First Sunday back in Nigeria after the cruise and my cousin tells me it’s “Native Sunday” at her church that day. I was excited… and dismayed at the same time. What was I supposed to wear?!
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that I recently posted pictures of myself all dressed up in Yoruba traditional garments for the captain’s night on the cruise. I really do love getting dressed up in iro and buba – the Yoruba traditional wear (the buba is the top, the iro is the wrap skirt and the gele is the headtie). However, *confession time* I don’t actually own any Nigerian traditional wear! On special occasions when it’s required (including the Captain’s night on the cruise), I usually borrow the outfits from my mom and my sister.
I love the idea of Native Sunday; it’s just that, apart from the 4 Nigerian weddings I have attended in my life and the Captain’s night on the cruise, I haven’t really had the opportunity to wear traditional attire, which is a real shame because it is such an integral part of my Nigerian heritage. On formal occasions, it never occurred to me to wear traditional attire rather than something “western”. I guess there’s no sin in that, but at the same time, I remember at school and beyond when my Indian friends would proudly wear their traditional saris at formal events. There is so much fun in dressing up in Nigerian traditional wear (I feel like such a grown up woman getting my iro tied and having someone do my gele) and more importantly taking pride in the outfit that reminds me of my cultural background. Now, more than ever, I want to start building my own collection of native wear and stop borrowing from my mom and sister’s wardrobes.
On this occasion, my best offering from my own wardrobe was a blue ankara skirt I had made some years back paired with a denim shirt. Given my limited “native” wardrobe, I think I did ok, but I promise to come stronger in future.What’s your take on traditional attire? Do you wear yours a lot or not really? If you don’t live in your country of origin, would you consider wearing your traditional attire to a formal event where you live now?
Wearing: Shirt – ASOS; Skirt – tailormade; necklace – Oliver Bonas; Bag – Sophie Hulme