How to Choose Your Monday-Wear Look

Monday Wear Blog Cover

I received a question in my audience survey that asked “how do you go about choosing your Monday-wear looks?” 

If you’re new to the carnival scene, you may be asking, “what is Monday-wear?” If I had to give it a definition, I’d say that it’s an ensemble worn on the more casual carnival day. Some carnivals have two days of road experiences, such as Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Trinidad, to name a few. In Trinidad, the more casual day is held on a Monday. In other places, like St. Lucia, the more casual day is Tuesday; however, the term Monday-wear is often used nonetheless. 

Back in the day, donning a pair of shorts, a simple tank top and a small piece from your carnival costume was more than enough for the road. In recent years, however, Monday-wear looks have become far more elaborate. A Monday-wear themed event is an opportunity for carnival goers to get creative and express their personality through their fashion choices. Here are some tips to help you brainstorm ideas for your ensemble:

Antigua Monday Wear

Set a Budget

Determine a limit for how much you want to spend on your ensemble. Once you do that, you’ll be able to navigate your ideas and options better. Don’t feel pressured to spend an astronomical amount of money on your Monday-wear. Whatever you choose will be more than acceptable. 

Choose Your Persona and Style Goals

No seriously, give your future Monday-self a name. Whenever I’m in the midst of selecting a costume for pretty mas, I immediately try to picture myself in the costume. I start rearranging things in my head as if I’m creating a SIMS character (IYKYK). Oftentimes, if I choose to be overly girly on the day of pretty mas, I’ll go for a more sporty or tom-boyish look to switch things up a bit for the other road day.

Here are some guiding questions:

  • Does your Monday-self want to be more sporty or sexy?
  • Will they be loud or subtle in their self-expression?
  • What will their signature hairstyle and color be?
  • How do they want to feel when they step out of the house?
  • What energy do they want to exude when walking through the crowd?

Consider Your Non-Negotiables

For some people, it’s easier to brainstorm in extremes. Thinking this way can help you filter out what you need from what you absolutely have no interest in. Let’s take your hairstyle for example. If you’ve already registered for your costume, then you likely have an idea of how your hair will be for the duration of your trip. If you plan to wear a protective style that’s cornrowed up into a high bun, we can pretty much eliminate you wearing a cowboy hat or hooded top. You can however, consider other headwear options such as, visors or headwraps. If you absolutely must have a hooded top, then you should consider rocking a hairstyle that doesn’t have any height. 

Here are some questions to help guide you:

  • What do you want to be the focal point of your look? (hair, accessories, or bodywear)
  • What’s the goal for your head? (head covering, hair, hair accessories)
  • Do you want your hair to run free or be fully contained?
  • What kind of sleeves would you like? (strapless, short sleeves, capped sleeves, long sleeves, off the shoulder)
  • Do you want bold or simple accessories?
  • Would you prefer to wear sneakers or boots?

Solidify Your Level of Involvement

Are you a creative just itching to get your hands dirty with a DIY Monday-wear project? Are you that person who just wants to pick something off of a shelf (virtual or in-person)? Or, are you the person who just wants to hand your coins over to a professional and have them work magic? You really need to figure out how involved you want to be ASAP.

Left: An Amazon swimsuit (worn backwards) paired with a DIY wire bra | Center: Lingerie Piece| Right: Full DIY Piece

Be Committed to the Work

There are pros and cons no matter which method you choose, but being happy with your overall decision is important. 

If you have the time, space, skill and mental capacity to create your own magic, I say go for it… especially if you want to be unique! Just make sure you have enough time to collect all the materials and leave room for trial runs and hiccups. 

Those of you who want to keep things simple and budget-friendly can purchase swimsuits, lingerie, or club looks from Amazon or other sites and call it a day. There is a slight risk of someone else wearing the same piece, but, the way you style and accessorize your ensemble can make a world of a difference. The chances of you even seeing that person are pretty slim, especially in Trinidad.

If you’re choosing from a designer collection, or having a sewist make your outfit from scratch, please understand that you will have to do your due diligence as well. Make sure to take proper measurements of your body and send them to the designer, along with any materials you’re supposed to provide. Do this and ensure to abide by any deadlines they give you.  Purchasing from an official Monday-wear collection means that you will also need to set aside time in your schedule to collect your items, or have them delivered to your accommodations (if offered). Note that collection times may interfere with your fete schedule.

Well friend, I hope this read was helpful. Do take the time to watch the associated YouTube video above for more information. Tag me in your Monday-wear posts if I’ve helped in any way!