How much skin is too much?

Social media in Zimbabwe was abuzz this past week with pictures of singer Vimbai Zimuto in the nude being a hot topic. 

Vimbai posted pictures of herself on Instagram posing gracefully on the beach in her well-oiled birthday suit. Men and women alike had mixed reactions to these pictures with some attacking her and calling her an attention seeker and a woman of loose morals, and the more open minded individuals saying it is art and the beauty of her body should be celebrated. 

In one of her pictures, Vimbai captioned, “being an African woman, taking back the comfort that my ancestors had in their own skin”.
This brings me to the subject, just how much skin is too much skin in the world of fashion! As a stylist and clothing retailer, I personally believe it is a combination of how comfortable you are showing skin, and where you are going or the occasion. Vimbai Zimuto posed nude on a nude beach — how appropriate!

I do not believe there is a problem with wearing outfits that show some skin at casual events like parties, braais, on holiday etc. There is a thin line between sexy and trashy and it is when people cross this line that they are criticised. The way we dress is most times dictated by cultural, religious and societal norms. 

For example, Zimbabweans unlike our southern African counterparts from Botswana and South Africa prefer to cover up and most times showing skin is associated with loose morals and wayward behaviour especially when one shows up in the high density suburbs and rural areas scantily clad.

The most tactful way to show skin without looking trashy is to choose which area to expose and not leave nothing to the imagination. The rule of thumb is if you show cleavage, then it is wise to show less leg. If you want to show leg then cover up your upper body. If your back is out, then cover your front. 

Hide unsightly imperfections like stretch marks, cellulite. And if a dress is very short, tone it down by wearing stockings. It is prudent to cover up as much as possible for formal events like weddings, church and when going to the office. 

Make sure clothing is not too tight. For church and work avoid clothing that leaves your shoulders bare and low necklines. Skirts should be knee-length.

Above the knee can be controversial when dressed formally. When we are formally dressed we want to be taken seriously so covering up is wise. When dressed casually, we want to either let loose attract attention thus showing some skin is appropriate. 

The key to looking on point all the time is sometimes about wearing the appropriate outfit at the appropriate place and time, so do not be afraid to show off your good bits but know when and where to do it! 
Munyavi is an award-winning musician and businessperson who runs Cindy’s Fashion Corner in 
Harare.
 

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