…I have a very good guess! As I alluded to the last time, I recently made a move back to Ghana after a very long while. And for the very first time I have been introduced to ‘Corporate Ghana’. Its quite inevitable but with any move comes an amount of change; good or bad…there is always the management of expectations and either sucking up to your new ‘normal’ or throwing in the towel and heading for the hills! I’m not the one to quit and admit defeat, however when my style is under siege, I’m just not a happy camper! Now with all the change going on around me: the power outages, the heat, the traffic – one would think a girl would have had her fair share of frustrations, and I definitely have! However, the most frustrating of all is the so-called “Corporate” look everyone is trying to assimilate. Only in these parts does ‘Corporate’ exclude color! Yeah maybe in the 1960s the corporate woman in the West was seen as one block of drab monotone hue but not anymore!!!!!
The modern corporate woman understands color: how to make it work for her, just the right amount not to be too overbearing and feels confident in it. Stuffy black and browns are substituted with cobalt and reds! The options on the color wheel are endless; however we limit ourselves to only three colors – black, brown and grey – the basics. My curiosity got the better of me and so I just had to ask the million dollar question: why? Trust me, the reasoning was even more perplexing and definitely deserved my eye roll and snort! Here goes, “Color makes you look less serious!” On which planet???? Obviously here on Earth, the corporate woman in stuffy all black is more serious than the one in a cobalt colored jacket matched with black and white checked pants, regardless of personality or work ethic! Sheesh, than unfortunately the woman department stores in the West are definitely propagating a message lacking seriousness to the career women out there!!! Beware…a mustard shirt tells your insecurities as a business executive and oh goodness forbid an orange shirt – you might as well be doing the Azonto on the board room table with your colleagues looking on in disgust!!!!!
In all seriousness (I am clad in black and grey today to reflect how serious I am); it’s a maturity level that is lacking in the workplace today. A fashion maturity. For a people whose natural disposition is color – our fabrics, our traditions, our lifestyle scream color, it is difficult to understand our obsession with the drab, mundane basic colors. I have always sworn that we are the pioneers of color blocking – its shows in our fabrics, however in our work places the only color blocking you will see is brown on black action (which I definitely frown upon). Somewhere down the line, I would bet a million dollars that in our need to assimilate what the West did, we cultivated a tolerance for drab… but come on even the west has parted ways with drab and now color is where it is at!
I am passionate about this topic because I believe in expressing oneself in all aspect of life; this bred creativity and adds to the wholeness of an individual. What we wear, our style projects confidence which in the long run translates into what we do and are able to accomplish. I am not saying those who do gravitate to more mundane basic colors are lacking in anyway – if that is your style and you wear it well…then power to you. My discomfort comes when fashion creativity is stifled by an out-dated mentality. Gone are the school days when our immature ways where curbed by rules and uniforms. However as a working professional, working executive I really want to believe we have the sense to know what not to wear to a professional setting and what does not jive with our styles for that matter.
Corporate Ghana needs to be open minded and leave at least our sense of dressing and style to us the professional because really if at this age and level we have not deciphered what is appropriate for work and what is not, then quite frankly we need not answer to the classification of ‘professional’. And that right there is the gospel according to AJ!!!!