Melania Trump, First Lady of the United States, has just completed a five-day African tour of Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt. Mrs. Trump visited these countries to promote her “Be Best” campaign, the viability of which has been widely questioned as the goals remain consistently unclear. The campaign’s aim is described as “helping children overcome the many issues they are facing as they grow up”, an objective that many view as being too general and a vague cure-all.
As if “Be Best” was not baffling enough, the First Lady chose to conduct her tour dressed as a colonialist caricature. Mrs Trump’s fashion choices have been severely bashed as being “embarrassing” and even “highly offensive”. In her choice of outfits she certainly did stick to every imaginable cliché –and then some!
Here is a colonialist’s guide to dressing for “Africa”:
Anyone who has ever watched movies of white people on safari knows the dress code includes crisp white shirts, jodhpurs and pith helmets. The white shirt helps to highlight the wearer’s whiteness against the dusty savannah backdrop and the jodhpurs and boots provide insurance in case you run into a horse that needs riding.
But the crowning piece to tie it all together is the must-have pith helmet. The head-dress is necessary for people of Caucasian descent to avoid sunstroke in the tropics, which the indigenous people are completely immune to. For best use, also wear indoors for optimal protection as the rays of the tropical sun could lead to infertility, laziness, depression, outbursts of excessive passion, insomnia and memory loss, as was believed by colonial settlers.
Beige and khaki camouflage
The African continent is known for wandering wildlife and it is therefore of paramount importance to blend in as much as possible. Beige, khaki and other neutral colours will keep you safe as you traverse the continent. Nevermind that the locals are in bold or bright colours, you must maintain this status quo and remain vigilant at all times.
Be warned however that these colours will not work on ungovernable Elephants.
For more on-the-nose fashion choices, try a dress printed with all the animals you hope to see or saw on your safari. It is much simpler to show than to tell and if you do it right, the locals will feel like you are one of them.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) October 6, 2018
Tomb Raider ready
We also advise doing your research and mimicking characters from the Indiana Jones movies. You may note wide brim hats and tailored suits that would be terrible to explore or hike in but look amazing when photographed next to historic sights. Remember, aesthetic trumps (*chuckles*) practicality.