The untold cultural history of African clothing


African culture clothing

African clothing and jewelry are among the oldest ones in the world, with more than 70.000-year-long tradition. It's difficult to talk about only one way of clothing in Africa, as this continent has a lot of diversity. Throughout the centuries, different tribes and nations have added their personal touch to African clothing, and it was also influenced by other cultures. For example, we love that Bohemian romantic touch when it comes to women's accessories. However, some things are certain - African culture clothing is all about experimenting with different colors and textures. The clothes needed to be both practical and comfortable, but they also wanted them to be attractive and unique.


Typical African Clothing

Some pieces are worn throughout the whole continent, but, of course, there are many variations as every tribe adapted it to their unique conditions. Also, there are various names for similar pieces of clothing due to language diversity, and it's sometimes difficult to track down the original name. One of the most famous pieces of African clothing is kanga, usually worn by African women. It's a colorful piece of fabric that can be worn in many different ways, depending on the occasion. Women usually wear it as a skirt or apron, but you could also use it as a head-wrap. Young girls sometimes wear their mother's kanga as a dress. Kanga is also a favorite gift that African women receive on various occasions, such as their wedding.


Another popular clothing is gomesi, a floor-length dress. It's both elegant and practical, and it can be made from various materials including silk and cotton. Gomesi can come with various prints and that may be the biggest beauty of African clothes. It's hard to find two pieces that look the same, as even one small change can transform the piece into something unique.


African men often wear tunics, that are also known as kanzu. The biggest difference between men's and women's clothing is that women's clothes are usually more colorful and it has vivid colors, while men usually wear something a bit simpler. However, that's not always the case, as African men also love African blackwood bracelet jewelry and other accessories that have a special meaning for them.


How do Africans Dress

There's a big difference between rural and urban parts of Africa. People that are living in rural areas appreciate comfort more than anything else. They also like simplicity, and that's why they love wearing one-piece clothing that covers whole their body, such as a long tunic or dress. However, that doesn't mean that their clothes are plain. It's exactly the opposite. They love diversity and that's why they've come up with multiple ways to weave and dye fabric. One of the most popular techniques is strip weaving or creating a unique piece of clothing by weaving different strips. That's how they achieve to combine different textures. Each material and each color symbolizes something - for example, indigo is associated with wealth and it's usually worn by leaders or rich families.


Things like jewelry and embroidery have for centuries been associated with your status and they were used as a sign that you're doing well in life. Today, African people use them to express their creativity and uniqueness. African style allows you a lot of room to experiment with shapes, textures, materials, and colors, and it allows you to stand out from the crowd. Many African people still create their clothes, not because they have to, but because it's a family tradition. Most things are hand-made which gives them a special worth, filled with emotions and connectedness to the roots.


African clothing

African Culture Outfits

Each part of Africa has traditional everyday clothes, but they also have elegant outfits for special occasions. In comparison to other cultures, we could say that elegant African outfits are more complicated and vibrant and that they're not afraid to experiment. Most outfits contain a couple of pieces of clothing, sometimes even multiple layers. A typical male special outfit contains three pieces of clothing: a shirt with long sleeves, Sokoto trousers that have a narrow bottom part, and a long gown that is making everything more elegant.


Women's outfits for special occasions have even more colors, they look vivid and playful. They're not afraid to wear different textures at the same time and to combine things like silk dresses and wool gowns in the same outfit. When it comes to jewelry, the most famous pieces are made from traditional blackwood. They're a symbol of strength and strong contact with nature and mother Earth and that's why women love wearing blackwood bracelets on their arms. The goal of every African woman is to look both beautiful and strong at the same time, and clothing plays an important role in it.


How to Dress African

If you want to embrace your African roots, there's no better way than to start wearing traditional clothing. If you don't know where to start, you could start from details such as blackwood jewelry, headwraps, or even colorful African print handbags. The best thing about African fashion and style is that there's no way to do it wrong - you can combine everything you like, as the rules are pretty flexible. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable wearing it, but that won't be a problem because most African clothes are breathable and comfortable.


Our goal was to provide unique pieces that resemble traditional African jewelry. They're much more than simple accessories as each one of them has a strong message. People wearing them are bold and they're not afraid to express their unique self. African clothing and details can bring a dash of positivity and happiness even to your busiest days because their colors and textures invite us to play and celebrate life. We've chosen the name Queen Zuri for our shop because we believe that everyone who is wearing African accessories and clothes deserves to feel like a Queen or a King. Our mission is to empower people by enabling them to express themselves through our unique jewelry.


Recent Posts

See All