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

The Gele is a staple Nigerian fashion accessory; any traditional out fit is not complete without a gele. This head wrap is an important part of a traditional outfit with shoe and bag to match. Gele is a female Head wrap usually worn to occasions such as weddings, church any social event. It was mainly worn by the Yoruba women but it’s now accepted nationally as a traditional garment by all the tribes. The gele has been a cultural fashion, which has been in existence for years and has since been passed down from generation to generation with revamp in styles and designs. For every woman this is an important part of her traditional outfit that adds colour, gives a gorgeous look and commands attention. An average Nigerian woman has at least a piece of gele in her wardrobe.

All over the world, wearing any type of head gear/piece makes the woman stand out, but the uniqueness of the Nigerian gele is fascinating to the eyes, a thing of pride to the wearer and now a source of income to the sculptor. This traditional headgear accessory is identified by the unique styles it creates which expresses creativity. The gele is not easy to tie because it is a large piece of stiff but flexible material used to make this unique head wrap. The Aso oke and Damask are the materials used to make the gele; they come in a variety of colours, patterns and texture. The bigger the material, the bigger the gele and the more elaborate the look. There is a huge market for expert gele tying because of the tedious nature of wrapping the gele, it is better to be moulded by an expert in the field. It takes a lot of strength and expertise to get a perfectly tied gele. To avoid the stress, some women go to the extent of pre-tying their gele ahead of their occasion, so on the day of the function they just place the pre-tied gele on their head and use pins to hold it firmly in place...........lol.

There are different Gele styles; “National theatre”, “overheard bridge”, “police cap”, “Satellite dish”.....are some of the styles. More recently the most common style is the “Back to Front”. Gele does not only add beauty to an outfit, it helps to cover up an untidy hair and also protects the head from sunrays. These days the head gear is worn on practically anything. It used to be worn on traditional out fits made of lace, Ankara and Aso oke, nowadays it is worn on shorts, dinner gowns, pant trouser, skirts and dresses. This shows the versatility of the Gele. For those women that do not know how to tie gele; you can pay an expert or practice tying it on a friends head or get someone to pre- tie so that you can put  it on your head (like a cap/wig) on the day it is needed.

The gele is a show-stopper and head-turner at any occasion, So ladies wear a gele, go out and get noticed!

In : Fashion, Tradition & Culture 

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