People are uniquely identified by their culture; food, clothing, language, music, and other cultural activities. Without any doubt, South Africa has a rich cultural heritage and the Shweshwe attire is one of those. Shweshwe is a traditionally dyed cotton fabric widely used in South Africa.
The Shweshwe fabric found its way into the South African community in the 1840s when the French missionaries gifted King Moshoesho, the King of Lesotho, the fabric. Therefore, Shweshwe is an intrinsic part of Basotho culture. Traditionally, Shweshwe dresses are worn by Makotis and Sotho married women – even though it is widely used by other tribes like Xhosa and Zulu.
Today, Basotho ladies use Shweshwe fabric to sew beautiful attires for their traditional weddings and other events. Using Shweshwe fabric to sew modern styles looks stunning, and in this post, we have listed 20 Shweshwe dresses for makotis with pictures.
Modern and Trendy Shweshwe Dresses For Makoti
It is the dream of every makoti to look beautiful at her traditional wedding. Every piece of clothing a makoti wear is symbolic. Shweshwe fabric makes it easy to keep the symbolic significance of each piece of clothing while looking amazing and attracting all the attention.
The Iduku (head tie), uxakatha (towel), and idaki (dress the bride receives from her in-laws); all uniquely identify the bride.
For the bride, Iduku shows that she is married. It is also a source of confidence and attracts respect to her. Iduku goes well with Shweshwe dresses for Makorti alongside other accessories.
Though Shweshwe fabrics are agelong, you can sew your fabrics to suit today’s fashion trends. As a bride, you need to appear elegant while upholding your chiral heritage. Here are classy and trendy styles you can make out of your fabrics:
1. One-Sided Armless Flay Gown
Flay gowns are comfy clothes. They suit anyone; plus-sized and slim ladies. This outfit is classy and speaks elegance. It is a cool way of rocking your Shweshwe fabric without looking archaic.
One-sided armless flay gowns are easy-to-wear dresses. You can rock your gown with heels or open-toe sandals and that’s without forgetting your head tie of confidence and honor – the Iduku.
A beautiful chain necklace and a stud earring would complete your outfit. You can rock it on your wedding day or for a photo shoot with your husband. However, if you are not a fan of armless dresses your tailor can sew the gown to your taste. This outfit is perfect for both slim and chubby ladies. For slim ladies, it makes you look fuller and for chubby ladies, it may hide that extra fat you want to conceal.
2. 3-Step Mermaid Gown
You can never go wrong with mermaid gowns. They are sewn to fit and are not particular for any body shape. They fit perfectly and bring out your shape. This style is a beautiful way to combine your Shweshwe fabric with a poly material. With the peplum starting from the kneel, it gives you room to walk freely and confidently. You will have no issue with an open arm as the gown is long-sleeved.
You can rock your gown to any official event with your husband like a wedding or anniversary. Your gown would go with a matching stud earring and a beautiful bracelet. You might not need a head tie or necklace but heels would be perfect for your outfit.
3. Six Pieces Off-Shoulder Gown
This is another beautiful Shweshwe dress for makotis. Six pieces is an all-time dress but off-shoulder six pieces is a real deal. This dress beautifully shows off your shape and makes you look ladylike. The most interesting part is that no matter your size and shape, the six pieces off-shoulder gown fit all sizes and shapes.
In case you are not a lover of off-shoulder dresses you can sew yours with the shoulder. This dress is an attire for all events. It’s classy and you can rock it at any wedding ceremony, to visit in-laws or attend any traditional occasion.
You will surely need a head tie and a matching purse to compliment your outfit. Heels and wedge sandals are perfect and dropping earrings alongside a bracelet are great too. Step out and wow everyone with your elegance.
4. Off-Shoulder Flay Gown
New brides are meant to be dressed in a graceful and stylish manner. The Off-Shoulder Flay Gown is an outfit that brings out this elegance. You can rock it to go for a photograph with your husband. It gives you that stunning look with the flay flowing down your toes and your beautiful shoulders exposed.
Your off-shoulder flay gown would go well with open-toed heels or flat wedding shoes with blings – dangle earrings are on point. You might not need a necklace, as your beautiful neckline would do the job but you can’t do without your head tie; it completes your outfit. Do not forget to grace your appearance with light makeup and a nice purse.
5. Short Flay Gown With Cape
We know you love to take a walk, go shop in a local market or visit a friend alongside your hubby. It’s cool that you want to rock your Shweshwe and still look casual. A short flay caped gown is the style to try.
Caped short gowns are a beauty to behold, and the flayed ones are even more beautiful. It gives you that freedom and comfort you desire. You also are at liberty to wear it with fancy flat slippers or sandals if you do not want to go on heels. Also, with a stud earring alongside your head tie, you are good to go.
6. Sleeveless Short Straight Gown With Pleats
This outfit is perfect for a date with hubby after the wedding. The pleats give you that touch of elegance you need on your simple gown. You can make your pleats with dull face satin material. This dress fits all body sizes and if you have beautiful legs, this outfit is a real deal for you.
You would need to show off your nice hairdo, so do not bother about the head tie. But you can do better without some makeup and hoop earrings. A stiletto or ankle strap heel is the perfect footwear for this dress. Do not forget your purse and a smile, they compliment your dress. In case you do not wear sleeveless, your seamstress can sew it with sleeves.
7. One-Sided Armless Peplum Blouse
Peplum blouses are a great way to wear matching Shweshwe outfits with your man. It gives you the liberty to wear anything underneath; it could be trousers, long or short skirts. This outfit should not be missing from your wardrobe.
This blouse would go well with wedge heels and a dangle earring. You might consider a little makeup on your smiley face.
8. Off-Shoulder Gathers Gown
This is another way to style your Shweshwe fabric. Gathers gowns might require much material but you can substitute the Shweshwe fabric in the gathers with net or dull face satin. Off-shoulder gathers gown can fit any body size and shape but it is excellent for chubby and plus-sized ladies. However, if you are pregnant, this is the style for you.
This outfit can be worn with an ankle strap heel, wedge heel, stiletto, or fancy flat sandals. You would need a stud earring with a matching necklace. Your head tie would crown your outfit alongside light make-up.
9. Off-Shoulder Crop Top With Palazzo
This is another great way to style your Shweshwe fabric. This outfit is simple and easy to wear. It does not require so many accessories, a flat sandals or heels with a stud earring would be just okay.
This dress is great for Saturday evening hangouts with friends. You can also wear it to work or to go watch a movie. You can also choose to wear a choker.
10. Armless Kissing Pleat Peplum Gown
One unique way to identify newly wedded brides is their fashion sense. This gown is a trendy style for makotis. It is great for slim and chubby ladies but not a great idea for plus-sized ladies. You can combine your Shweshwe fabric with net or organza material to make yours outstanding.
Your gown can go with a stiletto or open-toe heels. A beautiful choker and huggie earring would do. You can wear your armless kissing pleat peplum gown to a dinner date or an anniversary. It is also a great outfit for your wedding reception.
11. Shweshwe Wedding Gown
Looking uniquely beautiful is every bride’s desire on her big day. You can sew your Shweshwe fabric into a white wedding dress. You would need to combine it with a net and dull face satin to get your desired wedding dress.
This outfit is perfect for your white wedding, especially if you are someone who loves to uphold culture while looking modern. This ball gown is perfect for all body shapes and sizes. If you are not comfortable with showing so much skin, you can ask your seamstress to alter the style to fit your taste.
12. Sleeveless Kissing Pleat Gown
Another way to stylishly rock this fabric is by making a sleeveless kissing pleat gown. This outfit is quite simple to sew and wear. It is ideal for any casual outing like an evening stroll with your lover.
This gown goes well with flat shoes and sandals. A necklace might not be necessary but you would need a stud earring. Do not forget light makeup too. However, if you are not someone who wants to look simple you may not like this outfit but it’s always a good idea to have a simple dress made with Shweshwe in your wardrobe.
Traditional Shweshwe Dresses For Makoti
As a bride, you can style your Shweshwe to showcase the rich cultural heritage of your people. Here are ways to traditionally rock your Shweshwe fabric.
13. Flay Gown with Tartan Blanket
You can rock your flay gown with a matching tartan along with your husband. The tartan blanket spread over your shoulder is a sign of your nurturing nature and your husband’s protection.
This outfit can be worn with your Iduku and matching heels. A dangle earring and a nice purse would add to your elegance. You can wear this dress to any traditional social function with your hubby.
Shweshwe Skirts For Makoti
Shweshwe fabric is great for sewing skirts. Here are some Shweshwe skirt ideas for Makotis.
14. Mini-Skirt With Front Slit
As a bride, your honeymoon is meant to be exciting and one spicy ingredient in this period is your choice of outfits. And you can never go wrong with a mini skirt with a front slit. This skirt is perfect with chiffon crop tops or a matching Shweshwe crop top. You can wear beautiful sneakers and a circular barbell earring. A thigh-high boot wouldn’t be a bad idea as well.
15. Long Gathers Skirt With Front Slit
This is another way to style your favorite fabric into a skirt. This skirt is perfect for you no matter your body size and shape and the front slit makes it adorable. However, the length of your slit is dependent on you.
This skirt goes well with crop tops and wrap-around blouses. You can wear it to the beach with a beach hat, fancy flat slippers, a drop earring, and a sunshade.
16. Short Flay Skirt
This skirt fits every body size but particularly for ladies with a massive backside. This skirt goes well with a body hug blouse or a wrap-around blouse.
Peep toe, t-strap, and high heels are great for short flat skirts. A head tie is a great compliment to your outfit. You can rock this skirt to your workplace or to a religious gathering.
17. Flayed Straight Skirt
Flayed straight skirts are ideal for the working class makotis. With a packing shirt, chiffon, or organza blouse, you are set to rock your skirt. You can also wear this to an office dinner party.
T-strap and wedge heels are perfect for this skirt. It’s easy to wear and fits different body sizes and shapes. However, the skirt is best for slim ladies.
18. Straight Skirt
This is another skirt for the newly married maiden. This skirt is sewn to fit. It is perfect to wear on a workday. It goes well with a packing shirt, crop top, wrap round blouse, and a chiffon or organza peplum blouse.
Though the length of the skirt solely depends on you, you also have a wide range of shoe choices to rock it. Flat shoes, stilettos, platforms, pumps, and kitten heels are cute on straight skirts.
19. Short A-Cut Skirt
Short A-cut skirts are ideal for casual events. It is a perfect outfit to match your husband. This skirt is simple and perfect for all body sizes. With a beautiful polo shirt and sneakers, you can rock your skirt. This outfit is also perfect for an evening walk with hubby.
20. Kissing Pleat Skirt
This is another Shweshwe-inspired skirt for makotis. This skirt is an ideal office wear that goes well with a packing shirt. A wrap-around blouse or body hug shirt also fits this skirt. You can use a head tie to compliment your outfit. With your nice stiletto and light makeup, you are good to go.