Last weekend, an aunt had this occasion to attend and she decided to wear heels from home to the venue. Her husband looked at her, paused and said something that reminded me of the funny names Nigerians call 90s fashion.
He asked her, “Honey, are you sure you won’t fall down with this your Akpola shoe?”
I laughed not just because what he said was funny. But because it made me take a trip down memory lane to remember the names we gave fashion items that were popular in the 90s.
If you’re a millennial, I’m pretty sure you are quite familiar with 1990s fashion and how trendy they were back in the day. As typical of fashion, some of these items are still in vogue.
Moreso, you also know that Nigerians had funny names to most of these fashion items, don’t you? For instance, doesn’t Akpola shoe in my first paragraph ring a bell?
Personally, I loved Akpola shoes when I was much younger. Because anytime I wore them, my dad hailed me, saying I was an up-and-coming Agbani Darego.
That’s just one of the many funny names Nigerians call 1990s fashion. There’s more in this article. So, stay with me as we take a quick throwback.
Funny Names Nigerians Call 1990s Fashion
1. Fela Trouser
The first of the funny names Nigerians call 90s fashion is Fela trousers. I rocked this particular one as a tweenager. Thanks to mummy who loved to shop for Fela trousers that I’d wear with show-me-your-back or show bele tops.
Well, would you believe that it was in 2020 I found out that Fela trousers aren’t Fela trousers but actually bell bottoms?
Bell bottoms are pants in which the end of each leg flares out dramatically from the knee downward, like the mouth of a bell. They are tight-fitting and flare out only at the knees.
It just happened that the legendary musician, Fela, usually wore this pants in his time. And perhaps, that’s why it earned the name Fela trousers among Nigerians.
2. Bongo Trousers
Bongo Trousers are similar to Fela pants. In fact, I think people referred to both as one and the same then. However, since Bongo trousers were more or less used to refer to every flared pants, then its actual name is Palazzo pants.
Bongo trousers was a thing for men in the 1980s. I remember my grandmother telling me she loved how my uncles used to wear them then.
As a man, would you comfortably rock fela trousers or bongo trousers today?
Let me guess.
They are now for women. I know right.
3. Abortion Belt
The first time I heard this one, I thought it was something to facilitate abortion. But then I realised it earned the name as a result of its size.
But you know the funny thing?
Many Nigerian mothers refused to buy this belt for their daughters. Perhaps because they dreaded the word “abortion” and wouldn’t want to hear it from their daughter’s mouth.
Imagine this: you’re a parent and your daughter asks you, “daddy/mummy, have you seen my abortion belt?”
Be truthful to yourself. Wouldn’t you for a second think she recently had an abortion or plans to?
4. Show Belle
You know those tops that stop right at the midriff or slightly above it? Yeah, crop top. Nigerians refer to it as show belle.
Thank God for the availability of the Internet and globalisation as a whole. Perhaps, you and I would still be calling it show belle till this very moment.
This was and still is the name of dresses and tops with the halter neckline. Halter is a style of sleeveless top with a bare back. Sometimes, there is a strap around the back of the neck to make it sit perfectly.
Obviously, its style is the reason for the name.
6. Spaghetti Top
This is one of the funny names Nigerians call 1990s fashion. Tank tops, aka spaghetti tops, were really a thing then. Music videos had video vixens rocking these tops.
Trust Nigerians, rather than do a little homework and find out its real name, we decided to call it spaghetti top. One reason for this was the tiny rope that happens to be the sleeves.
7. Show-me-your-bumbum Pant
This is also one of the funny names Nigerians call 1990s fashion.
You know what I’m talking about here right? G-strings and thongs. The fact that these types of panties leave the butt cheeks bare makes them show-me-your-bumbum panties.
8. Low Waist
High waist. Low waist. That should tell you where the name comes from. These pants were quite popular especially as jeans in the 1990s. And while we call them low waist, the name is actually low-rise pants.
9. Puff Puff Hand
This was another sensation back in the 90s. It still is a sensation today. Only that fashion designers have made it better.
Back then, puff sleeves which Nigerians call ‘puff puff hand’ were common among overtly religious sisters. Furthermore, the Cinderella dresses little girls wore to end of the year parties had these sleeves too.
But because the sleeves were puffy like the small chops we call ‘puff-puff’, we settled for the name ‘puff puff hand’.
10. Akpola Shoe
I grew up calling wedges ‘Akpola shoe’. That’s what my parents called them (not my fault). I can bet you sometimes call these types of heeled shoes for women ‘Akpola’ too. And although these names are funny, they help to paint a picture in our minds especially when they are mentioned.
These are only ten of the funny names Nigerians call 1990s fashion. Is there any you think we missed out? Drop it as a comment below so others can learn.