Posted by Amanda Ibironke on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Under: Fashion, Tradition & Culture

The Bubu and caftan have evolved into a stylish frock, but because of their wide popularity, most people have forgotten that it originated from Western Africa. Yes they did! Google it (lol)  Some West African men layer their caftans over matching trousers and a Cap which create an illusion of a large frame indicating power and leadership. The Traditional Bubu/Caftan is made with Adire, Guinea or Tie-dye and decorated with simple embroidery design. Originally, caftans are worn by the men while women wore Bubu, but somehow somewhere women realised that borrowing fashion trends from men was cool so they began incorporating the Caftan instead of Bubu. The Bubu is long, straight, free flowing (shapeless) dress with wide sleeves; its mostly short sleeve and usually worn with a matching Gele. It has formal and informal versions and varies from simple draped clothing to fully tailored ensemble.

The traditional caftans/bubus were conservative, over sized, plain and had simple colours. Now, women are adopting the caftan style which is made to be more fitted, stylish and colourful and have different variations in styles. The great thing about this dress style is its versatility because they are comfortable, attractive and decent; it can be worn anywhere and in any season (summer or winter) all year long. The modern day caftan is tailor made to fit the body shape of the wearer with slimmer hands and shapely bodice to look more attractive. Although they were initially made with only Adire/guinea, nowadays different materials are now been used to make it. Materials like Ankara, Lace, Linen, Brocade, Chiffon, Silk and even Lycra (stretchy material). They can be worn as a casual, formal or business wear, depending on the style of the cut and the material.

For the Nigerian man and woman, embroidered caftans are becoming a wardrobe staple, making a statement as an African while staying casual and stylish at the same time. The casual look is more eye-catching when it is worn with a nice pair of jean or a complementing pair of trousers. This awesome African casual particularly gives you an embellished look that makes you the centre of attraction at all times, and sets you apart in the crowd. Many caftan dresses are available in one size that fits all that’s if you are getting yours already made but if you are making yours then make it your perfect size. Wherever you wear it, the caftan gets the vote for comfort, elegance and versatility.

How you can wear it during winter? It’s a great full body cover up for the cold season and can be worn out to any occasion. Warm long-sleeved clothing and leggings can be worn underneath the caftan/bubu during winter. You can rock it with a nice pair of high or low sandals (I personally prefer to wear caftans with flat sandals), a clutch purse with colours from the embellishment and Gele (optional), If your caftan is the loose type, you can wear a belt to bring a little shape to you look. The classic cover – up is a head turner and has become a wardrobe staple for everyone. Whichever style of caftan dress you wear now, you can be certain that it would be far different from the original design of the traditional caftans. These modern caftans surely are made to suit the tastes and fashion sense of the modern woman. Enjoy!

In : Fashion, Tradition & Culture 

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