I like fashion. I wouldn't say I'm extremely fashionable all the time, but I try. Being at home with 3 kids most of the time has taken it's toll on my fashion sensibility. My new sensible outlook on my attire is kind of appropriate for the country we live in right now. Being in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia has forced me to completely rethink my ideas about fashion and clothing. Sensible and appropriate is "in" here.
Expat fashion couldn't have been more different in the Philippines. My skirts were shorter my heels were higher and everything was brighter! All I had to do was slip into one of the 37 Zara stores in Manila to see what was currently on trend. Actually, I didn't have to even do that. Just glancing at what everyone was wearing while they walked one of the gazillion malls proved educational. I wouldn't say the Philippines is the most fashionable of Asian countries, but fashion was definitely a priority for the upper class. It was everywhere in Manila. My closet became populated with some really great stuff during our time in the Philippines.
All that great stuff is just hanging there mocking me right now as we navigate life in Ethiopia. Not only would most of those things be completely inappropriate for the climate and terrain of Addis Ababa, I would look ridiculous. I'd surely stumble on the uneven pavement or cobble stone sidewalks. My feet would be muddy or dusty. For the first time in my life my husband nixed a dress I put on for a diplomatic function because it was just too short for the function. The culture here is very modest. It's also Africa. Expats wear rugged cargo pants and safari shirts with lots of pockets. Sensible shoes is an understatement. Let's just say navigating Africa chic is new for me.
That being said, I'm taking a look at what's in my closet that I can use here in Ethiopia. Some things will surely sit unworn for two years but other things are destined for a comeback.
My plan is to reinvent expat fashion in Addis Ababa for myself. First thing on the list I've discovered is the need for a hat. The sun is brutal here, even during rainy season it's easy to get a sun burn. I didn't have a hat in my wardrobe so this is a newly acquired item. It's a wide brimmed fedora. If I'm out of the house, it's on my head.
A big thank you to my five year old for taking a few minutes from playing with her Barbies to snap these photos for me. She's a blossoming photographer.