Walking through Garden City, one encounters a surprisingly large number of men’s clothing stores. It would appear that fashion is no longer just for women.
Here is a tried and true fact: when it comes to fashion, men will always have to work just a little bit harder if they want their style to count.
On the whole, few people care how men look, because men rarely put in the effort. However, when a man does try, he gets noticed. It would appear that in Uganda today, men are starting to realize the importance of dress.
Amos, a salesperson with Brovad Linen and Fashions in Garden City was looking good in a tailored suit and tie. He shook his head concerning the improving fashion tendencies of men in Uganda today.
“It has come to that,” he said, laughing. “Nowadays, it is not unusual to find men with wardrobes in their offices so they can change in case of accidents. You must be presentable 24/7.”
According to Amos, there are basic rules to observe. Monday to Thursday should see a man donning suits, formal or casual wear, depending on his workplace.
Because different places require different attire, it is important for a man to adjust depending on where he finds himself. If a man wants to be casual, he has a choice between smart casual, and fancy casual for day or night-time.
Amos advises men to dig deeper into their pockets for the clothes they buy because men generally have fewer clothing options than women. If you’re going to have less quantity, it had better be more quality.
A sportsman no longer has an excuse to be seen in a vest and shorts. There is very decent casual sports wear to be worn in many men’s stores today.
A shirt at Brovad ranges from 200,000 to 250,000 shillings. Suits cost between 1.2 million and 1.5 million shillings, jeans cost around 250,000 and a pair of sneakers will set you back 400,000 shillings.
“Anything from a place like China makes a man look cheap,” said a smartly-dressed saleslady at Wina Classic, also in Garden City. “The days are gone when men would wear Kaunda suits. Even if you do not fall in the formal sector, let your casual wear say something about yourself.
At this high-class boutique, it is all about men making a statement. Attention should be paid to the design of what you wear and who designed it. Suits from Italy or France are what men should collect, according to a saleslady there. And how about a pair of Adidas sneakers for 1.2 million shillings? Now that is a statement!
“Pricey though a place like here or Woolworths may be, I can tell at a glance who shopped In Garden City or Pioneer Mall and who is a regular at Owino Market. A man should advertise his style. Still, it should be subtle and not extravagant,” continued the saleslady.
According to Wina Classic, the most important components of a man’s wardrobe are his shirts, shoes, cologne, watch, vests, boxer shorts and cuff-links. There are men who have never owned even some of the items on this list!
Abdul is a manager with Knights Fashions Ltd, also located in Garden City. He stresses that men should invest in their shoes and hair. Dreadlocks, he says, are tricky. He insists they are a hairstyle best left to Rastafarians.
“Jewellery is becoming fashionable. But necklaces and earrings belong to musicians and hooligans. If you do not fall in either category, stay away from them, or cover it up in the daytime,” he added.
Shirts at Knights cost around 150,000, suits cost 1.1 million and ties cost Shs 55,000. Cuff-links cost Shs 65,000.
Men nowadays do not wear watches because their phones tell them the time. However, seemingly mundane articles like watches, or cuff-links, or a silk tie with one’s shirt will can be just the accessory to give a man that extra leverage over his contemporaries.
All in all, the clothing experts can agree on one thing: appearance matters — for both women and men. It pays to apply some thought and intelligence into what you look like when you step out of your house in the morning on your way to work or in the evening for a night out. People will notice.
by Lindsey Kukunda