly wish I would see more of this in our streets. Alas, as seems to be the case with many things in Malawi, minimum effort is the order of the day and spills over into many aspects of our lives- whether it be punctuality (yes I am also guilty), walking slowly in the streets (!!), being pro-active in our jobs or a general sense of self pride (able-bodied men asking for unjustified hand-outs on a daily basis).
So because I haven’t hit you without enough quotes today, I leave you with this tongue in cheek gem, and hope for more.

“In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous” –Robert Green Ingersoll

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Extreme Make-over – Hair Edition

If you are black or have black friends you’ll know what a nightmare it is having black hair. It is a pain, hard to manage, time consuming and all in all a drag. No such thing as wash and wear. No such thing as roll out of bed, quick brush and go forth. No, no, no. Hence we resort to other alternatives- braids, dreadlocks, wigs or even shaving it all off (i’m halfway there..).

Having established this mutual pain us sisters go through, a girl has still got to hold it down. There are hundreds of black hair shops out there… Its a gazillion dollar market. Hence, extremely bad hair/wigs are not quite excusable. Therefore we come to the case-study of Anne, who I work with. She is a thirty-something mother of three with a pretty face, nice figure and a BAD, BAAAD wig. see Exhibit A:

the BAD, BAAAD wig

So i approached Anne, and told her of the disservice she was doing to herself. She agreed I could document her transformation thus (phew) in exchange for a new wig and new look. Behold, the new look, a result of just taking a simple, straight, modern wig (with a dash on colour) and placing it on her head! Jay Manuel would weep with joy.

the GOOD, GOOOOD wig

In one fell swoop we have taken her from drab to fab, from old to smould (ering), from 50summin to 30summin.. you catch my drift. The moral of the story being its the little things, the attention to detail, a hair-do can be the difference between you being fined or feted!

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The good, the bad, the downright lazy…

So I have had an attack of conscience for the past few days… Is this exersize futile, shallow and ahem pejorative? Well, yes it is.. but its also fun! And largely harmless! After all, its all purely based on my opinion which you an take or leave (and for some of you who are to follow, i strongly suggest you take it! take it!!!). Fashion after all doesn’t define who you are, it is merely an expression of your personality and self esteem! Thus with my conscience thoroughly cleansed, I shall proceed onto the serious business at hand..

Friday night I ventured into the new jurisdiction of Blue Elephant, slightly apprehensive since this was largely a lawless territory, with a high chance of serious offenders. Nevertheless I sucked it up and brought in the troops for back-up.. And didn’t the troops come in handy! I’m learning that the hardest part of this job is getting the baddies! How do you tactfully take a picture of someone you plan to basically bash? Its a toughie! Also people can be really aggro.. the most annoying thing is when you don’t even really want want a picture of THEM you want one of their friend.. Sigh! So i’m welcoming suggestions.. Anyhow, you have to be resourceful in this line of work and my short term solutions is to use my guy friends to chat the offenders up.. these are covert operations i’ll have you know..

The red calamity

So first things first, Operation Red Calamity. So earlier whilst discussing strategy over a glass of wine with darling Mo, we noticed a rather interesting posse in the vicinity. Mo, being the professional that he is, got a picture for me and Offender no 1 is provided forthwith. What actually puzzled me the most is where would you even procure this dress? An Amish film set? It has no shape, no character and does nothing for this girl (who was actually lovely). I do not wish wish it upon her. Her punishment- banishment to the farms of Arkansas! (thats where the Amish are from right?)

Put it back on the table!

Sigh… Unfortunately, her friend wasn’t doing much better and wore a rather tired, granny-ish maxi. We can do better girls.. You earn the lighter sentence of making tablecloths out of your dresses and laying them at Newlands Home for two years.

Luckily, things started looking up when we hit blue. Definitely impressed with this lady here, with awesome statement hair and killer structured dress. Working it for sure..

Two thumbs up

And also Miss Lesandra wearing a really cute skirt with a simple top with nice shoulder detail.. Looking on trend and hot!cute cute

But I must say I was most impressed with the guys this Friday… So on trend, wearing accessories galore.. and all in all making a damn good effort! My favourite of the night was the guys in hats..
Shaf- demonstrating that real men do wear pink ;)

looking good in the monochrome!

hard to see the black trillby but its there!

muki.. definitely a future regular

Also we have some nerdy chic which i lurve lurve lurve..

love how the leather jacket added some edge 😉

As opposed to pajama chic, which we hate hate hate.. just because you’re in Malawi, doesn’t give you an excuse to be lazzzzyyyy

tsk tsk tsk

Its really difficult to believe you can get so many looks in one single place.. We need to sweep these streets! Luckily the next day we were off into the bush for a safari retreat! And Mo, never compromises with style.. With that, I bid you a happy Monday!Bringing some style to the South

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Men in the workplace

So Martyr’s day was pretty standard… stayed home all day and went to kick-boxing in the evening. So.. not much to report on that front! But I did go for drinks at VG for a certain lady’s bday drinks and here she is below looking rather darling in a lil naval number and leopard print clutch. My outfit is also below.. Alas not a jumpsuit but a drapey number courtesy of Asos via Isabel (ta IZA)… Also Ms dingi showing her mbuyo rather well in a dress with some strategic pocket detail (use your hands to pull the dress just so!). I must say i was a dry night for the 5-0. People looking pretty good out there!

Dress- ASOS, shoes- random lady from my sister's office, bangles- kenya and us

kim kardashian eat ur heart out

Back to the job at hand, which at some point should include some administration. Today we have for you some lessons for men in the workplace..
1. DO wear matching diamond checkered vests with short sleeved shirts and slacks

short sleeved yes

short-sleeved YES


2. DO wear casual wear on fridays! Work shirts and jeans can look totally hot!
hot casual, lurve those suede boots juan- shirt, shades, timepiece- HOT

3. DO NOT wear short sleeved suits (this is NEVER ok)!!
4. DO NOT push casual wear to include rafters with slacks. NO NO NO.

NO NO NO

Ladies… I’m coming to you… But in the meanwhile- fantasy friday outfit below.. Tonight all- look out for the girl with the camera! Dress to get pressed its FRRRYYDAY!
p.s pardon all the updating/editing… dad was getting impatient and had to run. herewith fantasy outfit… i would be wearing this while riding in my baby blue bentley listening to snoop d.o double g’s wet! oooh and i have a new thing, i am attempting to improve my vocabulary so I am learning a new word everyday. Today’s word- pejorative: adj; having a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force. (Cough-Fashion Police-ahem)

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