Traditional Nigerian Clothing

Clothing for sale in Nigeria.
Clothing for sale in Nigeria.

Nigeria is the most populous African country with over 198,577,125 people. Nigeria has numerous ethnic groups, 527 languages, and over 1,150 dialects. Some of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria include the Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, and the Hausa people. These ethnic groups have their own cultures and traditional attires which they wear on special occasions like traditional weddings and religious gathering. Some of the famous traditional attires in Nigeria include:

5. Agbada

The agbada is a wide-sleeved robe that is worn by the West African and North African men. Agbada is known by different names in the various ethnic groups that adopted it from the Hausa people. The attire is known as darra’a (Maghrebi Arabic), agbada (Dagomba and Yoruba), and mbubb (Wolof). Agbada is formal attire that is made up of 3 pieces of clothing: an open-stitched full gown, a long-sleeved shirt, and Sokoto (pair of trousers that narrow towards the ankle). The Agbada is embroidered in traditional patterns, and it’s sewed from cotton. Currently, they are made using a synthetic cloth that resembles silk.

4. Gele

A gele is a traditional Nigerian cloth that is wrapped by women on their head. A gele is a large headscarf that is worn as a fashion accessory or an ornamental head covering in various occasions. Even though it can be worn daily, there are elaborate geles which the Nigerian women wear on numerous events like church activities and weddings. They are made using firm materials, and in wedding ceremonies, they can cover a woman’s hair and even her ears leaving the face and earrings exposed.

3. Igbo Dressing

Igbo is one of the three main tribes in Nigeria, and it includes various groups like Orlu, Aniocha, Ika, and the Mbaise among others. The traditional attire of the Igbo men includes an Isiagu top which is patterned with some lion heads embroidered on their clothing. The Isiagu top is usually worn with trousers and traditional stripped hats. The women wear a headscarf, an embroidered puff sleeve blouse with two wrappers. Women from various Igbo tribes wear a white wrapper on their shoulders.

2. Yoruba Dressing

Editorial credit: Ajibola Fasola /

The Yoruba community takes pride in their traditional attires which are gender sensitive. Yoruba men believe that the type of attire they put on depicts their social status and personality. The men have numerous kinds of native trouser like Sooro (streamlined pants) and Kembe (3-quarter baggy pants). Some of the caps worn by the Yoruba men include Gobi, Oribi, Alagbaa, Onide, Labankada, and Tinko. The men love adding various accessories to their agbada outfit. Agbada is an oversized attire, which the men wear like a jacket over lace-based clothes. The women wear different types of dresses including Buba and Iro with a matching gele.

1. Edo Dressing

The Edo people are the residents of Edo State, and they can also be found across the Rivers, Ondo, and Delta states in Nigeria. They are an elegant and colorful community. Edo people love beads, and they believe that it symbolizes freedom and royalty. Some of their accessories include raffia work, anklets, bangles, and beads. The Edo men love wearing their suits and traditional gowns with two kinds of coral beads (ekan and ivie). Traditionally, the men wore a white shirt or t-shirt with a multi-colored striped fabric. Edo traditional wedding attire includes an okuku, beaded necklaces and accessories, and vibrant colored fabric.


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