The Xhosa people of South Africa have a rich culture, distinguished by traditional attires for body coverage and adornment. Their dressing is part of their lifestyle and has existed for generations. Like every other popular print in Africa such as the Ankara and kitenge, Xhosa attires have an extraordinary history dating back to pre-colonial times. The outfits are further enhanced by the beautiful beads that adorn them, which are usually small and round in shape. These beads are made with bone seed, metal, glass, wood, nutshell, and the likes. Below are some of the most captivating Xhosa traditional attires for the ladies.
Some Modern Xhosa Traditional Attires and Dresses Ladies Can Choose From
In 2017, Xhosa old-fashioned dresses had a decent outburst in the market, and in 2018, it was followed by more superior designs. It was practically impossible for anybody searching for Xhosa conventional wear not to come across beautiful and modern styles and colors.
The Xhosa clothing list below will reveal insights into which dress to go for or give you an idea on what to plan the following time you visit your tailor for a modified dress.
1. Fish-Cut Skirt
This upper leg length skirt is essentially made with a white piece of clothing that has
been improved with uniformed black stripes at the lower part of the skirt. The middle part of the skirt is a white fabric that is joined to the flare at the ending part. It mostly looks cute and simple on younger ladies. This skirt pattern is easy to make and does not take so much fabric.
2. Xhosa-Inspired Two-Piece Cloth
This one-side-off-shoulder design is all shades of elegance. It can be fashioned to your desired style and you can equally make some adjustments to achieve your dream pattern. As shown, the upper piece of this attire runs fully from one shoulder (the other side is off-shoulder) to the waist, where the second piece hangs as well. The trousers have a flare from the knee to somewhere close to the ankle, a twist that simply looks adorable.
3. Umbhaco Skirt
The Umbhaco skirt is also one of Xhosa’s customary wears that is common among Xhosa ladies. The Umbhaco skirt is produced using exquisite African material weaved with beadwork to make it more delightful. Xhosa people are known for wearing a white or red covering. However, they can change the color of their fabric to any shade of their choice, including ruddy earthy color using ocher.
Once the fabric has been dyed, the material is changed into a skirt by cutting
it into three pieces and sewing them together. When the skirt has been made, the ladies add dots onto the planned patterns just to accomplish a total look that isn’t just lovely but socially right.
4. High Waist Skirt
The high waist skirt is a normal Xhosa classical skirt. This outfit has a cone shape portrayed by a more modest waist and a continuous outward lump as the skirt moves toward the lower leg. At the waist, there are lashes that a lady integrates by interlacing them to stand firm on the skirt so as to have it in place.
To break the dull earthy colored shade of the skirt, blue stripes are painstakingly sewn around the skirt and on the third stripe, white dots are purposely joined to make it really engaging.
5. Orange Strapless Wrap-Round Cloth
This skirt is made by folding an orange cover over the lower part of a lady’s body. The idea is straightforward with extraordinary outcomes. The skirt has dark line designs going around the lower portion of the skirt to improve its allure, and the lady wears a belt of delightfully designed dots around her abdomen that make the skirt significantly lovely.
6. Xhosa-Inspired Above The Ankle Black And White Skirt
The above the ankle black and white skirt is an old-fashioned skirt with a cutting-edge
wind. This is an ordinary Xhosa conventional piece of clothing. The skirt has dark line designs that go around the skirt to make it more alluring at the lower part. What makes it more fascinating are the dark stripes that come in smooth shape and various thicknesses. They simply bring out so much beauty to appeal to the eyes.
7. Layered Blue Fabric With Red Cover
This trendy conventional attire literally screams ‘Xhosa’. Starting from the head wrap down to the knee. During ceremonies, ladies who wear this attire have an incredible look – thanks to its superb designs. The simple nature of this particular outfit makes it more enticing. Just like other Xhosa dressing styles, the outfit is worn with different designs of beads.
Ladies do wear the globules on their necks and spread a native fabric across their shoulders. To crown everything, she complements her attire with traditional fashion items that befit women of her class, looking good in her excellent blue fabric with multi-color line designs at the base.
8. Xhosa-Inspired Blue Dress
With the way fabrics are stylishly transformed by fashion designers, discovering motivation for the ideal dress has become an issue every originator needs to survive. This beautiful blue dress draws a great deal of motivation from the regular Xhosa old-fashioned white dress.
The dress has a top that hangs at the tummy with a skirt that runs from the waist to somewhat beneath the knee. At the base, there is a small pleated fabric with white, black color, which adds more beauty to it. Others come in different designs, including off-shoulder with pockets and maxi patterns.
9. Yellow Maxi Dress With A Head Wrap
This particular attire is all shades of beauty. If you are a lover of yellow, then you need to try it out. Most ladies love yellow outfits. Some of them can even go the extra mile in creating a stunning and incredible style with beautiful yellow fabrics. Apart from the gown, it can also be worn as a skirt and other trendy styles. This attire usually goes together with a head wrap that covers the head properly.
An Idaki is a dress given to a newly married woman in Xhosa by her husband’s relatives. Once married, the makoti (bride) wears the idaki alongside a blanket or shawl around the shoulders, her iduku, and then an uxakatha (towel or thick scarf) around her waist.
The bride may have to wear the Makoti attire for three months to one year. Some of them also wear it until they have a child. It is also a sign of respect in some families as a married woman may never wear trousers again.
11. Off-Shoulder Dress
A typical off-shoulder dress does not cover the shoulders. This attire can be worn for both formal and casual events. The black lines that run through the fabric both around the hands and legs look beautiful and even project the Xhosa color.
12. Pink Maxi Dress with Material Gorget
This sleeveless pink maxi dress can be worn with or without a gorget, depending on the time and period of the year. The designer made it in such a way that it swells from the
midsection to somewhere below the waist. At the base, the dress is also designed with blue lines of different degrees of thickness around it.
13. Sleeveless Bareback Attire
This sleeveless dress has an opening at the back, however, it is sufficiently long to cover a
significant part of the lower body, just leaving some part of the feet uncovered. This dress is suitable for ladies who want some portion of their body, the back to be precise, to be open.
Classy Xhosa Traditional Wedding Dresses
If you don’t attend Xhosa traditional weddings, you do miss a lot. One of the things that make the day outstanding is the beautiful wedding dresses worn by the bride. They are always not only colourful but also adorable and stunning. Here are some of them.
14. White Dress With A Red Tartan Blanket
The white dress with a red tartan blanket is a basic marriage dress with lovely shading
coordination. The knee-length, long-sleeved dress freely embraces ladies from start to
finish, hiding all aspects of her body and also frightening admirers from seeking after her.
The dress is worn with a red plaid cover that serves a conventional significance. The plaid is usually folded over the ladies’ shoulder. Unlike other dressing patterns, this time ladies wear a red beret rather than the regular head wrap as an indication of respect for the elderly folks. The beadwork in this outfit is concentrated around the lady’s neck as it is worn as a real frill instead of the standard weaving of globules on the texture.
15. White And Black Mermaid Dress
This strapless mermaid dress looks absolutely stunning and adorable. The dress freely embraces the body without uncovering a lot and maintaining a good African dress code. The dress veers obviously from the knee to the lower leg. It is usually worn with a neck bead, Ithumbu, which is made out of highly contrasting cotton that covers the whole neck area. From the knee area down to the ankle has a mermaid shape that is made out of white and black lines, making the dress more alluring.
16. Highly Contrasting Maxi Dress (Sleeveless)
The sleeveless black and white maxi dress is produced using a high contrast conventional texture. It reaches out to the lower leg, covering all aspects of the lady’s body. The sleeveless top piece of the dress has a part on the cleavage to expose a portion of the lady’s skin. She likewise has a clogged pore wrap with white streaks to finish the basic yet complex look.
17. White, Black And Yellow Dress
This is for couples who love more than one color. Though not many people go for this pattern of dressing, those who do often look great. The famous white and black pattern is usually joined to a different color of fabric that has a similar pattern or anyone close to it. The third layer is the black and white pattern of various stripe widths.
Matching Xhosa Traditional Attire For Couples
There is so much beauty that lies in couples wearing matching attires on their big day. This practice is done virtually everywhere, including in Xhosa land. Below are some pictures of couples rocking their Xhosa traditional attire together, looking great and incredible.
18. Xhosa Customary Dress
The Umakoti, the lady of the hour, in Xhosa, like other African and western cultures, is generally the focal point of appeal during a wedding ceremony. What she looks like is of specific significance to the days’ procedures since she needs to meet customary imagery and look perfectly great to outdo each and every other lady during the ceremony.
This Xhosa customary dress is a lower leg length skirt or dress worn by ladies to connote her entry into marriage and stop prospective admirers from making advances at her. This delightful clothing is produced using printed textile enhanced with basic yet lovely dot work. The lady combines the dress with a plaid cover spread around the shoulder, which represents the defensive and distinctive attributes that a lady adds to a family.
Likewise, she additionally ties a woolen scarf around her waist and wraps her head with a dark doek to finish the look. The scarf is used to disguise her figure just as it covers her ripeness, while the doek is an indication of respect for the elderly folks. Another
lady of the hour can’t converse with the elderly folks with an exposed head.
19. Long Gown With A Plaid
Everything about this dress makes it stand apart from every other cloth on our list. Its fastened upper part has been inventively intended to go about as a plaid cover that customarily covers the shoulder and the chest. The black and white color of the dress and the dark stripes that run through it make it a beautiful piece to wear.
20. Black Multi-patterned Attire
Last but definitely not least on our list is this beautiful black Xhosa outfit with several patterns that naturally appeal to the eyes. You can still achieve this design with any color of the fabric of your choice.
The Significance Of Xhosa Outfits
The Xhosa dress code, though complex, features beautiful beadwork and printed fabrics. For the women, their clothing and accessories signify the different stages of life while their attire is hugely informed by a person’s social standing.
Xhosa clothing, like other African prints, has witnessed tremendous advancements in styles, designs, and whatnot. Nonetheless, a couple of things about the Xhosa tribe still remain unchanged like the Xhosa old-fashioned/traditional wedding garments.
The people are known for applying red ocher to their clothes and bodies and inventing most conventional techniques, designs, and patterns in beadwork.
The main items of Xhosa clothing include
- Long skirts
- Aprons in beautiful printed or embroidered fabrics
- Elaborate beaded necklaces called ithumbu
- Beaded bracelets and anklets
- The iqhiya or headscarf, which is traditionally worn by married women
- Embroidered capes or blankets are worn around the shoulders
- Animal skin for the men