The best dressed politician for Malawians with an eye for fashion and fads is the man you hardly ever see on the State-run television—Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
We are not talking about a million-something kwacha suits, but perfect fits.
To the former corporate executive [and his wife Mary], dressing is not just about concealing his private skin.
With him, there are no second chances to make the first impression. He dresses not to kill.
He dresses to the occasion and easily stuns.
Thanks to Chilima’s flawless dress code and his show-stoppers, we now know the worst fashion offenders in power.
There are no thumbs up for guessing!
The man with a habit to commit fashion crimes with ease is actually the veteran economist in charge of the national kitty—Goodall Gondwe.
Away from the ailing economy, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning seems to have very few things to worry about really.
One of the things he has let go is what he wears and how he wears it.
Talk about baggy suits that won’t cost you some change anyway, twisted neckties that need adjusting before cameras flash and blazers that look like they are still on coat hangers.
Sometimes, what is supposed to be his Sunday best looks wrinkled like the chin of you know who if not skewed as if he is walking one shoulder high.
Many are times when every inch of thread sheathing the minister simply appears to be at war with each other.
But Chilima and Gondwe are just politicians, not fashion models.
As long as the economy is ticking, I have no issues with them exercising or surrendering their freedom of dressing.
However, it is unforgivable if the characters violating fashion basics are artists or some celebrities.
Gone are the days stars used to make public appearances garbed in stacks of baggy clothes as was the case when Lucius Banda, Isaac Liwotcha, Foster Chimangafisi, Billy Kaunda, the late Paul Chaphuka and other pioneers of Balaka music were learning the strings in the late1990s.
It’s 2017. Any artist who jumps on stage looking like a cartoon risks not only memes, slurs and ridicule, but damning comparisons with the good old Gondwe and Giddes Chalamanda.
Chalamanda, the octogenarian guitarist and singer famously known as Agide, has mastered the art of ung’onoung’ono so well that he effortlessly charms any fashion-savvy diva gazing at him.
On his day, the self-styled original maker of Buffalo Soldier will never disappoint.
He will leave you gasping for a breath and combing your hair with fingernails, wondering why the younger generation cannot repent from their Gondwe-sque fashion offences for once.
Here, not many artists seem to care what they wear. Some end up looking like comedians. Comedy is supposed to be serious business, but the majority of them seem to doubt if they can crack a joke without wearing sackcloth and rags.
But not everything is wrong with artsy celebs’ wear.
Think about the likes of gospel singers Patience Namadingo, Faith Mussa, Wambali Mkandawire and Ethel Kamwendo. Akati avale ngati alukila pompo!
But these are just minds that have said enough of the delusion that good dressing is all about the slavish decorum associated with your British suit and necktie.
They have said to hell with the belief that musicians are good to go as long as they are wearing some military camouflage or Rastafarian colours: red, green, gold and black.
Fortunately, a good impression pushes them up the perking order while the cartoons tumble down the rungs.
Unless you are Goodall Gondwe, the first impression is almost everything. n