Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Traditional Ghanaian Dress - Men and Women

Traditional Ghanaian Dress
Traditionally most of their clothes are hand-dyed, hand-woven and hand-sewn by professional seamstresses. As a result, many people wear clothing that is custom-made to fit their unique shape. But now, almost all cloth are imported and digitally printed. Many outfits include expert embroidery and beading. Despite an abundance of Western influence, pride in traditional Ghanaian dressing strongly prevails among most citizens, young and old. Even tourists are expected to embrace Ghanaian fashions when visiting the country.

Women's Fashion:
Women in Ghana are more prone to dressing in the more traditional styles of dress, which is both fashionable and practical. There are about three types of traditional styles for women: a long dress, skirt and top set, and wrap. All pieces are tailored by professional seamstresses using brightly colored, hand-dyed fabrics often in ethnic prints.
The long dress - usually worn during more formal occasions including parties and celebrations.
The skirt and top set - a more casual outfit that is worn during the daytime on trips to the market and around the house.
The wrap - worn to cover up after swimming or showering.

There are many variations of the traditional long dress. Styles include strapless, halter and short-sleeved. Skirts tend to be fitted tightly about the waist although a more flared shape is also worn. Women often wear headbands made of twisted fabric, and accessorize their outfits with sashes tied around the waist. Flat sandals are the most popular type of footwear, while heels are worn during nights on the town.

Men are known to most often wear tunics, short or long-sleeved, with loose drawstring pants. In northern Ghana, men wear striped
smocks that are hand-woven with symbolic designs, and sometimes in the colors of the Ghanaian flag: red, yellow and green. Men often dress in more Western styles of clothing such as jeans and t-shirts. Businessmen tend to wear suits to work,
and formal occasions often call for a tuxedo. Ghanaian males embrace Western fashion more so than the females.
A mix of Western and Ghanaian fashions is also seen among the men as they are seen pairing jeans with the traditional smock and tunic. Footwear alternates between sandals, dress shoes and sneakers.

National Dress: North and South
Dressing in Ghana traditionally reflects the geo-political division of the country into north and south.
Kente is the most popular cloth for festive occasions, commonly worn by men from the south. Ghana's kente cloth has spread in popularity around the world. The kente identifies where a person is from, and sometimes, their station in life.
The smock (a plaid shirt) which is becoming a gown for all occasions are common among men from the north.
The first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah used both the smock and the kente cloth widely to portray Ghana's culture in the area of clothing. The kente cloth and the smock can be purchased at any commercial market in the urban areas where they are sold by numerous merchants.

Clothing in Northern Ghana is both functional and stylish. Much emphasis is spent on taking car e of one's clothes and appearance. Also, they have natural pigments to dye their cloth with.
Generally red and black are used for funerals, white and blue are for weddings, and other colors are included in their fashion.

1 comment:

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