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Monday Wear - hardcore masqueraders not quite convinced

Friday, December 13, 2013
A piece from Wonderland, a Monday Wear line for 2014 by designer Keishel Williams. PHOTO: JEROME MCCLEAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Are the days of boy shorts and beaded bras for Monday mas over? Designers have been buying in more and more to “Monday Wear” aas a viable option for dressing up for the road on Carnival Monday. But a few hardcore masqueraders are not quite convinced.


The main problem, unsurprisingly, is money.


After spending thousands of dollars for that beaded or faux-feathered bikini with a head piece and various accoutrements, along with the separate cost for boots, jewellery and make-up, should you also make room in your budget for a whole separate outfit for Monday?


A few ladies gave their two cents.


Anisha, 23, rejected the streamlining of special and separate costumes for Monday mas.


“I won’t spend extra money on that. I will make my own. I did it this year.” 


Anisha said she bought beads and other decorations from Samaroo’s Limited and decorated a bra, saving money and getting creative. 


“I would do my own thing at a cheaper cost.”


She said the masquerading experience was not cheap, as it included the cost of the costume, as well as the other items needed to put the outfit together—including stockings, jewellery and boots.


“It adds up,” said Anisha, who said next year will be her third time playing mas for Carnival. 


Monday Wear is hardly a new trend. Legendary band leader Peter Minshall, who first started back in 1979, requested his masqueraders wear white on a Monday to differentiate from their Tuesday costume. Even earlier in the 70s, steelbands like Starlift also came out with different outfits on a Monday. Brian MacFarlane has also given his masqueraders cloth to use on Monday and the cloth was also available for purchase if people just wanted to jump with the band on a Monday. 


Nowadays many big bands provide a separate outfit for their masqueraders, usually consisting of boy shorts and a top. The evolution continues, as designers are creating special costumes for those masqueraders seeking an individualised piece.


Still, it may not be worth it to masqueraders like Amy, who understood why girls would want to go all out, but said it was a complete waste of money.


“I don’t see the big deal with Monday Wear,” she said over the telephone. 


She noted however, if she ever chose to buy such a specially made outfit, it would have be something she could wear again.


And that versatility could be found in designs by designer Keishel Williams. She has created a new Monday Wear line for 2014 called Wonderland, and said her designs can be worn after Carnival.


“You can wear the designs to parties,” Williams said via telephone.


She agreed female masqueraders should not have to shell out more money for a unique outfit, and has described her line as “affordable.”


“I don’t think you should spend thousands on Monday Wear. I try to make sure my prices are within a certain range.” 


Her cheapest and simplest outfit ran between $350 and $400, she said.


For Melanie Young Sing, it wasn’t so much about the money than it was enjoying the costume to the fullest. She wears her frontline design on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.


She said there was no way she would wear anything but the official costume she paid for.


“I wouldn’t pay for that, it’s a waste. The outfits (for Monday Wear) are nice but I mean, you already pay for your costume. It’s just two days you get to wear it. It seems like a waste to wear something else on a Monday. Wear your costume!” the 17-year-old masquerader said.


However, one seasoned masquerader, Alicia, said not only does she indulge in Monday Wear for herself, she advocates for it.


“What you wear on Monday sets a precedent for Tuesday mas,” the 32-year-old, self-proclaimed biggest lover of Carnival said via telephone.


Alicia said she never wore what was provided by her band of choice, and has always made her own costume.


“When it comes to my Monday Wear, it isn’t about money, it’s about how I look.”


Alicia revealed she once took out a small loan to be able to get all her costume preparations done, which included sourcing a designer to mak her a unique ensemble.


She acknowledged it was a sacrifice, but one worth making for the joy she feels with showing off in the streets of Port-of-Spain.


“It’s the dressing up, I love the pageantry. It’s how I get to express myself. I can’t do this any other time of the year. It’s my day.” 


Aniesa, 28, who recently moved to New York, and plans to come down to play mas (no matter what) said she would not pay the money for a separate outfit, but confessed if she fell in love with something, she might be swayed.


“I will suck it up like every other Trini and pay for it and complain after,” she joked in a Facebook message. 


Monday Wear clearly isn’t for everyone. As Williams put it, some people would go to a designer with an idea for themselves, while others would do their own thing. And it’s all good. 


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