In Africa, the clothing traditions are very strong. Locals often use the folk clothes during the ceremonies and special occasions (for instance, weddings, rituals of entering womanhood or manhood, national festivities, etc.). Even when they wear a European-style clothing, Africans mix it with the traditional garments, accessories, and adornments. Such mixes are typical in Africa or for those Africans who live abroad. By the way, even living in foreign countries, Africans don’t hesitate to wear folk outfits in day-to-day life and for ceremonies.
When dressing up for an African ceremony, African clothing needs to be proper, fashionable, and fit for the celebration at hand. Even if dressing up for African ceremonies has changed as the years pass by, the greatest impact on this clothing trend began during the 20th century. This trend started as a result of traditional African clothes being traded with western locales. At first, it was the Europeans, along with the Arabs, that have influenced traditional African clothing. This influence from the Arabs can still be seen on the many African clothing designs even during present times.
Present-day Africans still wear traditional African clothes with a multitude of designs, embroideries, and robes. Some Africans also like to combine modern-day clothing with traditional African clothing. Now in dressing up for an African affair, African clothing designs turn into a more serious subject. Even in the 21st century, Africans still continue to adorn themselves with special African clothing designs for various rituals, special events, affairs, and ceremonies. For instance, let us take a look at traditional African clothes for engagement ceremonies, along with African rituals, when a girl will be entering womanhood. Women of Kanyama during these times wear showy clothing to let people know that they are the main subject of the ceremony.
In marriage ceremonies, African women wear more beads that are located on their collars along with brass earrings. These accessories should coincide with their African clothing patterns and with the wedding rings. However, African women residing in Western continents get married by wearing large and intricate head ties to pay respect to African tradition.
The Zulu people of South Africa have their own unique way of showing of traditional African clothes and different ceremonies. For example, Zulu boys will wear Western-style clothing that they have bought from the city, accompanied with a front apron made from goat skin that is tied with a beaded belt. The Zulu people of South Africa also will wear headdresses with the bishops feathers that adorn the headpiece. They frequently wear leopard skins as part of their day-to-day clothing. During ceremonies and special festivals, Zulu maidens wear a unique beaded dancing costume with elaborate African clothing patterns.
The royalties of Africa are no exception. For great formal and even everyday fashion, the African queen can almost always be seen donning a dress with a very flamboyant design and style. Though still considered traditional African clothing, it is used to show off the queen's full figure. The dress will most likely be tie-dyed with beautiful designs. Such African clothing patterns indicate a sense of fertility towards the queen of Africa.
When dressing up for an African ceremony, one should not disregard the use of accessories as part of their ensemble: beads, earrings, necklaces, and other accessories all play an important role in completing the clothing that will be worn by African men and women within various events and ceremonies. One should take importance in every piece of clothing they wear when dressing up for African events.