This Native Wears article was inspired by a very good friend of mine a stylish lady – Oge
“The true definition of native wear is a piece of cloth, worn by a native bushman for hunting activities” – Xi (the bushman who thought that coke bottles were evil gifts from the gods)
Xi was the title character in the movie – “The Gods must be Crazy” and was portrayed by – Nǃxau Toma. Ok, Xi may not have made that quote exactly as it is above, but I’m sure that’s how the English men interpreted the thong he wore throughout the movie – as a “native’s wear”.
But of course, that is different from what we are about to discuss here today. As a lover of native wears, a brand ambassador of African Fashion Week Nigeria and a strong advocate of African Fashion, I hope to give you guys a few tips and style advice on how to rock your native attire.
First…let’s take a moment and explain what a Native Wear is.
Native Wear also known as Traditional Wear, Native Outfit or Native Attire is mostly common in Africa and is also known as a Native-African attire. Over the years there has been a huge improvement from what “native wear” was back then and what it is now. See what I mean below…
Some of the trends which were in existence back then are coming back now with a bit of refinement in design. Things like the popular Agbada have been in existence since the 1800s and they are coming back in style today.
Kaftans [with length almost sweeping the floor] were also popular in the 90s, but they are back in vogue, more refined to lengths just below the knee and with a bit of English touch to it such as the use of double cuff design in the wrist section such that it can be worn with cufflinks.
Considering this trend, who knows, a few years from now Xi’s native wear style mentioned earlier could be back in vogue for men as an outer garment. I hope this doesn’t happen, though 🙂
RULES THAT APPLY WHEN WEARING NATIVE WEARS
The General Rule:
Ensure the trouser length is reaching just on the top of the shoe and not sweeping the ground when you walk. To be safe, ensure your tailor’s measurement of your trouser length stops just at your ankle (NO-BREAK or QUARTER BREAK Trouser Length Style). Not before your ankle (unless you choose that on purpose to make a fashion statement).
And a native wear top can be paired with jeans…
WHAT NOT TO WEAR
Today we have all manner of foot wears available for us to choose from namely loafers, boat shoes, moccasin, boots, dress shoes etc.
The negative side to this is that the Foot Wear brands do not give advice on what clothes are appropriate for certain kind of shoes they make.
#1. Avoid wearing your simple native wears with dress shoes or any other form of Lace-Ups Men’s Shoes.
#2. Avoid wearing socks with your shoes when wearing native wears, there is no excuse for this even if you live in Antarctica or Iceland.
Some people might be wondering, how are they going to survive all the sweat, stink and perspiration without socks. I would say go for “Half Socks” [NOT Ankle Socks]. There are several no-show socks brand in the fashion market that place a big emphasis on comfort and style. Find them and buy if you must wear socks.
#3. Avoid wearing your native wears with Canvas shoes, Running/Sports shoes for men, no matter the type.
We frankly don’t care about the Brand or how expensive it is, it just doesn’t work well with native wears.
#4. Avoid wearing native wears with Leather Slippers for special occasions or events such as Wedding, Cocktail Parties, Grand occasions etc.
But you can wear this if it’s for a simple look or casual business or when hanging out for a drink or any other leisure activities, just make sure you are wearing a classic one.
#5. Avoid wearing native wears with Rubber Flip Flops or any form of bathroom slippers.
Even in an emergency situation…I don’t care if you are rushing to the scene of an accident, simply change to Shorts and Tees if you must wear the rubber flip flop in an emergency.
#1. Avoid wearing native wears with sports wrist watch.
The same way a sports wrist watches should never be worn with a suit, a sports watches should never be worn with a native wear attire. It is frowned upon by many a fashion expert so try to avoid making this fashion faux-pas.
#2. Avoid wearing native wears with belts.
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to match your shoe and belt color, the rule just doesn’t apply here. The trousers are supposed to fit your exact waist size or made with an adjustable strap on the side.
WHAT TO WEAR
#1. For all types of natives, you can wear loafers, moccasins, boat shoes and any other variation of loafers without laces.
See below images.
#2. For some special kind of native wears such as Senators, Agbada, and long Kaftans.
You can wear any nice shoe, so as long as it’s not lace up. Some examples of these shoes include Single or Double Monk Strap Leather shoes and other simple non-lace up Dress shoes with or without Tassels.
#3. You can wear Sandals [Nice Leather Sandals] with your native wears, this especially fits Agbada, Dashiki, and Kaftans.
#1. You SHOULD wear your native wears with leather wrist watches (preferably) or nice gold or silver wrist watch. Never with a Sports wrist watch.
#2. You SHOULD wear your native wear with bracelets.
Fill up your wrists with different types and colors to match your outfit. Just make sure the wrist bracelet complements with the color of your native wear. Some example is metal bracelets, nautical trend bracelets, Beaded Bracelets, Leather & Woven Bracelets. This is a trend very popular among the modern stylish gentlemen these days.
#3. You CAN wear your native wear with nice and simple beaded necklace or normal chain necklace.
Avoid the very bold ones though as much as you can especially for the serious event.
BONUS PICTURES OF FEMALE ON NATIVE WEAR
I hope I have been able to share some of my knowledge on native wears with you, what not to wear and what’s appropriate to wear.
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Until next time, Continue to Do Well. Live Well and Dress Really Well! Be Classy!
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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