The Nigerian Ethnicity; Sense of Fashion

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Hello, Fashionistas of earth and every galaxy… Se dada ni? (Which means; hope you are doing well? in Yoruba) Lol… So, I asked a question yesterday about what you guys suggest I talk about; so this post is dedicated to Mr. Maverick Cooper (😋 Yep, I’m doing that😏).

Okay, So, one thing, Y’all should know is that; My name is Oluwatoyosi and I’m a Nigerian (lol, just laying a foundation). Another thing to note is that; Nigeria, is one of the largest nations in Africa, that is not only blessed with natural resources but also many, very many, ethnic groups. (I believe, that when God decided to scatter our languages, Nigeria got hit the most… am I right, Lol). Anyways, We are one of the biggest nations with over 250 ethnic groups, which means, more languages, more cultures and certainly more, dressing styles and fashion sense. However, we cannot begin to talk about each one or else, you guys might not come back to read my posts cause it will be lengthy, BUT, I will, however, pick out five of the most prominent and largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, namely, Yoruba (as I am, wink), Igbos, Hausas (also called Hausa-Fulani), Urhobos and finally the Tiv. We will be talking about these ethnic groups, one by one, so stay tuned…

Let’s get into it, shall we? Today; is the YORUBA ETHNIC GROUP.

YORUBAS (South-west): The Yoruba people are what I like to call the laid-back kind of people. They are those who can work, and also party (lol). They are known for their craftsmen skills, Music, and dressing.

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The Yoruba attire for women comprises Iro (Wrapper), Buba (Top), Ipele(shoulder cloth), and Gele (head tie). This traditional clothing can be worn in different styles and sown with different materials and elements, such as:

The OLEKU style is a short Iro and Buba, that gives comfort and also sends a message of freedom. The style can be designed and sown with any material or Ankara fabric like the Aso Oke. The Oleku was mostly worn in the Eighties, but it has now become something of the present as it is more common among youths and teenagers, and I personally love it because of the ability to move freely (who doesn’t want comfort right? lol).

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The Aso Oke style: The Aso Oke is a fabric or hand-woven cloth created by the Yoruba people used to make women’s wrappers, called Iro, and head tie, called gele. So, the women can choose to opt for the typical material to be used to sow both the Iro and Buba or they can choose to use the Aso Oke to sow the entire outfit or just the Iro, Ipele, and Gele. The Ipele (shoulder fabric) is an optional choice. Since it is mostly worn for weddings or big functions.

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The Skirt and Blouse Style: Now, some women feel like the typical Iro and Buba style is kind of a big work to start, so we normally opt for the simple Skirt and blouse that can be sown into whatever, desired instead of the plain top and wrapper. The sweetest thing about this style is that it can be sown with any fabric, be it, Ankara, Aso oke, or Lace. This style is mostly worn to smaller functions, events, churches, and even parties. At weddings, it is simpler and more customary for the Bride to be the one in Iro and Buba, Ipele, and Gele, while the guests are cladded in the normal skirt and blouse. However, the skirt and blouse can also be adorned with the Ipele (shoulder fabric) and Gele (head tie) using whatever material or fabric that suits the style.

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Wedding attire: The wedding attire for Yoruba women varies according to the style chosen by the bride. It is more traditional for the bride to wear the full-on Iro, Buba, Ipele, and Gele, while matching them with the various beads and jewelry. However, it has become even more trendy, for the bride to wear the skirt and blouse style, along with the Ipele, and Gele. Whatever style is chosen, I think it is better and more convenient to wear the entire outfit, no matter the style.

Yoruba attire for Men: if the women are catered for, why should we leave the men (wink). Just as the women have their own unique style of fashion; the men are definitely not left out. The male attire consists of Buba (top, short or long sleeved),  Sòkòtò pronounced “shokoto” in Yoruba), (trouser, and Fila (headgear). Now, this might not seem too much but there is one thing that singles out the Yoruba men and that is the AGBADA (we’ll come to that later.) Now, the buba and sokoto might be the traditional attire for Yoruba men, it is also worn by different ethnic groups which is why the Yoruba men have their own different styles.

Just like the women have their different styles; so, also do the men. These are;

Agbada: The Agbada is the “voluminous attire”, a big, loose-fitting, ankle-length garment. The Agbada can either be ankle-length or Knee-length, depending on the style. Some may say, it’s three-piece clothing; consisting of a pair of tie-up trousers that narrow towards the ankles (Sokoto), a long-sleeved shirt (Buba), and a wide, open-stitched sleeveless gown worn over these. It is worn mostly to big functions and is also the most common traditional wedding attire for Yoruba men.

Esiki and Sokoto elemu: The Esiki is a short sleeve, knee-length shirt worn over the Sokoto Elemu, a loose-fitting, ankle-length trousers. This is mostly worn traditionally even for weddings and functions. The Esiki can be worn over normal tight-fitting trousers as well.

The Yoruba people are very sociable, and their style has been incorporated by other ethnic groups and is seen as normal everyday wear, especially that of the women.

Hope you all learned a thing or two about my cultural attire (wink). So, quick question: which is your favorite amongst the male and females and why?

My laptop is about to die, so I gotta scram ya’know.  Later, Fashionistas…

Don’t forget to go online and read my books, Love you all (muah, imagine me air kissing you, lol)

Photo credit: Google

By Oluwatoyosi

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