Capsule wardrobes? Don’t even talk to me about them. I don’t like anything ‘streamlined’ nor do I want to have an ‘edited’ closet. The more I can wear, the better.  But lately, this gleeful practice of burying your body under layers of fabric seems to have fallen out of favor. Athleisure is the name of the game. The seemingly effortless outfits, look perfectly curated for Instagram and Pinterest. In all honesty, I can see how they are appealing. Simplifying your look cuts down on the time spent pulling an outfit together. Additionally, there’s a timelessness about athleisure minimalism. Lululemon has basically taken over the world.  

So if spandex pants and mesh tanks are everywhere, why do I hate it so much? It was something I could never quite put my finger on. Any time I passed a perky woman wearing Lululemon yoga pants at Whole Foods it took every single ounce of my energy to prevent my eyes from rolling to the back of my head.

However, I’ve had some time to think about it. To pinpoint what it is about the trend that grinds my gears. It’s the so-called effortlessness of the outfits. The trend’s attractiveness comes from the idea that putting effort into your appearance is a bad thing.

This goes against everything I stand for and is in direct conflict with the concept of overdressing. I’ve always been the type of girl who completely ignores her friend’s directive and comes to a casual lunch dressed to the nines. Personally, I loved the outfits on the original Dynasty show. I am in awe of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet in Sex and the City. I fully support how dedicated Kim Kardashian is to never be caught off guard. Because I am the same way. It’s a bit of a headscratcher given my precarious financial situation. However, I am a serial overdresser because of my financial situation not despite it. Breezing through thrift stores and hunting down vintage leather jackets on Depop is one of the few luxuries I can afford.

My ability to wait for the perfect moment to strike when betting on a retro Vivienne Westwood corset top brings me more pride than being at the top of the waiting list for new Yeezy’s. There is something about being stopped in the street and bonding with another person over where they got their giant pearl necklace. I love being asked ‘where are you going?!’ in an incredulous tone by family and friends alike. It’s something you simply cannot get while wearing joggers and a sports bra.

I like the clear hard work and clear thought it takes to pull off an obviously overdone outfit.  I also appreciate that for the practice of overdressing, it’s nearly impossible for too many similarities to be present. Athleisure and minimalism have a ‘sameness’ a uniform quality that threads through its ethos that I am not a fan of.  The gleeful and campy nature of dressing is missed in these trends. My fashion inspirations are people like Andre Leon Talley, Prince, and Missy Elliot. To put it lightly, these are people known for making a statement with their clothes. A bold one at that. One of the most important aspects of overdressing is not being afraid to stand out a little bit. To be bold.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the world I’m witnessing and living in isn’t fun at the moment. Sometimes the only way I can access my joy and optimism about the future is through the small action of what I wear. So while it may be seen as completely inappropriate to wear a large patterned boubou with fringes at the bottom to Walgreens, it is one thing that keeps me sane. I have been able to create a community for myself through the ability to look like I’m attending A Very Important Thing all the time.

My spirits have been lifted through this simple and admittedly silly act. A dressed-down gym outfit may be more practical but it’s not nearly as fun. And if there’s one thing that fashion and style should be, it’s fun. Overdressing is the embodiment of that. So throw on a ton of jewelry today.  It may just change your outlook.

  • Modupe Adio

    Modupe Oladiwura Adio is a writer and lawyer from Lagos Nigeria. Modupe is obsessed with all things pop culture and the intricacies of global black culture and its impact on the world.