African clothing styles for women have come a long way and have progressed from traditions dating back many years ago.
There is a wide selection of fashionable clothing for African women, which comes in various colors, design, materials, and styles.
These clothing styles are usually designed to correspond to various functions and occasions.
Here are the top African clothing styles for women:
1. Kente styles
Debatably, Kente is the best known and the most distinguished of all African clothing styles.
It is considered as the embodiment of the African heritage that is known all over the world.
Traditionally, Kente is made from African silk originating from the Ashanti Kingdom of Ghana.
This African design for men, dating back almost 400 years ago, is intended to be worn only by kings and chiefs.
However, these days, the kente cloth is worn by both men and women to important occasions such as traditional weddings, national celebrations etc.
Did you see that kente dress style worn by T’Challa in the Black Panther movie?
The geometric pattern, color, and design of every piece of Kente come with specific meanings.
Aside from making a statement, it also embodies the creativity, life experiences, religious beliefs, cultural heritage, and family line of the wearer.
Here are images of popular kente styles on the continent.
2. Female agbada styles
The Grand Boubou or Agbada is the definition of African masculinity. This four-piece garment for men is a brilliant piece of clothing is a popular African attire for men, handcrafted only by the most skillful tailors.
The entire ensemble would include pants, top, Boubou outer garment, and Kufi hat. The grand Boubou, originally made in Nigeria, Ghana, and the Gambia comes with meticulously embroidered gold patterns that would normally take several weeks to complete.
Women were never seen in the Agbada outfits as on the other hand, while the men dressed in the Agbada garment, the women dressed in what is known in Yoruba as the “Iro and Buba”.
However, our women are beating men when it comes to the trendy Nigerian clothing style Agbada these days. Nigerian celebs like Toke Makinwa, Uche Jumbo, and Linda Ejiofor have been seen walking on the streets in the elegant Agbada outfits.
Female Agbada Styles are now available everywhere. Here are pics of Agbada styles for women.
Generally made from African print, lace, silk, brocade, suiting or cotton fabrics, Dashiki is either loose-fitting or tailored shirt, often in the V-shape neckline.
This fine piece of African clothing style for both men and women comes with simple or elaborate embroidery patterns, especially along the sleeve, chest, and necklines.
Modern dashikis come in various designs and patterns; however, the traditional look is well preserved.
In some instances, the shapes of Dashiki necklines vary in many shapes and forms, such as square, rounded or closed necklines.
Although Dashikis are commonly worn in West Africa, this clothing style for women is also becoming popular in other parts of Africa and the world at large.
We’ve seen photos of Chris Brown, Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa etc wearing Dashiki and other African wear styles.
Here are some nice dashiki dresses from Dashiki Pride on Instagram.
You can order nice dashiki dresses from them.
4. Batakari styles
Batakari is a Ghanaian smock similar to the dashiki, worn by men and women in Ghana. It is also called a fugu or a batakari in the northern regions of Ghana.
The smock is made of hand-loomed strips popularly called Strip Cloths. They are made of a mixture of dyed and undyed cotton loom and are originally from the northern part of Ghana and other parts of West Africa.
The strips are sewn together by hand or machine giving the smock a plaid appearance. Most smocks have embroidery on the neckline. The smock is worn with a kufi cap.
Batakari is worn by kings with a red fez hat in the three northern regions but is now popular across Ghana and even southern Burkina Faso. Politicians also wear the batakri dress mostly during national events.
However, there is a new trend in female batakari styles all over Ghana. Samira Bawumia, wife of the vice president of Ghana is mostly seen in gorgeous Batakari outfits.
Check out pictures of latest batakari styles for women.
5. Aso ebi styles
Aso ebi is a uniform dress that is traditionally worn in Nigeria and some West African cultures as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods.
The purpose of wearing the dress can be to serve as self-identification with age mates, relatives or friends during social occasions or at funerals.
The word Aso in Yoruba means cloth and Ebi denotes family. So Aso ebi can be described as a family cloth usually worn during funerals or family ceremonies.
However, the practice is now beyond family dressing because strangers of a celebrant can wear the Aso ebi.
Most weddings in Nigeria including recent marriage ceremonies of popular celebs are characterized by Aso ebi fashion.
6. Ankara fashion styles
African wax prints known as ankara or Ntoma (in Ghana) are omnipresent and common materials for clothing in Africa, especially West Africa. They are industrially produced, colorful cotton cloths with batik printing.
One feature of these materials is the lack of difference in the color intensity of front and back side.
Normally, the fabrics are sold in 12 yards as ‘full piece‘ or 6 yards as ‘half piece‘. The colors comply with the local preferences of the customers, mainly clothing for celebrations.
Example, African prints for funerals are usually black or red in color while important life celebrations come with white colored prints.
The wax prints are part of a nonverbal way of communication among African women, and hereby they carry their message out into the world. Some wax prints can be named after personalities, cities, building, sayings or occasions.
Example, The funeral cloth for the late Ghanaian Dancehall Musician Ebony Reigns was called ‘Maame Hw3’.
The producer, name of the product and registration number of the design is printed on the selvage, protecting the design and allowing reading the quality of the fabric. The wax fabrics constitute capital goods for the African women.
Ankara is sewn into beautiful African fashion styles such as Kaba and Slit, Maxi skirt, peplum skirt, jumpsuits, African fashion accessories, and even bikinis.
Ankara is the most popular African wear dress. Here are some Ankara print dresses.
African clothing styles are generally characterized by dazzling shapes, bright colors, multicolored patterns, and bold designs. They also come with an assortment of accessories, head wraps, caps, hats, shoes and many more.