I was cleaning through some boxes in our closet last night to make room for storage for our summer guests and I came across my “international clothes” box and it got me thinking…
When I traveled as a student I enjoyed buying local clothes to wear, and eventually my style became a smattering of more conservative American styles with bolder South Asian or African styles mixed in. For example, I love cotton block print fabric, and I have various skirts and tops made from this material.
When I graduated and started working in the “real world” I sadly figured that my South Asian flair was a little too much, and packed a lot of it away. Slowly a lot of it is finding it’s way out of the box, and now I wear various colorful scarves (particularly in winter) and a few of the skirts in the summer, but alas, the more “traditional” (shall I say, “ethnic”) pieces are still in the box, unless I’m wearing a sari for a more formal international party.
So when I came across the box again last night, and tried on some of the clothes, I was thinking how much of a waste it was to have them hiding away in the back of the closet. Luckily the university where I work has a summer “casual Friday” policy. Usually this means that office administrators can wear jeans instead of dress pants, but I decided for the summer it would be fun to turn “causal Friday” into “South Asian Friday” when I can wear some salwar kameez suits and more flamboyant skirts.
So today I’m sporting an outfit I haven’t worn in about four or five years, a dark blue, light blue and white cotton block print long kurti with skinny cotton salwar pants.
I think my boss gets a kick out of it. He has encouraged me to dress up for other campus-wide international functions before– this past year I wore a sari to the International Dinner and an African Batik Boubou during the African Marketplace cultural festival.
I guess I’ll never really be a “suit-in-the-office” kind of girl.