Picture-perfect romance? Decoding matching outfits

By Jasmine Atieno
Friday, February 14th, 2020
Media personalities Tom and Massawe Japanni say matching outfits helps with family bonding. Photo/PD/JASMINE ATIENO

For the longest time, even in the days of our forefathers, women and men of status were made to dress in a befitting manner.

Kings and queens of ancient kingdoms for example, uniquely matched royal attires. 

Also known as twinning, couples who do it reveal the trend is sometimes subconscious and other times  conscious and orchestrated.  

Renowned Kenyan entrepreneur Philip Pips and his designer and top model wife, Yvonne Adhiambo are an envy of many for their stylish matching outfits.

For them, twinning is a trend they have formed and has become part of them. It is a must do for the couple, especially during their yearly tours of Europe. 

Couples that twin, win

Philip says matching outfits has more meaning than meets the eye. Coordinating their dress code has played an important role in their relationship by eliminating the grey area.

“We travel to Europe at least once in a year. And during our stay there, we make a point of wearing a matching outfit everyday.

Phililip Pip and his wife Yvonne Adhiambo say coordinating their style adds to the romance in their marriage. Photo/PD/JASMINE ATIENO

This makes a statement. It shows we are together,” he says adding, “I mean, it is very sexy for a man to do this for his woman, and it definitely adds to the romance in the relationship.

People walk up to us and complement our attire, especially because it is also a cultural representation of where we come from.

Those who don’t probably are afraid or just haven’t had an actual opportunity to walk up to us and say it,” Philip chuckles. 

Power couple John C Mac and Stacy Chacha match their outfits creatively for fun. “Being in the entertainment business means continuously trying out new looks and standing out. We always try to come out very stylish. This is also in addition of our passion for dressing,” says John. 

He says matching outfits should not only be a Valentine’s Day thing, but should be done every now and then.

The romantic duo echo one another’s fashion choices and are always a spotlight stealer at the many red carpet affairs, celebrity awards among other events they are invited to together.

“Many times, people have walked up to us and said wow, this is very beautiful or ask who did the outfit. However, I have never been asked why I do it... I only receive compliments.

And this is a good statement to make,” says John C Mac the CEO of Cfam Concepts Limited. 

As much as style has evolved over time, the message was and is still being communicated when couples wear matching outfits.

From celebrities on red carpet, down to the local lovely church couple, many couples invest in designing clothes that share similar aspects of style or use similar fabric.

And we’re not just talking matching colour schemes; these fashionable duos put an effort into “being one” in their relationships.

From wearing similar sneakers to a head-to-toe leather ensemble, these lovebirds have gone above and beyond to make just a fashion statement.

They are loudly stating something­— that they are together... that they are an item. They want to tell the world that they’re taken and are in a happy relationship and coordinated. 

Catch me dead

Relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein  says harmonious dressing is a sub-conscious thing, that generally occurs about six months into a relationship. 

“We tend to want to fit in with the person we are dating. Yes we are all unique, but we want to, as a couple, look united and as if we ‘fit’,” Goldstein says. 

And then there is another breed of couples that would rather be caught dead than wearing matching outfits.

“I hate matching outfits. For some reason, I find it a bit odd when I see couples wearing matching outfits to events, especially if they do it all the time. I think it comes across as trying too hard.

Its one thing to be wearing the same colour scheme and another thing to be outrightly wearing the exact same shoes, trouser, shirt. It is not cool,” Stanley Warui, an IT specialist points out.

According to sociologist Fiona Atieno, some couples find outfit coordination romantic and sweet, while others find it forced and trying too hard or outright corny.

She says couples subconsciously begin to mimic each other with time as they become friends and start moving into a more loving territory.

In such cases you can find a person who previously was not big on dressing carefully and slowly starting to put in effort to match their partner. It makes them feel more alike and belonging into each other’s world.

“As much as it does not appear to have any weight, the synchrony removes differences and makes couples easily identified as couples,” she says.

Family bonding

Speaking of his family trend, head of Radio Maisha, Tom Japanni says the outfit matching trend is usually effortlessly extended to the rest of the family, which is important for family bonding. 

His wife, also a media personality, loves dressing not only the two of them, but also their three daughters, so on family occasions they will be spotted in matching clad. 

Image Consultant Robbert Burale says couples who match outfits actually make very strong statements on their relationship status in the most playful way, while the most important, besides good fashion sense is the fact that they are a team and have a good communication trait. 

Burale says it is hard to get a couple in the middle of their relationship actually matching outfits.

It happens mostly between couples who have been married for a long time because they have gone through a lot together. They are not afraid to show off.

This also happens between newlyweds or just at the earlier stages of the relationship where they are excited to be together and happy to show off their excitement.

“It is very beautiful when it is done once in a while, but not when it  is overly done like every other day or week. Other than that, matching outfits for couples is just a simple way of showing that the couple works together and are a team,” adds Burale. 

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