Every year the first Sunday of October brings one of Harare’s most popular events; The St John’s fair, also known as the spring fair. The smouldering heat is no deterrent to the scores of people who show up year after year to walk the sports field of St John’s College going from stall to stall to see what the vendors have to offer. Grooming with Heather R
As a fashion/grooming columnist, I was looking at more than just the stalls, I was observing the Zimbabwean, Harare’s in particular, interpretation of the spring/summer fashion.
Here are my observations:
Colour blocking: It is still hot here though it seems to be fading out gradually, internationally. A lot of the stalls that sold clothes had skinny jeans in a variety of the colour-blocking favourites —royal blue, orange, red, emerald green and yellow.
Unfortunately, it seems the vendors have one supplier, so chances are high of seeing several people wearing the same pants as you. Then again, it is really about how you wear yours and make them your own thing.
Vintage: Zimbabwe is getting the hang of vintage clothes, thanks to the second-hand clothes vendors. They sell clothes that were sent to Africa by European or American well-wishers. The clothes are usually sent to Mozambique where the vendors buy them and bring them back here for resale.
The clothes would normally be in good condition and of good quality as well. They are significantly more affordable than most clothes; you just need to have a good eye when looking for the item for you.
The vintage stall at the fair was overpriced because if you have a private supplier or if you were to go down town, the price would be much better.
The one thing I like about vintage is that it is never dated. Vintage stores will never go out of business. Vintage is timeless, classic and elegant.
Shorts: Would it be summer without shorts? Short shorts were in abundance, most of them worn tastefully by that I mean without butt cheeks peeking out from the bottom of the shorts.
I would have thought that shorts would be the cooler option because jeans in that heat can be unbearable. One guy that stood out for me wore a tangerine striped polo shirt with rolled up sleeves, white linen pants and a straw fedora. He took the road less travelled without looking like he went all out.
Dresses: The maxi dress was not as popular as I had expected it to be. There was the odd one here and there. Short dresses were the more popular choice.
Skirts: There were a lot of maxi skirts worn with tank tops, accessorised with belts and necklaces.
One garment in particular caught my attention; it was a pleated pistachio green maxi skirt, worn with a white tank top, a brown belt and a straw trilby. The lady that wore it was the unrivalled fashionista of the day. It was simple yet so very stylish. It looked effortless. Kudos to her.
Hats: Sadly, I did not see that many. I hope people remembered to wear sunscreen. I had no hat on but I brought my umbrella with me. Our sun is too harsh to be walking about unprotected. The straw trilbies and floppy hats were a favourite among the few that wore them.
White: It is said that white keeps you cool, but I did not see enough of it. I wore white shorts so I was one of the few that wore that spring/summer colour.
We are still safe, not too daring, when putting together our wardrobe ensembles better, but we do have a sense of style in comparison to a few years ago.
Back then, trends took too long to come to Zimbabwe, so if you did not travel to do your shopping your style would be outdated and not in a chic vintage kind of way. Thankfully, we have suppliers that travel to bring in stuff. If only they would not purchase from the same shops.
Tops should suit the bottoms
A few ladies could have worn longer shorts because they had significantly sized derriéres and thighs so a longer pair may have been more flattering.
The obvious choice top was a tank top, for the young girls but the women wore over-sized shirts and blouses which looked very stylish as they balanced out the outfit.
Loose fitting top with a fitted bottom. Pity the clothing stalls did not have any eye-catching pairs of shorts. My friend was looking for a pair of chic shorts, but unfortunately went home empty-handed.
The men looked trendy in their shorts, worn with long-sleeved shirts that had their sleeves turned up. A lot of men steered away from the usual men’s colour palette and embraced a more colourful one.
There were red shirts, printed shirts, tangerine shirts with white stripes and other pastel shades.
Of course some men stuck to the usual jeans and golf shirts and sneakers.