Leaopord prints, neon tints, big heels, high-waisted skirts, denim short shorts, mid-waisted floral print trousers, crop tops, silk-lined two-piece, one-piece suits, sophisticated fades, BIG hair, FRO hair, and rose/red tainted full, pouting lips – Solange, baby, I think I love you.
As a coloured woman, I have suffered through the seemingly absurd, and yet fairly average experience of admiring and longing for certain fashion staples that I just “can’t pull off, man.” Which is funny, if you knew me four or five years ago through the ages of 16 and 17, wherein I would enter class in pigtails, overalls, gold chains, yellow tights, and ponytails. (M.I.A was a thing, back then). My classmates at the time came to naturalize my eclectic style. I remember standing on an escalator once with a friend – they asked me why I chose to dress the way I do, and as the escalator pulled us up over the school’s atrium, I singled out a girl in the crowds below. She was wearing a pair of light faded jeans, boot cut, and a simple white tee. I nodded towards the girl and responded, “See that? I would feel so painfully uncomfortable in that.” What most saw as the de facto comfortable outfit, caused my 16-year-old self anxiety. I felt most at ease in my then (even weirder) skin, with an oversized men’s t-shirt I feigned to call a “dress” and a fake caramel rock on my tiny finger, three inches long and wide.
Now, in my twenties, my style shifts between the 2013 American Apparel uniform adopted by my generation, with the occasional attempt to strive for something a little more euro, a little more casual, a little more chic, in an Elin Kling sort of way. More importantly, a couple years ago, I started wearing lipstick. And in all my idiotic claims like, “Only a white girl can pull off that shade of pink” I somehow forgot, that as a coloured girl, I was totally failing to acknowledge the pure aesthetic fruity, sweet, pop, wow, and majestic glow, and overall effect, colour has on my butter pecan, caramel, brown, brown, brown, skin.
Solange reminded me. That glorious fro alone converts any simple outfit to ghetto fabulous, let alone her knack for tribal multi-coloured panels, pointy toe’d feet, and Goddamn – imagine Hilary in those floral pantsuits. Lord, Solange even pulls off forgetting to wear pants (which – can we all get on board with this? Can we just eliminate winter (Thanks Global Warming!) and pants altogether?) My favourite part of the day is pulling those bastards off. Leave the stained lips though. Coloured women, celebrating coloured style.
All hail Momma Solange for bringing the funk back in fashion! In heels no less.