Dr. Dorothy Height’s memorial service was held yesterday at Washington National Cathedral. Everyone from President Obama to the newspapers to the news anchors mentioned that in addition to her remarkable and courageous life of service, Dr. Height was a lady who knew how to dress. The Washington Post‘s Robin Givhan paid tribute to the message behind Dr. Height’s stylish hats and jewel-toned suits. (Article here, fabulous slide show here)
In matters of appearance, Givhan wrote, there are a host of ways in which one can flash both self-confidence and self-respect.
How we express that confidence and demand for respect depends on who we are. We might put on a power suit, or a pair of Doc Maartens. We might choose to wear hijab…or not. We might prefer something symbolic of our national origins, like a sari or kente cloth. Big hair? Natural hair? Earrings? Hats? Tattoos? It’s all about how we present ourselves, unapologetically, to the world.
As a child, I loved dresses. I had lots of them in lots of colors, many sewn by my mother and grandmother. I loved strutting around in those dresses. I gave them up for a while, though. I can count on one hand the number of times I wore a dress during my four years in college; it was the mid-90s and jeans ‘n’ flannel ruled. But now when I want to make a statement, I’m back to dresses, and not basic black—I wear colors that let people know I have arrived. I especially love wearing a bright, chic dress when everyone else is a man in a suit. Those dresses make me feel like I’m projecting my confidence—and my unapologetic female-ness—to the whole room.
What’s your favorite statement-wear? What conveys your fabulousity when you want the world to pay its respects?