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Latest Dashiki Styles to Better Your Casual Look

Which native wear for men and women helps you pull off a great, casual look when paired with a pair of jeans and sneakers? You guessed right. Dashiki of course! This attire has an Afro-urban feel and it has become so mainstream that it is hardly regarded as a native attire these days. Little wonder anyone would love to try out any of the latest dashiki styles.

What is Dashiki?

2 beautiful ladies in dashiki tops

The name ‘Dashiki’ is from the Yoruba word dàńṣíkí which refers to a loose-fitting pullover with an ornate V-neckline and embroidered sleeve lines.  It is a borrowed word from Hausa meaning ‘shirt’ or ‘inner garment’.  In East Africa, it is called Kitenge while in Indonesia, it is called Java. The traditional cap worn with this garment is called Kufi and it is paired with drawstrings trousers known as Sokoto.

Dashiki is a colourful garment that covers the top half of the body. It has gained global grounds as people of all races and tribes, musicians and celebrities wear it in an elegant way.

It can be made with different kinds of fabrics. However, the multicoloured Angelina print made by a Vlisco textile designer, Toon van de Manakker, is the commonest fabric for making this garment.  

Origin of Dashiki

Dashiki originated in West Africa. It is commonly worn in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin. As a loose-fitting garment, it suits the hot weather climate in West Africa.

In the 1960s,  this garment found its way to the Black American community during the political and cultural struggles as at then. Four young professionals by name Jason Benning, Milton Clarke, Howard Davis, and William Smith, founded a clothing company called New Breed in 1967 for the production of the garment.  

 Unlike other menswear of that time, the garment was worn outside the pants instead of tucked in. It was as well loose rather than tight and mostly came in bright rather than dull colours.

However, the political strength of this garment undermined towards the end of the 1960s when those who adopted the garment as a result of its aesthetics disregarded it as a symbol of Black identity. Retailers began to import in large quantities the ones made in India, Thailand and Bangladesh. And towards the end of the 20th century, people in the US wore this attire for festivals and pop culture. This further undermined the initial passion for the garment. However, the attire resurged from 2012-2016 and became a fad for both notable and ordinary individuals alike.

Why do People Wear Dashiki?

Nowadays, almost everyone wears this garment for the sake of fashion. It is a great casual wear that offers comfort and style at the same time. Women even wear them in the form of a shift dress, not just as a shirt. But for African Americans of the 1960s, the garment was a return to their African roots and an urgent demand for an exercise of their rights in American society. It was a symbol of affirmation which stood for the slogan, “black is beautiful”.

Even as times have changed, dashiki still is a representation of Africanness during Black History Month and Kwanzaa, a week-long African-American cultural holiday held between December 26 and January 1.

Latest Dashiki Styles

From being a cultural attire to being a tool for Black renaissance, this garment has evolved into a casual or street fashion staple.  The popularity of this garment has tripled over time, thanks to indigenous and foreign celebrities who have been caught on camera wearing the attire. With the Angelina fabric, designers aren’t pulling back in doling out more vibrant dashiki pieces that serve as anyone’s easy go-to for both informal and traditional events.

Below are some of the latest dashiki styles to better your casual look. They can be worn to religious gatherings, casual get-together, weddings, dates, etc.

1. Short-sleeved Dashiki Shirts

man in short sleeves dashiki shirt

These are the traditional loose-fitting dashiki worn over trousers, shorts or skirts. These latest Dashiki styles usually have short or three-quarter sleeves.

girl in a colorful embroidered top

2. Long-sleeved Dashiki Shirt

2 ladies in long sleeves dashiki tops

These latest Dashiki styles have long sleeves. They are suitable for cold climates or simply as a style enhancement.

man and woman in colorful long sleeves tops

3. T-shirts

lady in a white dashiki t-shirt and jeans

This is a fresh and modern twist to the garment. It simply is a T-shirt created with the ornate necklines and embroidery of the dashiki. It is a great streetwear.

boy in an embroidered white t-shirt and blue jeans

4. Sweatshirts

man in a colorful embroidered sweatshirt

Same as the T-shirt, this one also has a modern twist. It merges the style and fabric of a sweatshirt with the traditional dashiki to achieve this style.

dread locked man in dashiki sweat jacket

5. Shift Dress

lady in red native shift dress

These latest Dashiki styles are worn without skirts or trousers by women. They are usually of knee-length or longer than that. They are free dresses you just slip on and pair with sandals, flip-flops or sneakers to be on-the-go.

lady in a black shift dress

6. Dashiki Robes

lady in a long black embroidered robe

These latest Dashiki styles get to the ankles. They are tailored in the form of a kaftan.

smiling lady in native robe

7. Trousers

lady in dashiki trousers

If you want your top and bottom to be the same, then you pair it with matching trousers or simply wear the vibrant coloured trouser alone with a T-shirt.

man in yellow native print trousers

8. Dashiki Jacket

lady in red sweat dashiki jacket

When the Angelina print is used to make suit jackets, it is called a Dashiki jacket.

man in a colorful African native suit

9. Beach Shorts

muscled man in a colorful beach shorts

Wanna go for a picnic at the beach? Try on a pair of dashiki beach shorts. The vibrant colours will beautify your legs so when you get sun-kissed, you’ll be looking really hot.

white lady in a colorful bump shorts

10. Hoodies

white tatooed lady in an embroidered hooded top

To achieve this, you can use pieces of the fabric to style the hoodie at strategic points such as the cuffs, pockets, neckline, etc. However, it can as well be made with the full fabric and still look great.

man in a hooded dashiki

Tips for Wearing Any of the Latest Dashiki Styles

  1. Remember the fabric is brightly multicoloured, hence, to be on the safe side, pair with dull coloured tops or bottoms so the beauty can pop out.
  2. Even if you don’t like bright coloured attires, if you want to wear this outfit, you don’t have a choice as most of them usually come in vibrant and attractive colours. So don’t be shy of colours.
  3. Ensure the print and pattern you choose suit you to avoid undermining the aesthetic appeal of the garment indeliberately.
  4. Since it is loose-fitting, this garment should be preferably paired with tapered bottoms such as jeans, pencil skirts or shorts.
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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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