Types of African clothing
Nowadays, there are two types of African clothing. There is traditional African clothing and Modern African clothing usually referred to as African fashion.
As Africa is a big continent made up of different countries, different kinds of people, culture, languages, food, clothing etc, we would cover only the popular African clothing for now.
Traditional African clothing
It seems most of the Traditional African attires we see and hear of today are from the Western part of Africa such as Ghana and Nigeria.
Aso oke: people usually refer to aso oke, as the traditional Yoruba women’s garment. It consists of four parts:
- Buba – Yoruba blouse
- Iro – a wrap skirt
- Gele – head tie
- Iborun or Ipele – shawl or shoulder sash
Aso oke hat: is a traditional Yoruba hat that is made of hand woven African fabric.
Boubou or bubu: is one of the names for a flowing wide sleeved robe. This can be worn by both male and female. It also known as kaftan but this refers more to female boubou.
kaba and slit :This is a long wraparound skirt and matching blouse made from African wax print or cloth. Skirts usually have a pair of strings in the waist which is drawn together to fit the waist but normal zips could be used instead.
Dashiki: The dashiki is a colourful garment for men that covers the top half of the body. It has formal and informal versions and varies from simple draped clothing to fully tailored suits. Some also have beautiful embroidery around the neck area.
Kaftan/ Caftan: is a loose-fitting pullover garment, with an ornate V-shaped or round collar, and tailored and embroidered neck and sleeve lines.
The Ghanaian smock: is a plaid shirt that is similar to the dashiki, worn by men in Ghana. The smock is also called a fugu or a batakari. It is made of handloomed strips of Kente fabric that are three to four inches in width.
Kufi or kufi cap: is a brimless, short, and rounded cap worn by a lot of people in West Africa
A head tie/ gele is a West and Southern African women’s cloth used to tie the head as part of the African outfit
Kente cloth is a type of silk and cottonfabric made of interwoven cloth strips which originates from Ghana.
The wrapper is a colorful women’s garment widely worn in West Africa. It has formal and informal versions and varies from simple draped clothing to fully tailored ensembles. The formality of the wrapper depends on the fabric used to create it. The wrapper is usually worn with a matching headscarf or head tie that is called a gele.
Modern African fashion
With time, African fashion has been merged with European styles to make it an everyday attire. These types of African outfits could easily be worn to work, parties, even as casual everyday wear. These include African pencil dresses, African print skirts, trousers, jumpsuits, playsuits etc. These African outfits are made using African wax prints or Ankara prints but in modern stylish easy wears.
African dresses: African dresses can be made using only African wax print or with a combination of other types of materials. There are long, maxi African print dresses, Short African print dresses or midi dresses.
This is usually made solely with African wax print or a combination of other types of material. Jumpsuits and playsuits come in a form of trousers but is joined to the top, making a one piece outfit.