Ever since finding minimalism, my fashion style has been orienting towards monochrome clothing, with neutral colors such as black, grey and white. Losing my “goth phase” and de-coloring my hair and regaining my natural hair color, something strawberry blonde-is, a good handfull of years back made me try out all kinds of colors for a period. But, with my discovering of minimalism, and the downsizing of my wardrobe and leaning towards the developing of a capsule wardrobe, I felt again a draw towards the neutral, less colorful pieces of clothing.
When I was in Tanzania this June, however, a friend of mine inspired me with all of her wonderfully colorful African inspired dresses. If there’s one thing I’m lacking in my closet, it’s a few dresses that I’m actually comfortable wearing, and my friend was wearing her dresses with such a confidence that I could not help but feel inspired. Some of her dresses were maxi-dresses, even – a style I never saw myself wearing because of my short height of only 157 cm. But, the warm and damp weather of Tanzania made a good argument that light cotton fabric in shapes of loose-hanging and wavy dresses were the only sensible attire.
Since the conference we were attending were in the rural part of Tanzania not really close to any store or market, I was not able to buy a dress until the last days of our trip. But when the conference was over, we had a very comfortable stay at Hotel Slipway in Dar Es Salaam, which is part of a big mall complex located coast-side. Filled with stores, I started my dress search. Still wanting to keep the colors fairly neutral, I landed on an elephant patterned maxi-dress in black and white. The moment I put it on a love story began. The soft and light cotton fabric draped perfectly around my body and I suddenly realized the practicality of a maxi-dress – the feeling of being fully dressed while at the same time being suitably dressed for hot, damp weather. And the long cut of the maxi-dress did not bother me anymore, all the years I thought ankle long dresses would make me disappear completely. That didn’t happen.
My African dress has been a very welcoming addition to my wardrobe even after I got home to Norway. This summer has been something else, with degrees revolving generally in the range between 27 and 33 degrees celcius the last couple of months, with all the positive (beach, out-door dining, holiday spirit) and less positive things (draught, wild fires, almost unbearable apartment temperatures) this has brought with it. As such, my light and airy maxi-dress has been a staple in my wardrobe this summer. The love story with my African maxi-dress left me hungry for more, so I searched for an additional dress to add to my summer staples. I ended up getting a knee-long summer dress from the GJ&Baker x HM collection, in black with a colorful bird and flower pattern. Typical GJ&Baker pattern. This dress has the same light cotton fabric as the African one, and this dress I also look forward to style for winter. To keep myself from straying too far from my capsule wardrobe of neutral colors, I resisted the impulsive urge of letting myself be bedazzled by too colorful patterns. Hence, both my African dress and my GJ&Baker dress has a fair amount of black in them, the GJ&Baker only giving a subtle hint of colors with its bird and floral pattern.
I am glad that this summer brought with it a discovery of patterned, soft cottoned dresses. And I welcome both of these additions to my wardrobe even though I’m well aware that patterned clothing is the easiest to tire from. Yet, a couple of patterned pieces makes my wardrobe more diverse and besides, nothing screams more “summer attire” than delicate patterns, don’t you agree?