Native Wears for Nigerian Men

Nigeria is blessed with different beautiful cultures and each of these cultures have attires peculiar to them. Some of these traditional attires have become mainstream such that they can be worn to any occasion while others are best worn to traditional marriages or any cultural occasion. Among the many Nigerian traditional attires are native wears for men and women but this article only focuses on the ones for men. Some of the native wears for Nigerian men are:

Agbada

Agbada is a Nigerian traditional attire that comprises an open-stitched flowing robe with wide sleeves, a long-sleeved shirt, and a pair of trousers (Sokoto). It is a three-piece attire. The Agbada which is among the native wears for Nigerian men is usually decorated with embroidery in traditional patterns. It is known by various names in different languages. In Yoruba it is called Agbada, in Hausa it is called Babban Riga, Darra’a in Arabic and Mbubb in Wolof.

Woko

Woko suit is the Niger Deltan version of the English suit. The sleeves can be long or short depending on the style of the wearer. They are usually worn with a four- chained brooch or Niger Delta studs or buttons, where the fourth button has a pin that is clipped to the shirt of the dress. For decorative purposes, a pocket filler can be put in the pocket of the shirt. This makes Woko look more unique and complete especially when the wearer puts on an English hat and holds a walking stick.

Senator

Senator is a two-piece ensemble that comprises a long top/shirt that almost touches the knees. The outfit, although peculiar to people of Igbo and Niger-Delta origin, was made popular by former Nigerian senate president Anyim Pius Anyim (2000-2003) who usually graced almost every occasion with this outfit during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure. Little wonder the garment won the name ‘Senator’. The senator wear bears much semblance to the Igbo traditional attire but unlike that of the Igbos, senators are made with plain suit fabrics of any desirable colour, rather than the tiger head prints known as Isi Agu used in making Igbo traditional attires.

Atiku 

Atiku fabric is one of the native wears for Nigerian men in the North. It is a pure cotton fabric that is either with stripes, plain or patterns but isn’t as thick as brocade. The fabric was made popular and named after the former vice president of Nigeria,  Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who usually wore this fabric stylishly in different colours during his tenure. His influence made the fabric included among the native wears for Nigerian men as most men began to make different styles of clothing with the fabric.

Dashiki

The name ‘Dashiki’ is from the Yoruba word dàńṣíkí which refers to a loose-fitting pullover with an ornate V-shaped collar and embroidered neck and sleevelines.  It is a borrowed word from Hausa meaning ‘shirt’ or ‘inner garment. 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 Dashiki in an elegant way.

Isi Agu

Isi Agu literally means Lion’s head in Igbo. It is a shirt (long or short-sleeved) made with the fabric with the lion’s head prints. Isi Agu is similar to Dashiki only that it usually has gold buttons and a breast pocket.

Etibo

Etibo is the Ijaw version of the English shirt. Some call it Chieftaincy shirt. It has a long tail which bends like the letter U at the front and back. Legend says that it came from the Portuguese slave masters who sold it for 8 Bob which was likely the name of Portuguese currency as at then. From the price of the shirt, 8 Bob, did this traditional attire earn its name ‘Etibo’ by the Ijaw people. The Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria call it Mbem ntie which means that if a man who wears Etibo wants to sit on a chair, the shirt will sit first before him, owing to the fact that it has a long tail.  The ijaw people often wear it with a single brooch — also known as a chieftaincy stud —that falls to the pocket of the shirt while Ibibio and Efik men wear it like a corporate shirt, buttoning it up to the neck without the brooch.

Kaftan

Kaftan is one of the native wears for Nigerian men prevalent among the Hausa, Fulani, and Kanuri tribes of Nigeria. It is a long and loose shirt that doesn’t have a collar. Prior to the modem days, kaftan was a long robe or tunic. Nowadays, it looks like a very long shirt.

Jalabiya

Jalabiya is of Arabic origin. It has a wide cut and no collar. Most Nigerian men, particularly Muslims, wear jalabiya to special occasions or countries. The garment has become mainstream such that it can be worn to church or any place of your choice.

Fashion in Nigeria is a superb one. Our fabrics and styles are a must-have for even non-indigenes. Right about now, there is a blend of traditional styles with modern ones such that the result are irresistible wardrobe staples. Our fashion designers have contributed a lot to make this a success; creating beautiful pieces with Ankara fabric, lace, Adire and other indigenous fabrics such that they now have gained international acclaim.  Which is your favourite among the aforementioned native wears for Nigerian men? Let us know by dropping a comment.

Victoria B. Willie

Victoria Willie is a writer, entrepreneur and a fashion enthusiast who believes in the power of imaginations. She derives pleasure in reading, writing and meeting new people.

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