Nigerian women love to look good and that is why they show no hesitation when it comes to dressing up in any fashion. Some days they may decide to put on ready-made apparel; other days they wear native wears made with indigenous fabrics such as Ankara, lace, Adire, Kente, brocade, Aso oke, etc. The special thing about these fabrics is that they can easily be interpreted to tell the African story. This then makes it important to know the native wears for Nigerian women.
As the styles of traditional outfit improve, so do the native wears for Nigerian women increase. Some years back, traditional attires like senator and Agbada were considered strictly for men. Nowadays, women rock Agbada and senator even better than the men. Do you have a wedding to attend, a traditional occasion or you simply want to dress in a native attire to work or church? Keep reading as here in this article are some of the native wears for Nigerian women made with different kinds of African fabrics and irresistible designs.
Female Native Wear Designs
1. Iro and Buba
This is a native wear popular among the Yoruba women in Nigeria. Originally, the outfit was a five-piece attire comprising Iro, Buba, Gele, Ipele and Iborun. Iro is a long, rectangular skirt that is usually wrapped around the waist. Its edges are knotted or tucked inside at the waist. Buba is a loose-fitting blouse with long sleeves. Gele is the popular head tie that best suits this outfit. Ipele is shorter than the iro. It is usually tied around the waist on the iro. Iborun is a scarf placed on the shoulder to add more details to the outfit.
The Iro and Buba was a major fashion trend among Yoruba women in the last century. These days, women just wear Iro and Buba alone with or without gele. They are best worn to traditional occasions and accessorised with jewelry and other accessories for women. The style can be sewn with Aso-oke, Ankara, lace,etc. The Iro and Buba native wears for Nigerian women have been modernised to become very stylish. A typical example is the Oleku. It is the 21st century recreated Iro and Buba. The major difference between the two is that Oleku has a shorter sleeve, the skirt can be short or midi and it could have a round or square neck.
The Ankara fabric is a major source of native wears for Nigerian women. It can be used in making any outfit of your choice. For most weddings in Nigeria, lace and Ankara have been used as Aso Ebi. The fabric has an indigenous feel such that when it is worn, it is tagged “native”. Ankara can be sewn into short gowns, long dresses, suits, jumpsuits, playsuits, etc.
Ankara short gowns make you look, very much on-the-go. You can style an Ankara short gown with any of the different types of shoes for women depending on how you want to look. The Ankara short gown can be worn to work, weddings, or any casual outing. Its flexibility makes it a must-have for every wardrobe.
Ankara Long Dresses
Ankara long dresses suit any lady whether tall or short, slender or plus sized. The important thing is to choose a style you are best comfortable in. Long dresses accentuate your femininity and help in concealing some flaws in your figure. Wearing heels with a long dress gives you a more confident carriage.
Ankara suits are your plug if you want to go formal in a different way. They are a blend of westernisation and Africanness. Be it a full suit or a blazer, the Ankara suit is a creative way of exalting the Ankara fabric.
Ankara jumpsuits also make up the native wears for Nigerian women even though the style isn’t purely indigenous. Jumpsuits have become popular among women all over the world. If you’re a lover of jumpsuits, you can always look effortlessly chic with any of the trendy Ankara jumpsuit styles.
Ankara playsuits are the shorter and flirtier version of Ankara jumpsuits. They are usually casual wear and can be worn to any occasion of your choice so long as you are comfortable in them. Ankara Playsuits emphasise your figure, flaunt your features and make you look hot.
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 known as Sokoto. It is a three-piece attire. The Agbada which is among the native wears for Nigerian men have today become androgynous as they are even worn by many stylish women to different occasions. It is usually decorated with embroidery in traditional patterns. It is known as Agbada in Yoruba, Babban Riga in Hausa, Darra’a in Arabic and Mbubb in Wolof.
Although Senator wears are commonly worn by men, they have become native wears for Nigerian women. Senator is a two-piece ensemble that comprises a long top/shirt that almost touches the knees. The outfit 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. Wearing senator with a pair of sneakers or heels brings out the daring, fashionable woman in you.
Jalabiya is of Arabic origin. It has a wide cut and no collar. Women wear jalabiya of different colours gracefully, combining it with scarves, jewelry and any shoe they are comfortable in. The garment has become mainstream such that it can be worn to church or any place of your choice.
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 sleeve lines. 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. Women pair Dashiki as a short gown, with trousers, shorts or skirts.
These native wears for Nigerian women have evolved to be more colourful than ever. Every day, we see different ladies on Instagram showing and teaching us how better to rock lace, Ankara, brocade and other fabrics with creative styles you just can’t help but screenshot to show your seamstress. Which of these native wears for Nigerian women is your favourite? Let’s know below.