Guest Post by Prof. Waswa Balunywa (PhD)

Years back wearing a bow tie and cufflinks was associated with wealthy people, executives and celebrities. There were clothes meant for certain functions – party shirts, party suits and other specific functions like attending funerals. Today this has changed. It’s common to find people wearing a party shirt without a bow tie, a party jacket worn on an ordinary day or even to the office. Cufflinks do no longer depict style. It’s common to also find people on the street wearing these clothes, what has gone wrong? 

I believe this is arising from the proliferation of old clothes. Poverty in Africa has led to importation of huge amounts of used clothes, shoes and other items – among these are the party or other functions’ clothes. The majority of people who buy old used clothes are mainly low income earners  and in most cases do not make a difference between the different types of clothes, they have no idea that a certain shirt or jacket is for a party or not. To them all they need is some cloth on their bodies and will buy based on what catches their eye and what they can afford. 

The other cause of this is the increasing low cost clothes especially from China. Party shirts are affordable and it’s possible that the cost has tremendously gone down, in fact the cost of good used clothes is almost equal to that of new clothes from China. Today %a shirt worn with cufflinks is available for the price of one tenth of what it was about 10 years back – I remember buying clothes from Marks and Spencer in the UK, shirts that required cufflinks were more expensive than ordinary shirts.  There is nothing wrong in this, it’s just that we are adopting a culture that we don’t understand and the consequence is the owners of the culture will laugh at you as you enter a meeting wearing a party shirt with no bow tie or wearing a casual jacket on an inappropriate trouser.

I believe our universities and schools should initiate etiquette and grooming, and with the internet people need to be on the look out to know the etiquette of dressing.

What are your thoughts on inappropriate dressing?


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