When the Aso Ebi is ready and the makeup is on fleek, the next thing a woman worries about for a traditional event is her Gele. Gele, the Nigerian lingo for a stylish headgear, is one important aspect of every Nigerian woman’s traditional outfit. Although many women do not know how to tie gele, its fashion relevance as a stylish topping for the hair cannot be denied.
Gele tying has evolved over the years. With the latest gele styles trending in 2019 on Instagram, one is forced to wonder if truly there was a time women shied away from tying the headpiece simply because of the complications involved. Now there are both virtual and real classes on how to tie gele to help fashion lovers become better in the art.
Back in the day, gele was a form of showy display that had embedded in it different meanings as intended by the wearer. For instance, a woman who wanted to let her rivals know that she cared less about their presence would wear a gele called ‘ma wo be’ which translates to ‘don’t look here’.
Gele tying in Nigeria has been traced to the Yoruba women who have been wearing it for as long as anyone can remember. They created special methods on how to tie gele and even had different gele for different events. There is now a shift from the ordinary flamboyant gele we had several years ago to extraordinary classy, stylish headpieces decorated with beads, feathers, roses, pleats, knots and more. As you read these ten easy steps on how to tie gele, you’ll be seeing some of the latest gele styles for the year. That’s double one for you. So sit tight and have a good read.
How to Tie Gele
For starters, you need to have your hair neatly packed. If you have a lot of hair, use an additional headcover to ensure the foundation for your gele is smooth and prevent the gele from slipping off. If your hair is short, skip this part and let’s begin.
1. Fold in the end of your gele to achieve a smooth base at the front of your head.
2. Wrap the gele, around your head from the back to the front. While doing this, make sure the ends of the front are equal.
3. Take one of the sides of the gele, for instance, the right side, and wrap it towards your left round to the back of your head. Use your right hand to secure it. After doing this, the left side of the gele would be longer than the right side.
4. Take the longer side (left side) and cross it over to the right side round the head to the back. Wrap it and secure it with your hands holding it at the back.
5. Arrange the gele at the side and the back. Measure the gele around the head in levels and layers then squeeze the ends to form a fan from the middle of the layout. Be sure to make the leftover at the end closest to you enough to hold.’
6. Do the same thing on the other side.
7. To secure the grip, tie the two ends closest to you two times into a knot and neatly tuck in the loose bits.
8. Now there will be two layers at the top of the gele piece. Arrange the layer at the back by ensuring the highest point of the gele is in the middle.
9. Afterward, move to the front layers and make the lines and pleats into layered steps at the front of the gele with your fingers. This you should do painstakingly to make them as defined as possible.
10. Push the gele back away from the face to give the face a lift. Be sure not to push it back too much so it doesn’t fall off from the head. You also do not have to pull your ears out of the gele.
Adjust the gele until you get your desired result.
Photo credit: Pinterest
If these steps on how to tie gele aren’t as easy as they seem for you, you can further learn how to tie gele by watching this video: