Nigerian clothing

One of the many things I’m looking forward to coming back to Canada with is Nigerian (some call it “traditional”) clothing. I do own a few pieces of Nigerian clothing, but I have refused to wear them out because they are ill fitting and worse, they make me look larger than I am. Large women like myself do not look good in shapeless, mumu-like garments and I have therefore refused to wear the few such garments that have been sent to me. I don’t intend to let them sit unused forever though: I have grand plans to use my sewing machine and alter them a bit…one day.

Call me ungrateful but if you saw me in one of them you would agree. Of that I have no doubt. I was tempted to put one on and snap a picture but I don’t feel like being depressed today :)

So, my goal is to have some things made that are not mumus, and are not iro and buba, as I find those just emphasize my matronly figure. Instead, I’d like some skirts and blouses, with the top being form fitting without being too tight. I would also like to get a dress or two made, and perhaps even a shirt or two or a blazer that I can wear with denim, and mix and match with my regular clothing.

What a shame that having a tailor or seamstress here would be sooo costly! I mean what could possibly be better than buying clothing that is made specifically for you and your body?

So, because of that, I have been looking around for gorgeous styles of Nigerian clothing, for inspiration’s sake. Many of the models I’ve seen wearing these cute things have a very different body shape from mine (read: they look like models and not like a woman who has had five children, and in fact may be heavily pregnant with her sixth), so I share the following styles that have caught my eye, knowing there would have to be modifications made to suit me.

Peridot and Ruby have some amazing styles—check them out! The styles that caught my eye from their Spring 07 collection are below. All the dresses have sleeves, which my arms greatly appreciate.

And from their Fall 08, the following lovely things grabbed my attention. I like the idea of wearing a hot skirt with a plainer top—a tshirt or something else.

So gorgeous! You should definitely check out their site for more beautiful offerings (and they have a lot—check the “Look Book” section too).

Are there other sites that you go to when seeking inspiration for your Nigerian clothing?

(with the exception of the first image, all images are courtesy of Peridot and Ruby.)

28 thoughts on “Nigerian clothing

  1. I say, take dresses and outfits you already have and like and then give it to the tailor in naija to copy it. Thats cheaper because these 'designer" would charge you and arm and a leg in Nigeria. THey have lovely designs but they come up with those designs and sew for you..but their prices are killer as they would tell you they are not 'tailors" they went to london fashion school . There are some good tailors that are cheap, only thing is they don't have a clue to creativity.their job is to copy and produce.

  2. This babe, you're too funny!! I almost choked on my own spit coz I was laughing so hard when I imagined what you said about looking like a woman who has had five kids and heavily pregnant with the 6th. LOL. Hahahaha. You're crazy for real!!

    I hate those big outfits too. You will not pay me 2 wear them. And iro & buba? Please! I don't even think I will wear one on my wedding day – unless my mom convinces me otherwise. Don't care for them either.

    I'm so jealous. I feel like going to Naija with you. Maybe I'll come 2 Canada and steal one outfit from you.

  3. I love natives, I think that is why i go to a naija church so every week i can wear one.

    I dont think you should worry much about getting a design here, when you get to naija get yourself the latest copy of Ovation, Treasure Life &Style magazine and some others i cant think of at the moment. They all carry natives done in the latest fashionable styles.

    When my mom came back she brought me like 10magazines, and so much Ankara, I've been on a sewing frenzy.

  4. Those outfits are lovely. I need to get on that cos i haven't worn any natives since 2003. I am most definitely looking forward to going to naija ASAP. GNG, i know u'll find styles that'll look good on u, and pls stop talking crazy about looking like a pregnant woman.

  5. Those outfits are GORGEOUS… I'm just starring at unique designs and concepts…

    Meanwhile, I think you're prettier than you sound…so I'm not believing anything not good about you…:-)

  6. thanks for this site o…will check it out…

    I love trad wears..but like u not bubu or iro and buba, except for weddings

  7. I think it is a shame that it is so expensive to get things made here but I can't blame them. Imagine I bought five yards of material for less than $50 and they're asking me to bring $70 just for the sewing. maybe i am being cheap but I'm waiting until i go back to naija to have my dresses made.

    I think iro n buba doesn't necessarily av to be matronly. it depends on how u wear it. Make sure they dont make it too big for ur figure and assesories can set u apart from the mothers.

    I like the styles that they are doing these days with ankara but to be honest, there's nothing new there. These so called designers just do what has been done except this time, the material is ankara.

  8. I totally AGREE! I own a few Nigerian pieces but I won't wear them for the same reason. But these styles are fantastic, and I think I might give them a go. Have you ever heard of a brillisnt English Nigerian designer called Duro Olowu? He's won fashion awards and he's amazing. You can see the Nigerian inspiration in his colour palletes and the material he issues to create these beautiful dresses. Look him up under ELLE.COM's fashion designer section. You'll be impressed.

  9. The Peridot Ruby dresses reminds me of the Issac Mizrahi dress I have. VERY similar.

    Naija pieces are hard for me because once you wear an outfit, you cannot wear the same outfit to another function otherwise people would talk about you. I am looking forward to wearing matching outfits with the hubby though. That'll be cool.

  10. So I checked out the Peridot and Ruby site, and noticed thier signature pieces are the highwasted style. That is totally in season but there's not a lot of variety.

  11. Those Peridot & Ruby outfits are lovely! GNG, you are so right about the outfits that people "send" from home, out of style, shapeless etc! When I went to Lagos last year, I made sure I got myself some nicer ones. When you get to Lagos, you should ask family and friends to recommend a good tailor for you. Then choose the materials and styles yourself. It shouldn't be a problem to find flattering styles since every tailor has loads of mags with styles in their shop. Have fun!

  12. @Femi B

    I like that idea (from a cost effectiveness point of view even)! I'll have to pick some of my things that I think actually flatter my figure, lest I come back with even more clothing that I hate. I didn't even think of the price difference if the they're "designing" versus "copying" so thank you.


    Really? The girl in the picture with the dark background is your cousin? Oh, maybe she can hook us all up with discounts! ;)


    Well it did appear. I'm sorry o…I guess my blogging system is finicky.

    @Vera Ezimora

    I wish I was lying. In fact if I ever take a picture of my stomach and put it online, you'll know that is when I have officially given up on ever finding love.

    I'm happy that I'm not the only one who has ill-fitting ankara lying around. I seriously thought it was because they misjudged my size (and just remembered that I was big).


    Ah, I'll hook up with those magazines when I get home. Great idea…thanks. I plan to come back with a box full of ankara.


    I was partly joking na…


    Aren't they? :)


    Oya send me your measurements and I'll hook you up. :)


    No native since 2003? Isn't that when you stopped shaving your arms? Is there a correlation? ;)


    Thank you. I'm not ugly (after all I'm made in God's imagine right?) but there are "areas" that need to be worked on.


    They sure are lovely! I can't wait to show off what I get.


    Is bubu the one piece thing?


    YOu are not cheap jare! I think the problem with the Iro is that when you have a "stomach" (let's leave it at that), the wrapping you do at the waist just calls attention to it you know what I mean? I need styles that skim my body more, and have little or no extra material.

    lol you're so right…after all, fashion is very cyclical.


    I seriously thought I was the only one who was getting huge, shapeless pieces. Thank God I'm not o!

    I checked out the site and there are some really nice looking dresses there…given your love of fashion I can totally see you digging Olowu's collections. I hadn't heard of him before.


    So perhaps Ms. Iwalewa is right about the fact that it's done with ankara that's making the difference.

    Oh, say it ain't so about wearing the same thing twice! I wonder then what they think when I wear the same freakin' black dress to almost every event :(. It's not ankara or traditional sha, so maybe that makes it ok?


    They sure are! And you have one of those figures that could totally carry them off!

    @Favoured Girl

    Nice to see you! Again I'm glad you've experienced the same problems I have with clothing received from well meaning people (I'm not ungrateful, just well aware of what really looks awful on me!). Unfortunately we won't be spending any time in Lagos, so I'll have to trust the tailors in our city to help me create the looks I want (maybe it'll even be less expensive than in Lagos!).

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  14. i`m from morocco,i don`t know,but since i`ve seen the negerian movies channel,i felt in love with the negerian cloths.could any body tell me where can i find cheap negerian fabrics or cloths here in england.thank you.

  15. I have visited Nigeria seven times and have had many outfits made. This time I brought the fabric home and want to make something myself.


    • i love all the pictures there are very fine, when i am married me my wife will always put on native. keep on doing the good things …………………….you are the best !!!!!!!!

  17. all of u made good coment but i would say that nigerian clothing is a well best culture for nigeria that spread it money . annoynce it all over ireland excpessialy. let shine do that nigeria has it rightous trone

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