African Cloth Dress Styles: What are the Different Types

If you have ever been to any traditional African event, one of the most attractive things you will notice is their traditional attire. The African cloth dress styles add a touch of elegance along with vibrant colours. 

This traditional African clothing style represents the country’s rich cultural diversity and heritage. All across the continent, there are different tribal and ethnic groups who have their own distinct African clothing style.

Here are a few of the different dress styles that are commonly seen:

  • Kente

Kente is one of the traditional unisex attire. Kente is made up of silk or cotton cloth stripes. These patterns are usually made to fit the pattern of the clothes.

Irrespective of modernization in technology, the traditional Africans still believe in weaving their Kente by hand. In families of Ghanaian royalty, the members wore the kente fabric in a toga-like style.

Due to popular kente patterns, the kente print has been widely popularized in the West and also Asia.

  • Iro to Buba

Iro to Buba is natively worn by Yoruba women in Nigeria. The original form of this dress piece consisted of 5 separate dress pieces. Iron is a large wrap that is wrapped fittingly around one’s waist.

Buba is the loose blouse that is worn as a top. Gale is the head tie that Nigerian women usually wear and are globally famous for it. Pele is the short strip of fabric that is on top of Iro on your waist. The Iboun scarf is typically draped over one’s left shoulder.

  • Boubou

Bobo is a functional and classic Senegalese robe that is worn by both women and men all over Africa. It is seen from one single piece of fabric that is typical of the size of 150cm in width. However, the length of it varies depending upon the preference and the height of the individual who is wearing it.

There is also an elegant Boubou that is found. They are usually 300cm long and usually reach one’s ankle. Traditionally a boubou is made by folding a piece of fabric into two halves and then further making an opening for the neck. Then the sides are sewn halfway, creating a flower-like sleeve on both sides.

In women, the necks are usually larger and rounder. For men, they are typically longer and v-neck shaped.

  • Kanzu

Kanzu is a traditional white colour or cream colour African cloth dress style. It is usually worn by African men near the regions of the Great Lakes. It is often also referred to as tunic and thawb in Arabic.

Kanzu is a popular form of clothing in Uganda. It is worn by men during different traditional festivals and occasions. It is said that men who wear Kanzu give them a character of sophistication and authority.

  • Habesha Kemis

Habesha Kemis is a form of African cloth dress styles that has been originated from the tribes of Habesha, the women of Addis Ababa of Ethiopia. It is a piece of clothing that is robe-like and stretches from one’s neck to the ankle.

It is worn by Ethiopian women in their formal events, and they ace the look. In today’s time, there are several different sleeve sizes of the clothing available, such as short-sleeved and long-sleeved. Habesha Kemis is usually available in a few classic colours, such as shades of white, beige and grey.

To Conclude

Like traditional attire for most countries, traditional African attire is also very diverse and colourful. There are several different attires according to the place of origin of that attire. Follow through the article to know more about different types of traditional African attires.

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