One thing Nigerians do not overlook, is the way they are dressed. They take their dressing important, because their dressing is a part of their identity. Nigerian native dresses are colorful and full of pride. They are also worn with a lot of dignity and a sense of belonging. Just by looking how a Nigerian is dressed, you can tell what tribe they are.
There are three major tribes in Nigeria, and the way Nigerians dress is influenced by these tribes. We have Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa tribes, and these tribes have peculiar way they dress.
Each native dress has a name, which gives you an inclination about the tribe it belongs to. Here are native dresses worn in Nigeria and their origin.
This is a cloth worn by Igbo men, usually paired with plain trousers and Igbo accessories such as the red cap and the necklace. It is also worn with wrappers and paired with a walking stick, to show class and affluence. It is a soft cloth which has the head of a lion as patterns on it.
Isiagu comes in different colours, but the dominant color worn by Igbo men is the gold embossed color. It is rarely worn by women, but if worn, it is usually worn as a skirt. This dressing is worn only on special occasions and events.
- Blouse and Wrapper:
The blouse and wrapper is worn by Igbo women and also women in the South-South region of Nigeria. The blouse is sewn in a peculiar way, and paired with wax textiles sewn into wrappers. This outfit is worn to weddings, church services and other special events. The secret to killing this dressing is by accessorizing with bead necklaces and the gele. The variation of the blouse and wrapper is worn by young Igbo maidens who are unmarried, especially in rural communities. It is the wax textile worn around the chest as a blouse, and another covering from the waist to above the knee. This dressing is paired with colorful beads and patterned hairstyles.
The Gele or Igele, is a headdress peculiar to Nigerian women, but is believed to have originated from the Yoruba women. It is worn across different ethnic groups, meaning that, a Yoruba woman wears gele, so does the Igbo woman and women from other tribes. It is colorful and tied around the head in an elaborate fashion. It is said, that you can tell how affluent a Nigerian woman is by the wideness of her gele.
The Agbada is a dress worn by the Yoruba men, but is often worn by men of different tribes, especially the fashion forward men. It is a flowing cloth with open spaces on each side and often paired with a buba and trouser. The Hausa men also wear this, but it is called Babban riga.
Agbada represents a lot of things in Nigeria, but chief among them is affluence. It is often worn to special occasions, and in recent times has been worn by women, especially Nigerian celebrities.
- Buba and Iro:
It is the Yoruba version of blouse and wrapper worn by the Igbo people. It is a blouse that is sewn with longer, non-fitting sleeves. It is often paired with a wrapper called the iro. The length of the iro is dependent on the age of the woman, as younger women prefer a shorter iro.
The Hausa women are recognized anywhere by their colorful embroidered Abaya. The Abaya is a long flowing dress which is worn with a veil over the head. It is a loose fitting dress that has embroidered neckline, and long sleeves. It is in accordance with the Hausa culture that forbids exposing a woman’s body.