Kenya doesn't really have a national dress that characterizes traditions, ethnic tastes, culture and rituals of the whole country. Mostly that's because of more than 70 ethnic communities (Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba, Kalenjin, Masai etc.) who live in Kenya. They all have some unique traditions in clothing. Though some clothes and fabrics can be called traditional for Kenya. Let's have a look.
Here are some typically Kenyan pieces of clothing.
Among traditional Kenyan pieces of clothing is "kitenge". It is a cotton fabric heavily embroidered and colored by the method called tie-and-dye (when the fabric is clothed into a tight bundle, and then dyed with various colors). Kitenge is very colorful and bright, so it is popular not only in Kenya but in many other African countries. This dress is not considered to be an official Kenyan clothing, but it is widely popular in this country. People often wear kitenge in ordinary life, for ceremonies and non-official events.
Women from the Mara region in traditional clothing. Photo from Yourtravelchoice.org
Another part of Kenyan national dress is "khanga". It is a piece of cloth about 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) by 1 meter (3 ft 3 in). Its pattern consists of different sayings printed on the fabric. These sayings are in Swahili or English. Women in Kenya wear khanga around the torso and waist.
One of the most well-known in Kenya and around the world tribes called Masai people has its traditional clothing. This dress is also considered to be the national attire of Kenya. The Masaiare dress consists of usually red kanga and a lot of bright decorations: necklaces, bracelets, and bead headdresses. Masai men wear a red-checked Shuka (it is a classic Masai blanket) and carry a distinctive ball-ended club.
Masai people, Kenya. Typical Masai men's clothing. Photo from Tumblr.com
When to talk about traditional footwear in Kenya we should name the sandals made of natural materials. They're smooth and convenient. Sometimes pieces of motorcycle tires are used as a sole.
Kenyan people wear very short haircuts; they often shave their heads – same men and women. And very often men dye their hair with red ochre. Drawings on a face are very popular, Kenyans do that for ceremonies and other important events.
People from Nilotic tribes in Kenyan national attire. Photo from Paxgaea.com
In general, the traditional dress of Kenya has lots of variants, because almost every tribe has their own idea how the national attire should look. Still, Kenyan national clothing is very bright, colored and heavily decorated.
Traditional dress of Kenya. One of the variants. Photo from Tumblr.com