Dress the way you want to be addressed: Mhandu

Zimbabwean rapper and singer-songwriter, Kikky Baddass

ONE of Zimbabwe’s female top fashion stylists, Natalie Mhandu, popularly known as Enchantress Nate, has urged females to dress the way they would like to be addressed.

Mhandu is a successful business woman who owns an award-winning fashion and beauty brand. She is also an award-winning entrepreneur popularly known for her elaborate fashion styles. Her fashion brand has dressed top Zimbabwean female celebrities such as Afro-beat songstress Ashleigh “Shashl” Moyo, radio diva Nonhlanhla Tutani known as V Candy, Kikky Badass and controversial actress: Lorraine Guyo.

Her remarks follow a contentious Twitter debate on fashion that occurred over the weekend. The debate was centred on whether it is proper for a woman to go on a dinner date wearing a crop top or jeans.

A crop top is a woman's casual sleeveless or short-sleeved garment or undergarment for the upper body, cut short so that it reveals the stomach. Having trended as swimwear in the 1930s and 1940s, these garments became fashionable once more since the early 2000s.

According to a Twitter user @LadySthree9: “Wearing a crop top and/jeans to dinner will never make sense to me. You could not find something else in your wardrobe? Asi chii nhai? (That’s not on)?”

Many females, who wear crop tops as their go-to attire, found the question offensive, while others alluded that they should not be worn on dinner occasions.

“Crop tops are never appropriate for elegant ladies to wear to dinner,” went one of the remarks that circulated on Twitter on the subject. This was backed by examples of how wearing scant apparel to upscale restaurants might make one feel out of place.

NewsDay Life & Style contacted Mhandu for her take on the ideal attire for women on dinner dates.

According to Mhandu, people are usually addressed according to their dressing.

She said: “I believe in the statement: ‘Dress how you want to be addressed’, so in my humble opinion one’s dressing affects how people perceive them.”

Mhandu highlighted that for a dinner date, one should dress the way they want to be perceived because it somehow tells a lot about one’s personality.

“Dressing is a form of expressing ourselves; it’s an art of making a statement without actually using words, so yes it does describe one’s personality to a certain extent.” she explained.

As a modern-day fashion stylist, Mhandu, however, dismissed some of the views aired on social media regarding crop tops.

“Fashion has evolved past stereotypes! We can’t deem an outfit inappropriate based on the general assumption that crop tops are only sporty or day appropriate. A gorgeous sequin set of a crop top and wide leg pants or a flattering pencil skirt is dinner date appropriate and very elegant too,”  she said.

Adding to that, she advised ladies to always consider a little black dress when it comes to dinner dates, she said: “One can never go wrong with the classic LBD (little black dress). It’s a classic look that has stood the test of time. Pair that with a few accessories and a killer pair of heels and the category automatically becomes sexy and confident.”

The setting and environment of a dinner date is also one thing fashion experts consider when styling their clients.

According to an American fashion blogger: “Make sure you know exactly where you are going; It will help you choose carefully your clothing.”

Also fashion stylist Tyler Brewer believes: “While it’s not the only option, a dress is a natural choice for a dinner date.”

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