Knowing ‘who is who’ has always been important in Egypt, with knowing ‘what to wear when’ following closely on its fashionable heels. At least this is how it used to be. While the guys at the top may have changed after January 2011, nepotism still reigned supreme and it is too early to tell if after the latest changes the country has gone through this will finally change.
Getting things done, from paperwork to finding gainful employment, a prospective spouse or the right nursery for your at some point to be born kids, often depended on how many degrees of separation there were between the decision maker and you. Or to be more specific, your dad. Merit and suitability were only distant second cousins when it came to selection criteria.
Connections would also get you invited to all the right events, or at least to the ones where pictures would later appear on gossip websites and the hippest Facebook pages. And of course this is when wearing the right outfit would come in. Expert knowledge of the latest fashion trends in Egypt, which did not necessarily coincided with those in the rest of the world, was a must. The result of the strict adherence to these unspoken rules was often disconcerting; hundreds of people would gather for an event wearing a variety of three outfits per gender. Stepford anyone?
But then 30 June happened and suddenly everything changed. Dressing for the occasion was flung out the window and a new era of freedom of attire was heralded in. It took us a while to catch up. Because while giving interviews wearing jeans and sneakers seemed appropriate at the time, it was a grassroots movement in the end, we wondered if the T-shirt worn during the official announcement to the nation in the presence of heads of army and religious institutions was an inadvertent faux-pas or simple lack of proper decorum.
We could not have been more wrong. Today it was confirmed that we do indeed live in a new era where old values are discarded and new traditions in dressing for the occasion are being made. We invite you to revolutionise your wardrobe and throw out your button downs and sensible skirts, away with suits and ties and join this new wave of liberation that is sweeping across the nation.
The new hip is easy, unisex and does not even require an iron. It is suitable for all occasions, be it your wedding, that one job interview you have been waiting for or a concert in the Opera House. Because if you can wear a wrinkly T-shirt to a meeting of the constitution committee, you can wear one anywhere.