Friday, March 24, 2017

What to wear for an interview

Since I move back home last year, I have been looking for a job in the city. As a result I had to do some interviews. It was always a struggle finding the perfect outfit that would help me make the right kind of impression. I always knew what worked abroad but I had no clue as to what my countrymen/women wore for interviews. To find out, I made a little poll on Facebook and based on those answers, here is what I think one should wear for interviews in Senegal (it can work abroad as well)

- A Dark Formal Suit


Dark formal suit

I am a firm believer that it is better to be overdressed than under dressed. A suit (pantsuit or with a pencil skirt) in black (or navy) will make the right impression particularly when it is fitted and in the latest style. You can pair it with a crispy white collard shirt or a cream blouse. This outfit is perfect for interviews in the corporate world.

- A Deconstructed Suit

Deconstructed Suit

If you are interviewing in a place that is less stuffy (more creative), you can opt for what I call a deconstructed suit. Wear some fitted slacks or skirt with a blazer of another color, for example a pastel pink blazer with a grey pencil skirt or my favorite a fitted dress with a complementary jacket. Opt for pastels tones as well as they are softer and more feminine.

- Traditional or Ethnic wear

This would only work in Senegal (or other countries where people wear ethnic). On Fridays, everyone wears traditional in here, even in offices. Therefore If you happen to have an interview that day, chose a traditional outfit that is not too flashy or too glitzy. Opt for simplicity and elegance.

- Accessories

For interviews, you need to stand out but for the right reasons. So I suggest you wear as little accessories as possible. There is no need for statement necklaces and over-sized rings. Wear a watch (necessary to check the time) , small earrings and a thin chain if your neck is exposed. For the other essentials opt for a good leather or quality bag in  discreet color such as black, brown or beige. It would be nice if it matched the shoes. For those, wear flats ( ballerina or pointed toe) or low heeled pumps.

- Attention

Whatever you wear, remember that it need to fit your properly. Do not wear too short, too tight, too revealing. Take care to iron the outfit if need be and to keep it clean. Your hairstyle also should be neat. If you cover your hair, a simple scarf tied in a non distracting style is OK. Above all be you: wear something that reflects your personality and that you are comfortable in. For example do not wear brand new heels you have not broke in yet. You want the outfit to do the right kind of talking as soon as you walk inside the interview room.

Good luck!


Thursday, January 19, 2017

The pillars of Senegalese Ethnic Wear (Woman)

Hello y'all!
It has been a while since I posted in this blog. I am starting to think that having two (three) different blogs is not necessarily a good idea.
Anyway, I have been working on this post since I moved back home in April 2016. Everywhere I went, women were dressed in Senegalese ethnic attire and I could not help but (re) noticing its beauty. I wanted to talk about it more on the blog. However it would be hard to showcase the latest trends in Senegalese ethnic wear without introducing the basics, the core of it all.

Over the years, Senegalese traditional or ethnic wear has been largely influenced by Western, Indian and Middle Eastern fashion. However, there are still some basics to it all, what I call the pillars of Senegalese traditional wear, the core which the entire fashion industry gets its influences. Here there are:

Boubou (Grand Boubou)

The Boubou is an oversized kaftan that arrives below the knee or is floor length. It often comes with a wrap around skirt and a scarf. Those two elements can match the Boubou which means that they are cut from the same cloth or they can come from another fabric altogether. The "Grand Boubou" as we call it,  is often made from fabrics such as Bazin, (Getzner being the trend now)) that can be used as they are or died. The Boubou is a style that older women favor for it camouflages all body flaws. Moreover, it has a certain elegance that only mature women can pull off. But anybody can rock it. I own a simple Grand Boubou died in rainbow color with a pink wrap around skirt and matching scarf.


Singer Titi in her painted Boubou


Dyed Boubou or Thioub


Embroidered Boubou 

Ndocket

The Ndocket or Taille Mame or commonly known as "Robe" these days is a type of empire waist or cinched waist maxi dress. It can also be worn with a matching skirt and scarf. Nowadays the trend is to have it really fitted to show all the curves. But back in the old days there were loser. I really do like this style because it does suit anyone from young to old. Furthermore, our designers are so creative that you can find all kinds of styles on the streets recently. They even became the outfit of choice for events.




Taille Basse

This one is by far my favorite for it just personifies women's sexiness. The Taille Basse is a peplum top with a matching skirt or wrap around skirt. When I was a kid, the Taille Basse came with a top, a skirt and a matching scarf that you tied around the waist. The top was also off shoulders or Xapati in our local language. Now, the style of choice is to have the skirt in mermaid style so as to show all the lower curves. It is also stylish to mix fabric and pattern for the top and bottom part. If I was not so self conscious about my curves, I would own several Taille Basse by now for they are so elegant and sexy.



Bustier style Taille Basse worn by singer Aida Samb


Singer and dancer Oumou Sow with her pink and golden Taille Basse

There you have it. All three pillars of Senegalese traditional wear. Anything else you may see on the streets, is just a variation of these three.

Photo sources: Ilovesenegal.org

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