|Oroma Elewa, editor, Pop'Africana|
Style is something that takes time to develop, and on top of that it is constantly changing and adapting new trends. Instead of being one form of self-expression, it is a mosaic of experiences one goes through over time. My personal style for the last four years has been undergoing chameleon changes; from the hippyesque tendencies of Norway to the refined tastes of Europe to the experimental, laissez-faire tendencies of the US.
Personal style is intimately tied to your perception of yourself, or your understanding of your own identity. Being removed from one culture and completely immersed in another, completely different one is a test on this perceived identity. Many of the things that come together to define style are unconscious, which is why style manifests not only in the way you dress, but also in the way you think, interact with others, and my favorite, the way you behave when no one is watching. It's a way of living life.
Thus, going back to Swaziland has me wondering what new traits will attach themselves to my current sense of style, and which will disappear a few days after being back. Will I stop wearing my beloved 6 inch heels in favour of flats or sneakers, and how will that change how I put together an outfit? Will I start wearing big, colourful, custom-made jewelry instead of my Charlotte Russe buy two for $8 earrings and rings? Will I ditch my tank and jeans regime for respectable long skirts and other covering clothes?
There are probably more interesting questions on the topic, and as I get re-Swazied in the way I dress, I hope the mosaic that reveals itself in my personal style is one that reflects the different characteristics I picked up in both Norway and the US, and that these come together into a unique identity.