I’ve always admired folks with style. It rarely (if ever) has much to do with labels, or trends or anything like that. It’s much more personal for me. The way a confident person walks into a room is style. The way my mama used to rock a wig to work one day and then a natural the next and dare anyone to say somethin was style. The way sister girls near and far wrap their head at night to keep it just right is style. Simply stated, all of that and more matter on my planet. It transcends on so many levels y’all. For instance, yellow is my favorite color. When I wear it, I literally feel good, which makes me walk differently, smile bigger and all the other stuff that goes along with feelin alright. That to me is style too.
Yeah, you see it. | Source Guinness
This could just as easily be NOLA as it is CONGO | Source
But, for some, none of that is of any relevance. Style is only about fashion, cost, status and on and on and on. The audacity of folks looking fly in less than desirable circumstances illicites fire and hostility in the heart of many a people ( side eye to Bill Cosby). The notion that being poor means you must fit into some pre-selected box of ugly says more about the person who feels that way than it does about the one catchin all the heat. I grew up in the struggle, I have zero shame about that. But that didn’t mean I was raggedy, that meant I got creative with my style and looked beyond my circumstances. Not everyone is built that way, but the one’s who are make due and make it work and I for one applaud that. The way some folks tell it, if you ain’t makin dough, you betta look the part. Meanwhile, all the stylin and high-sighing they do has nothing to with anything even remotely attractive. Mmm Hmm…
The gentlemen in the short film below all literally rock styles upon styles upon styles. From the first frame to the last. I was happy because they were happy and flawless and unapologetic about it. I’ve never been impressed by the notion that one who lives in harsh conditions should then also look harsh. Are you kidding me? That’s when we look for tangible ways to deflect those conditions most! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold any misguided notions that looking better makes you a better human being. I didn’t get that impression from the gentlemen in the film either. I could go on talking about this forever, instead I invite you to watch this 5 minute short film on Sapuers which loosely translated means the “Society for Persons of Elegance and Ambiance”. If you find that you enjoy it, I also invite you to check out this well written piece by blogger trippingdelightfantastic. It gives a detailed historical perspective and hosts a several beautiful photos as well.
Super shouts to my girl Mia Birdsong over at Canerow for puttin on to Sapeurs. Love Love Love.
Devoya Mayo is Co-Creator of The Happy Black Girl
Get To Know An HBG is her favorite column to write.
You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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