I’m not an expert when it comes to fashion, but being in the fashion industry, I believe I have an idea somewhat as to how to dress appropriately for the city in which you live in. There are so many mishaps and fashion mistakes people make here in Mombasa, which drove me to write this article. I will list below some tips and don’ts to adhere to when you live in a coastal humid city:
Stay Away From Satin- The locals here, like everything satin, no scratch that, they adore everything Satin. I personally hate satin fabric, I prefer leaving it to wedding gowns and drapery since it flows nicely, but it seems to be so popular with most locals here. Satin fabric usually doesn’t allow for enough air to pass through hence making it an oven to walk around in with the humid weather in Mombasa. To avoid the eau de jasho number 5 scents, it’s always best to stick to cotton fabric since it is light and allows for enough air to enter, rather than walking around like you’re in an oven underneath satin fabric.
Linen Gives us X-Ray Vision- Linen is the ideal fabric to walk around with, when you live in a coastal city, but the one thing people tend to forget, is how light and see through linen trousers really are. Ladies, I know we all have those red knickers that we wish we could wear over our trousers for everyone to see, but that doesn’t mean whenever we are wearing linen trousers, we should choose to rock the red undies underneath it. No, please let’s leave that to Superman; if you opt to wear linen trousers, make sure you wear black undies underneath it!
Jeans and Boots- First of all, getting yeast infection in Mombasa is very easy, secondly wearing tight jeans every single day not allowing your lady parts to get some air heightens your risk of getting yeast infection; like black outfits, jeans absorb a lot of heat, and to add on to the heat in Mombasa, that is a recipe for disaster unless your goal in life is to make your gynecologist rich. Boots, where do I even start? The weather here is not conducive for boots; why would you let your feet undergo such torture by letting them roast inside boots? As much as you would want to rock them when you see that little drizzle of rain, save them for rainy days in Nairobi!
Beachwear outfits in public- We all wish we could walk around like nudists especially during the hot months in January through March, but walking around with skimpy outfits especially in the city center and anywhere near the ferry is a recipe to get stripped. Leave the, my dress my choice attitude when you walk around Old Town, Marikiti or the Ferry. Mombasa has a great Muslim influence and there are some parts that need discernment when it comes to your way of dressing so as not to provoke undue attention to yourself and save yourself the embarrassment that comes with idle men who have nothing better to do than give women a hard time.
Weaves and Braids- You will not win a loyalty award for wearing that weave for 3 months on end; you will only end up repelling people with the odor that comes from them. With humid weather, comes sweat and weaves tend to hold on to that sweat like their horse life depended on it. I’m not a fan of either braids or weaves, but I believe after two weeks it is best to remove them to avoid the pungent smell that reeks from having them on for too long. You will be doing society a whole lot of good by letting it go when it starts smelling.
Being generous with makeup- We all love makeup, there are some things I can’t imagine leaving home without applying; lipstick, eyeliner and some subtle eye shadow, but I came to realize unless I have an AC cloud hovering me all day, it’s best not to overdo makeup in Mombasa. That mascara that says waterproof should have elaborated it will make your eyes look like a panda from the heat. Makeup tends to melt a lot thanks to the heat, it’s best to be subtle with it unless it’s an occasion or you know you will be playing a cat and mouse game with the sun!
Ballet socks- For the sake of comfort, we love walking around in flats and sandals, but tend to forget wearing ballet socks underneath. Our feet tend to get sweaty, and most of the shoes we get from China are all plastic without giving us proper air ventilation. Smelly feet make everyone uncomfortable, ballet socks should be a girl’s best friend after diamonds.
Body Odor- No matter how sharply dressed you are, nothing puts people off than smelly armpits. Deo sprays are not a luxury in Mombasa, they are a necessity! Invest on one that will leave you smelling fresh the whole day or learn to soak your clothes in vinegar while washing them to avoid body odor issues! The little things always go a long way, and as fickle as it sounds, people tend to judge you by your appearance; therefore it’s best to pay attention to the little things.