40 Classy Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attire for Modern Men and Women

The rich cultural heritage of the Xhosa people cuts across their food, art, beadwork, burial rites, food, music, and rite of passage. Despite the effect of civilization on cultural practices, it has not been able to diminish the cultural heritage of the Xhosa people, especially as it has to do with their traditional attires. Although most Xhosa people now try to make their traditional attires in a modern way – to stay up to date with modern fashion trends – the signature Xhosa beadwork and colors still speak loudly about Xhosa culture. The Umbhaco Xhosa can be styled in anything, and there is a variety of styles available online that may make choosing difficult. So, we have picked 40 classy Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire for men and women to narrow your options and help you choose the best styles.

Classy Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attires

After the Zulu kingdom, Xhosa is the second largest group in South Africa. Before the spread of modern civilization, as we have it today, the Xhosa people wore outfits that signified their gender, occupation, or position in the community. Men who were hunters would usually tie the ingcawa and wear beads around their necks, hands, and legs while women would tie wrappers and expose their breasts – this depends on whether or not they are married as married women covered themselves up.

With the evolution and radical up trends in fashion over the years, the above-described pattern of dressing is being relegated to the background, even though the core uniqueness of Umbhaco Xhosa is not. The younger generations have found (and are still finding) ways to blend the Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire with modern fashion trends in a way that makes it culturally unique and still contemporary. Here are 40 classy and modern Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire for men and women that you may like.

Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attire For Modern Women

1. Maxi Two-Step Umbhaco Gown, Hair Tie, and Bead

If you have an event to grace, and you want to show off the Xhosa cultural heritage, then an Umbhaco gown will be a great idea. Just like most traditional outfits, this type of gown is perfect for a lady of any body type. The fitting at the upper part of the gown reveals the lady’s body shape a bit.

Although this outfit is traditional, the fitting and style still have a touch of modern fashion in it. To give it that detailed finish, it is best to use a lot of beads on your neck. This outfit is best with heels when wearing it for an occasion.

2. Maxi Umbhaco Gown

This is another stunning Umbhaco Xhosa traditional outfit for ladies and it is perfect for all ladies, irrespective of their age and body size. The only consideration would be about the ability of the dressmaker to give the outfit the right fitting.

Using a bag made of Umbhaco prints and patterns to match will be a great idea as it will give the outfit a more traditional look. This Umbhaco traditional attire or outfit is great for events, and can even be worn by a makoti. You can rock it with low slippers, shoes, or even heels.

3. Pleated Gown

This xhosa-inspired pleated gown is great for chubby and plus-sized ladies. It has a way of concealing the part of her body that she may not be comfortable with revealing and it also reveals the shape of the upper part of her body. This gown is also comfortable to wear for a long day and does not require the lady to wear waist trainers to attenuate her shape. Just like in the image, this Umbhaco traditional outfit is better with heels.

4. Full-Length Maxi Dress

This full-length Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire is another outfit for the modern Xhosa woman that is elegant, beautiful, and very comfortable. It is also perfect for any lady. This outfit is also a good choice for a variety of events, it all just depends on the footwear you choose to rock it with. For a classy event, you may want to wear heels while for a simple visit to friends or for shopping, but rocking it with a nice pair of flat slippers will be great.

5. High Waist Skirt And Crop Top

This outfit is a perfect blend of modern fashion and the Xhosa tradition. Although it reveals the abdomen and upper body of the lady, it still conceals a good part of her body. This outfit is best for slim or chubby ladies, and it also depends on the fitting. To add more details to the look, you should use hand and neck beads. You can rock this outfit with sneakers or heels, depending on the look you want to create.

6. Above Ankle Mermaid Gown

This gown will look great on ladies of all shapes – slim, chubby, and curvy. However, if you do not have a flat tummy, you may need a waist trainer to attenuate your shape. To give this outfit the elegance it deserves, you also want to rock it with heels.

7. Mermaid Gown With Cape Like Collar

This gown is very similar to the aforementioned ankle mermaid gown, but it has its own unique look. The cape-like collar is one detail in the outfit that gives the gown a classy look.

The gown is directly below the knee and reveals more of the lady’s legs, so if you have got straight legs, this outfit will be a great choice. This outfit is best worn with heels and can be worn to the office, weddings, and other events. For office and events that would keep you out all day, wearing low shoes will be a good idea.

8. Apron Gown

This is a very flexible Umbhaco Xhosa traditional outfit. It is flexible because it can be worn to a number of occasions, like weddings, Sunday brunch, dates, worship services, and the list goes on. The shoe you use for this outfit will depend on the length you chose for your gown. If it is a short one, then sandal heels or white sneakers will be a good idea. However, if it is longer like in the picture, then, nice cover heels will be a better option.

9. High Waist Trouser, Crop Top, and Cape

If you are in need of a flexible outfit you can wear for almost every event, look cultural and modern at the same time, this is a perfect option.

For a classy event, you should wear this outfit with heels and ensure to wear the cape as well, because it adds more elegance to the attire. For a casual event or a day at work, you can also use heels, but you may not need the cape. Without the cape, you can also rock this outfit with sneakers.

10. Long Sleeves Mini Gown

If you are in need of an outfit that makes you sexy and cultural, then this Umbhaco mini gown will be a great idea. The opening on the upper part of the gown reveals the lady’s cleavage in a very sexy way. But if you are not comfortable with it, you can as well ask your dressmaker to find a way to close it up.

The mini gown also reveals the lady’s legs, so if you have got long sexy legs and don’t mind showing them off, this mini gown should be your go-to gown. If otherwise, your dressmaker can also make the gown longer. You can rock this outfit with sneakers, heels, or slippers – depending on the event you are wearing it to. It is best for slim people, but chubby ladies can also look good on it.

Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attire For The Modern Makoti

11. Maxi White And Black Gown

A makoti who wants her outfit to speak volumes of how rich and awesome the Xhosa cultural heritage is, wouldn’t be making the wrong choice by choosing this outfit. Thankfully, it is perfect for ladies of any body type.

To give this outfit the cultural elegance it deserves, you should also wear enough beads and other accessories on every part of your body that requires accessories. You can rock the outfit with high heels or white sneakers, depending on your preference.

12. Three-Step Armless Maxi Gown

This is a traditional Xhosa attire that meets current fashion trends. The length of the gown makes it look decent. It is an armless gown and the fact that it is armless makes it look sexy.

The three layers of the dress also make a bold fashion statement. As fashionable as this Umbhaco Xhosa makoti attire is, it may not be a great idea for ladies who are chubby and plus-sized, because it makes their body look fuller than the way it already is. You can rock this outfit with sandals, low shoes, or heels.

13. Off-Shoulder Flare Gown

Another amazing makoti attire is the off-shoulder flare gown, and thankfully, it does not select body type. However, you will need a good fashion designer who can give the dress the appropriate fitting.

Although wearing the neck bead is optional, it is something you do not want to overlook, because it feeds the eyes of those looking at the makoti’s shoulders, seeing that an off-shoulder dress attracts a lot of attention to the lady’s shoulders and chest. This outfit is best with sandal heels. A wife can also wear this attire for a family photoshoot and for gracing important occasions.

14. Armless Mermaid Gown

A Xhosa makoti who wants to attract all of the attention to herself on her big day should consider rocking this armless mermaid gown. With the right black Umbhaco fabric, you can get a shade that blends well with your skin tone.

This outfit is best for slim and curvy ladies because it accentuates their shape, however, chubby and plus-sized ladies can also wear this outfit, depending on the creativity of the dressmaker. This outfit is best with high heels.

15. Off-Shoulder Cape Fish Tail Gown

This Umbhaco Xhosa traditional outfit for a makoti is best for slim and curvy brides. It is also a modern traditional outfit. To give this outfit a better fitting, it is best to attenuate your shape with a waist trainer, especially if you do not have a flat tummy. This outfit is best with heels. Also, if you are not comfortable with the cape, you can request that the design be modified by your fashion designer.

16. Maxi Peplum Flare Gown

The maxi peplum flare gown is a multi-purpose dress. You can rock this outfit either as a makoti or as a wedding guest. If you intend to rock it as a wedding guest, you should be careful not to look more beautiful than the bride, because this outfit is stunning. It is best for slim ladies and may also look nice on chubby ladies.

However, ladies who are plus-sized may look too full on this dress as a result of the peplum that overlays the maxi flare part of the gown. This outfit is best rocked with flat sandal shoes or heels.

17. Peplum Blouse And Mermaid Skirt

A Xhosa bride can wear this outfit for her traditional wedding or as a wedding guest. Unlike a mermaid gown, this outfit is more comfortable because it does not require that you wear a waist trainer. Women of different body sizes can wear this Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire.

For slim ladies, it makes them fuller and for chubby ladies, it hides part of their body they may not want to reveal. However, ladies who do not have any curves whatsoever should preferably go for attires that give the lower part of her body a fuller look. This outfit is best worn with heels.

18. Three-Step High Waist Skirt And Black Top

Slim ladies who are not so curvy should consider makoti outfits like this one because it makes the lower part of their body look fuller than it naturally is. On the other hand, the outfit may not be the best for plus-sized ladies. You can rock this outfit with low sandal shoes and heels. To make the outfit more traditional, you do not leave out the accessories.

Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attire For Modern Men

It is not only the women that can look modern in Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attires. There are several modern styles available to the Xhosa modern man who wants to slay in his cultural attire and still be contemporary. So as not to leave you confused or spoilt for choice, you can pick from our already selected catalog of Unmbhaco traditional attires for the men.

19. White Umbhaco Top And Tartan Blanket

A Xhosa man can use this Umbhaco attire for his traditional wedding, a photoshoot, worship services, and a day at the office. You can also rock the outfit when going on a date with your partner. This Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire can be rocked with sneakers or formal shoes. If you want to wear this outfit for a formal event, then complementing it with corporate shoes will be best, but if you are turning up for a casual event, white sneakers will be the best.

20. Black Polo, White, and Black Wrapper and Beads

A Xhosa man can rock this Umbhaco attire for his traditional wedding, a photo shoot, and for South African Heritage Day. This is one Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire for men that speaks volumes about Xhosa’s rich cultural heritage. The bead patterns add a lot of details to this traditional look.

You can rock this outfit with white sneakers, however, during a photoshoot, you can go barefooted if you prefer that. Unlike most Xhosa traditional attires for men, you don’t want to wear this outfit regularly, especially for a day at work, because it may keep you conscious of your outfit all through the day, and that may reduce your productivity at work.

21. Xhosa-Inspired Suit

With the knowledge of the signature Xhosa black stripes on white, red, or blue clothing, you can convert your suit into a perfect Xhosa traditional attire, but of course, it would still have that touch of modern fashion. All you need to do in order to recreate this outfit is to wear Xhosa beads on your black suit and a white button shirt. You can rock this outfit with white sneakers or formal shoes.

22. Tartan Blanket And Wrapper

Another Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire for Heritage Day is the tartan blanket to cover the man’s bare chest and wrapper to cover the middle part of his body. If you are not comfortable with showing off your bare chest, you can use a black or white singlet. This outfit is also cool for a traditional Xhosa traditional wedding as well.

23. Short Sleeve Designed Shirt With Animals and Xhosa Patterns

This white shirt designed with Xhosa patterns is not your regular type of white button shirt. The animals and patterns used to design the shirt say a lot about how rich the Xhosa cultural heritage is.

This particular shirt is unique because the patterns are not an afterthought, they are part of the original white material. This is obviously a great outfit for your traditional wedding and any traditional event you wish to attend. You can rock it with white sneakers or formal shoes.

24. Red V-Neck Shirt With Black Jeans

Xhosa men can rock this red V-neck shirt designed with black stripes for their traditional wedding, a photoshoot, worship services, or even a date or Heritage Day. Depending on which event you rock this red V-neck shirt, you can wear it on formal or casual shoes. However, to play it safe with the colors, a black shoe will be preferred. But if you are good with color blending, white or red shoes won’t be a bad idea.

25. White Mkhwenyana Shirt

To get a good fitting for this outfit, you need a skilled fashion designer, so that you do not have a bad case of what I ordered versus what I got. Although this Xhosa traditional attire can go well on any man, it looks better on men who have a macho body size, as it has a way of showing off their broad shoulders.

26. Black Kaftan With White Embroidery

This short-sleeved Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire for men is a great outfit to rock for your traditional event. Just like most modern traditional attires for men, they can also be worn for any event. The event you wear this outfit to will determine what shoes to rock with it. For a formal event, black formal shoes will be a great idea and for a casual event, white sneakers will do.

Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attire For  Modern Couples

27. One-Sided Armless Mermaid Gown | White Top and Blanket On Black Trouser

Couples can rock these outfits for their traditional wedding, pre-wedding photoshoot, and even to grace a wedding occasion, where they are not the celebrants. The gown may not fit so well on plus-sized ladies, but with a good dressmaker, slim, curvy, and chubby ladies can rock this outfit.

The upper part of the gown is fitted to reveal the lady’s shape and it flares below the knee to give room for easy movement. However, you may need a waist trainer to help attenuate your shape. The mermaid gown is best with high heels. The man can also rock his outfit with or without the blanket and with sneakers.

28. Armless Maxi Gown With Tartan Blanket | White Top Designed With Blue Patterns

This is a perfect Umbhaco Xhosa traditional outfit for a traditional wedding for both the groom and his makoti. As a bride, if you do not wish to wear modern traditional Xhosa attire, then this core traditional outfit will be a great idea.

This outfit is great because you don’t have to worry about your body type, as it is suitable for any lady. However, if you still intend to give this traditional look a touch of modern fashion, then you should consider wearing heels. To complement his bride, the groom has a beaded head bandade of the same color and patterns as her outfit. He can rock his attire with white sneakers or formal shoes.

29. Knee-Length Sleeveless Flare Gown | Kaftan

A Xhosa couple or practically any couple who wishes to promote Xhosa culture can rock these Umbhaco Xhosa traditional attire for couples. They can wear it for their traditional wedding, to grace an occasion and also for church services.

This outfit can be rocked with formal heels or even sandal heels, it all just depends on the lady’s choice. This outfit is unique because it is not like the more common white and black Umbhaco.

30. Armless Full-Length Flare Gown | Black And White Button Shirt

The white button top patterned with black stripes is a perfect modern Xhosa traditional attire for any man. It has the signature Xhosa pattern but is still very fashionable for modern times. Aside from wearing it for your traditional wedding, it is also great for a regular day and for a photoshoot. The lady’s flare gown is very comfortable and beautiful. Its length is just perfect for the outfit of a Xhosa bride.

31. Umbhaco-Inspired Ball Gown

The Umbhaco-inspired ball gown is best for a Xhosa wedding – be it a white wedding or a traditional wedding. The black stripes at the rim of each layer of the lady’s ball gown make the outfit a modern Xhosa attire. This outfit is best for slim ladies, as it has a way of making them look fuller. The groom compliments his bride with his white top patterned with black stripes. The lady’s outfit is best with heels, while the man’s outfit is best worn with black formal shoes.

32. Yellow Umbhaco Crop Top and High Waist Skirt | Yellow V-Neck Shirt

You don’t always have to wear white and black to give your outfit that signature Xhosa look. If in doubt, have a look at this yellow and black Xhosa-inspired couple outfit which tells you our line of thought is right.

Thankfully, both the man’s and woman’s outfit is perfect for men and women of any body type respectively. The lady can rock this outfit with sandals, low and high heels, while the man’s outfit is best with formal black shoes. To add details to the outfit, white and black accessories like beads and tartan blankets can be used.

Umbhaco Xhosa Traditional Attire For A Photoshoot

33. Xhosa Culture-Inspired Dresses

The former Miss Universe from South Africa, Zozbini Tinzi, was renowned for always adding a touch of culture to her runway dresses, and these are two of her Xhosa-inspired dresses.

You may not be a Miss Universe, but as a lady, you deserve to look like a queen at all times, especially for a photoshoot. Either of these gowns will look perfect on a slim and tall lady. The gown at your right will also look great on curvy ladies. These outfits look better with heels.

34. Short Pleated Skirt and Black Armless Top

This Xhosa traditional outfit is great for celebrating Heritage Day and also for a photoshoot. It speaks volumes about the rich cultural heritage of the Xhosa people. The color and pattern on the outfit give it a lot of details. This outfit is best for a photoshoot, because it gives a more traditional vibe when the wearer is barefooted. However, for Heritage Day, you can wear it with low heels and sandal shoes.

35. Umbhaco Xhosa Wrapper, White Top, and Tartan Blanket

This is a perfect Xhosa traditional outfit for men, and if you want to celebrate Heritage Day in grand style, by taking nice pictures to share with your family and friends. Depending on your preference, you can rock this outfit with white sneakers or barefoot. Using beads and headbands also makes the outfit look more traditional.

36. High Waist Skirt and Armless Crop Top

This outfit is best for slim ladies, especially those who have a flat tummy. This is because the crop top exposes the lady’s tummy, and a good part of her back and upper part of her body. The choker bead on her neck also adds details to the look.

The high waist skirt makes the lady look fuller, which makes the outfit best for slim ladies. If you like your skirt short, then you can rock this outfit with sneakers. However, if you want to look classy in this outfit, then sandal heels will be best.

37. Red Maxi Gown

As a lady, if you want to do a photoshoot with an outfit that is traditional, modern, classy, and elegant, then this outfit will be a great choice. The good part is that you can rock this outfit with heels and even sneakers. This amazing outfit is great for ladies of any body size. So, ladies, you don’t have to worry about this outfit fitting you, you just need a good dressmaker.

38. Family Photoshoot

This family photoshoot outfit inspiration is a good choice for both new and old couples. The sleeveless gown shows some level of youthfulness but its length and covering speak volumes of how modest a married woman should look.

The children can also rock their outfits with sneakers, low shoes, or heels. The man’s outfit can also be rocked with a white canvas or formal shoes. Aside from the outfits, you can also use the same pose for your family photoshoot.

39. White Top With Xhosa Pattern | Knee-Length Pencil Gown

The outfit for both the man and woman is amazing and perfect for a simple photoshoot. If you prefer to wear a short gown, you can rock this outfit with a white canvas, but if the gown is on or below the knee, heels are better. However, whether short or long, high-heeled shoes will give this dress some more class. The man’s outfit will also be perfect on plain trousers and corporate shoes.

40. Maxi Full-Length Gown

A pregnant woman, who does not wish to reveal her baby bump can rock this Xhosa-inspired maxi gown for her pre-birth photoshoot. The gown covers every part of the lady’s body but still allows little details like her baby bump to be seen.

Seeing that pregnancy requires that you have some level of comfort, the outfit will serve you best if it is worn with flat sandals. You can also rock it with a low heel or nice slippers. A lady who is not pregnant but still desires to rock this outfit for a photoshoot or any other event can also rock it with heels.

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Romeo Ndlovu
Romeo Ndlovu
Romeo's secret talent is taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary content. At work, he is thinking about how best to provide the most unique, original content that provides utmost satisfaction to the user. Away from work, he is a football addict who loves to catch up on his favorite pastimes


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