Sotho people of South Africa are of the Bantu ethnic group, and as of 2001, they numbered up to 3,544,304 according to Wikipedia. The Sotho people are known to have a rich cultural heritage and history. Their rich cultural heritage shows off in their traditional attires and dresses. Sotho women are known to wear long skirts made with bright fabrics, unique colors, and patterns. They also wear a blanket over their waist. On special occasions, women wear beads on their waist, necks, and hands.
Most Sotho men are herdsmen and wear a signature Sotho hat and blankets. With civilization and the constant evolution in fashion trends, Sotho people have tried to evolve in their cultural fashion sense by adjusting their traditional attires to catch up with current fashion trends without losing their core traditional values (with respect to dressing) in the process.
Best Modern Sotho Traditional Attire
Sotho people are known for their signature Sotho Prints, which is known as Shweshwe. This Shweshwe comes in different colors and can be used to see different types of outfits. In modern times, Sotho people use Shweshwe to sew modern traditional attires that are absolutely beautiful and stylish. To help you decide what best to do with your Shweshwe, we have created a list of 40 stylish Sotho traditional attires from which you can choose and design that would suit your body frame, the occasion you intend to use it for, and most importantly, your pocket.
Sotho Traditional Attire For Couples
With the right Sotho Prints, couples can also sew beautiful attires that look both modern and traditional at the same time. Some Sotho traditional attires for couples you may like to recreate include:
1. Maxi Gown | White Top Patterned with Sotho Prints
This is a great look for couples and can be worn for church services, weddings, and even for a photoshoot. The dress is beautiful on the woman and looks very decent, which is how a Sotho woman or wife is expected to look. The same Sotho print used for her gown is also used to pattern the man’s top. Depending on her preference, the lady’s dress can be sewn to be long or on the knee.
2. Sleeveless Mini Gown | Kaftan With Sotho Prints
This Sotho traditional attire for couples is perfect for a photoshoot, attending events, and going to worship places. It is also a perfect fit for young couples. The sleeveless and mini gown that still looks decent shows that the lady is taken but is still very much beautiful and sexy. For the man, this outfit can be rocked with white sneakers or black formal shoes, and for the lady, it can be worn with sneakers, heels, or slippers – depending on the occasion it is to be used for. For a Sunday evening outing, white sneakers will be the perfect footwear to use.
3. White Gown Patterned With Sotho Prints | White Suit With White and Black Top and Trouser
A Sotho couple can use this outfit for their traditional wedding, a photoshoot, or storm an event looking like the beautiful couple they are. While the man’s outfit can be worn by a man of any body size, the lady’s outfit is best for slim ladies. Chubby ladies can also rock the outfit.
4. Peplum Top and Jean Trouser | Green Top And Trouser
This Sotho-inspired couple attire is perfect for a casual date, but if you want to give the outfit a more classic look, then you have to be very intentional about the shoes and accessories you use for the outfit. To give this outfit a classic look, the lady can use nice heeled shoes and complementary accessories and the man, sneakers, or those male shoes that are neither formal nor sneakers.
5. Flare Gown With Slit In Front | Kaftan Designed With Sotho Prints
A couple who have not been married for so long and still look youthful can rock this outfit. The lady’s outfit is best worn with heels. Both the man’s and lady’s outfit is perfect for any body type, and it just depends on how good the dressmaker is as it is dependent on them to give the outfit the right fittings. This outfit is classy and is best for events like weddings. If you are not comfortable with some part of your breast showing, you can ask your dressmaker to make some adjustments to the style, so it suits your preferences.
6. White Fish-Tail Pencil Gown | White Top Patterned With Sotho Print and Black Trouser
A Sotho couple can rock almost any event with this outfit. It is a white pencil gown with a creative design at the top and a fish design at the bottom with the Sotho print. The style of the gown makes the wife look youthful, and the ruffles in the top of the gown give it a more creative look. This outfit is great for slim ladies and may look nice on a plus-sized woman. To complement his wife’s look, the man has the same Sotho print used as a pattern in his outfit.
7. Off-Shoulder Fish-Tail Gown | Kaftan
Sotho couples can rock this outfit for big events and for a photoshoot. And the out outcome of this dress heavily depends on how skilled the tailor is. For the lady, this outfit is best rocked with sandal heels and for the man, he can rock the outfit with a white can or corporate shoes. But to properly compliment the lady, formal shoes would be better.
8. Navy Blue Armless A-line Dress Designed With Sotho Print | White Kaftan Designed With Sotho Print
Any Sotho couple can rock this outfit for their wedding. For some, it may look too simple; however, it is not too simple to rock to any other type of event. The lady’s dress is modern, but the touch of Sotho prints gives it the desired traditional look. The man complements his woman with his white kaftan outfit designed with bright colored Sotho prints.
Sotho Traditional Wedding Dresses
Your wedding is always a special day, and you want to look your best. Thankfully, Sotho print is also great for creating nice traditional wedding outfits. Here are some Sotho traditional wedding outfit ideas you may like:
9. Sleeveless Fish-Tail Gown With Cape | Kaftan
One of the desires of any bride, while contemplating her choice of outfit for her big day, is to be the center of attraction when she appears in the gathering. A bride wants to gain all the attention of her wedding guests, and this outfit is a match made in heaven. It is perfect for curvy brides but is also great for slim ladies.
The little peplum at the side of the dress adds a lot of details to the gown, and the cape makes her look like the queen that she is. The groom looks complementary to the bride with his nicely fitted kaftan. Their outfit is great for a traditional wedding, whether as the couple or as wedding guests who came prepared.
10. Mermaid Gown | White Top Patterned With Sotho Prints and Trousers Made With Sotho Prints
This traditional wedding attire for Sotho couples is perfect for those who want to keep up with modern fashion in their traditional wedding, as this outfit gives you a modern Sotho traditional look.
The crips white mermaid dress with a touch of emerald green is perfect for curvy brides and great for ladies who are not so curvy. The lower part of her dress adds a lot of detail and shows how creative the dressmaker is. The man also looks great with his simple white top patterned with emerald green and emerald green trousers. Even after their wedding, they can also use this outfit to storm a friend’s wedding or family friend.
11. Armless Mermaid Gown | White Top With Sotho Prints and Blue Trouser
This is a stunning outfit for traditional weddings. It is also great for couples to rock for events and can also be used for pre-wedding photoshoots. The belt on the upper part of the dress adds details and the opening at the top was done carefully not to expose any part of the bride’s breast. The lower part of the gown adds beauty to it. The groom’s outfit is quite simple and typical of most grooms, as it is complementary to what his beautiful bride is wearing. The gown is perfect for all body types except plus-sized ladies and the groom’s outfit is perfect for any man.
12. Peplum Ball Gown | Short Sleeve Kaftan
The peplum ball gown is a perfect outfit for a bride for her traditional wedding. It is beautiful and catchy and will attract all attention to her on her special day. Unlike most ball gowns, this outfit may not be perfect for all body types because of the Peplum on it. For plus-sized or chubby ladies, the peplum may make them look chubbier. But for slim ladies, it makes them look fuller. The choice of a green color short sleeve (you could use a long sleeve if that’s your preference) is justified with the touch of green on the peplum ball gown.
13. Two-Step Mermaid Gown | White Top Patterned With Sotho Prints
Sotho couples who want to rock a modern traditional Sotho outfit on their traditional wedding day can rock this outfit. To give it the best look, the bride will need to wear heels, and the groom can wear white sneakers or corporate shoes.
14. Sotho-Inspired Wedding Gown | Black Suit and Sotho-Inspired Waist Coat
This wedding outfit is perfect for couples who want to have a touch of Sotho cultural heritage in their white wedding. For this look as a lady, you will need a good dressmaker or fashion designer who can blend the Sotho prints into the white wedding gown. The Sotho prints used to pattern the lower part of the gown add so much detail to her dress, and the groom looks stunning and complementary on his black suit and waistcoat also made with Sotho prints.
15. Peplum Blouse and Mermaid Skirt | Kaftan
This modern Sotho traditional wedding attire is a perfect choice for couples who want to stay abreast with modern fashion but still do not want to lose that touch with tradition. The cape on the lady’s blouse makes the outfit look more classy. The bride’s outfit is perfect for a lady with any type of figure.
16. Off-Shoulder Flare Gown | Sotho-Inspired Suit
This outfit is great for a modern Sotho traditional wedding and a photoshoot. With a closer look at the bride’s gown, you can see that at the separation of the upper and lower part of the gown, the material is transparent to expose her tummy and to give her a chic look. The look is cool with sandal heels. The groom also looks classy with his Sotho-Inspired suit, and to show how much detail was put into consideration to create this look; you can also see the Sotho fabric on his shoes – all of which add up to give the outfit a 5-star rating.
Sotho Makoti Attires
A Sotho Makoti is expected to look decent and not like a young unmarried lady who still seeks the attention of men. Most modern wives try to maintain this decency while looking elegant. Some Sotho Makoti attires include:
17. Maxi Skirt, White Top, and Tartan Blanket
This is a traditional Sotho makoti attire worn by brides during their traditional wedding and women who have been married. This outfit is perfect for a makoti who does not want to modernize her traditional wedding look, seeing that culture can never really be outdated.
18. On The Knee Flare Gown
This Sotho makoti attire is perfect for chubby or plus-sized ladies. Although this outfit is great for a makoti who does not want a complicated look, it can also be used casually. It all depends on the length and the shoes used to wear the dress. If you want to turn this into a casual look, it should be short and rocked with white sneakers. However, to give it a more sophisticated look, heels would be preferred. For a makoti, the bead and accessories used should be intentionally picked.
19. Armless Ball Gown
This Sotho-inspired ball gown is perfect for ladies of any body type. It is an outfit you should go for if you want to play it safe, but that is if you have a creative dressmaker. Slender ladies can always fall back to this outfit because it makes them look fuller. This is one makoti outfit that should be worn with heels because any other shoe may not bring out its beauty. It is great for a makoti because it can be worn with a hair tie, which is something expected of a makoti – as a sign of respect to her elders.
20. Cape Gown
This Sotho traditional attire for a makoti is perfect for ladies of any body size but may not be great for plus-sized ladies and ladies who are too slim, but of course, with a good tailor, anybody can wear it. The cape does the work of the tartan blanket and gives the dress a more detailed look, and of course, it makes the makoti look like a queen.
21. Maxi Gown With Tartan Blanket
Any makoti, regardless of their body size, will look great in this flare gown. This outfit is modern but still speaks volumes of the decency expected of a Sotho makoti. A newly married bride can wear this outfit for her traditional wedding, and after her wedding, it can also be worn to work and for practically any event. It can be worn with low shoes, but heels should be used to give it some more class.
22. Cape Like Top and Pencil Skirt
A Sotho makoti is expected to look beautiful and very decent. Most modern outfits do not always meet the standards of decency expected of a typical Sotho bride. But this outfit is modern, decent, and elegant. It is everything a Sotho makoti should want to look like. And like a typical Makoti outfit, it is great for any body type, including those who are plus-sized. It can be rocked with low shoes, but heels will give it a better fit and look.
23. Maxi Gown
Another Sotho makoti outfit that is perfect for any makoti. It conceals all relevant parts of the lady’s body but still gives her a beautiful fitting, despite being a maxi dress. When worn with heels, it provides the lady with a very sophisticated look, and with lovely slippers, it makes her look simple. Yes! This gown can be worn with slippers to visit a friend as a new bride or go shopping with your husband.
24. Pleated Gown
With the right Sotho prints, a Sotho makoti who is slim, chubby, or curvy will look great in this pleated gown. The gown is simple and would make the makoti much more comfortable. This outfit can be rocked with low shoes or heels, depending on the makoti’s preference.
Sotho Traditional Attire For Males
Men can also use the Sotho print to create classy, traditional, and excellent looks. Here are some Sotho traditional attires for men.
25. Short Sleeves Button Top With One Side Made With Shweshwe
You can also rock Shweshwe with short sleeves, and you need to be creative enough to know where to use it. And this style is a perfect idea, especially for slim men and men who have macho bodies. This style can be worn with jeans trousers, or plain trousers and with jeans, sneakers will be the best option, while for plain trousers, formal shoes will go best.
26. Black Top And Trouser Made With Sotho Prints
This is a simple but classy outfit for men. This Sotho traditional attire for men can be worn for events, traditional weddings, and even a photoshoot. If you intend to rock this outfit with your woman, she can sew a dress with the Sotho print used for the trousers. This outfit can be rocked with sneakers or a formal shoe, and it just depends on the type of look the man is trying to create.
27. Black Shirt/Top Patterned With Sotho Print and Black Trouser
Black on black is always a safe combination for both men and women – in terms of fashion style. And for a man who knows how to rock an outfit, black on black can never really go wrong. Sotho print used to pattern a black shirt is perfect for a man who wants to look simple but nice. The same Sotho print is also used as a touch on the sleeves of the black shirt. Depending on the event you want to wear this outfit for, it can be rocked with sneakers or formal shoes. You can also rock the same outfit with your bae for an event.
28. White Top With Sotho Print Trouser
Another simple but classic outfit for men. This traditional Sotho attire for men is modern, but the Sotho prints still give it a traditional look. To provide the outfit with a more classic look, it should be worn with white sneakers to match the white top. Like in the image, your bae or wife can also rock this outfit with you.
29. Sotho-Inspired Jacket With White And Black Shirt and Trouser
A Sotho man living outside South Africa and still wants to show off Sotho’s traditional heritage will attract a lot of attention to himself with his Sotho-inspired jacket. The Sotho print and patterns used for the jacket make it very fashionable but traditional. To add details to the looks and keep warm, a head warmer made with the same print is added to the look, and a boot or sneakers is best for rocking this look.
30. Sotho-Inspired Suit
We all know suits to be a modern outfit, but with the right kind of fabric, it can become a traditional outfit. A Sotho man can use the Sotho print to make a nice suit. Depending on what the man wants, this suit can be rocked with white sneakers or formal shoes and can be worn for formal events, despite being a traditional outfit.
Sotho Traditional Attire For Females
As a young lady, you can rock Sotho prints in different styles, and for different occasions including weddings and other classic events. Below, we have put together some of the classiest Sotho traditional attires for females.
31. Sleeveless Two-Step Gown
This sleeveless two-step gown made with the signature Sotho prints is perfect for slim ladies. Petite ladies will also look good in this dress, seeing that the two steps make her look fuller. If you are not someone who feels comfortable with having your dress above your knee, you can also make the dress longer.
The opening at the top of the stress makes it sexier but still decent because it does not reveal any part of the lady’s breast. This dress can be worn by a wedding guest with a beautiful pair of heels or with slippers to pick something from the supermarket.
32. Crop Top and Mini Skirt
This is another amazing outfit that would look great on slim ladies. It would also be perfect for both average ladies and tall ladies, especially those who have nice legs. The mini skirt reveals the beautiful legs of the lady but still conceals every part of her body that she may want to conceal. The crop top style is just perfect for slim ladies because it makes them look fuller and meets with the skirt to properly cover the upper part of her body. This outfit can be rocked with nice heels or sneakers.
33. Simple Gown Made With Sotho Prints
This is probably one of the most comfortable gowns a lady can see with the Sotho prints. Thankfully, it is perfect for practically any body type. For slim ladies, it makes them look fuller, and for plus-sized ladies, it hides parts of their body they may not want to show off.
This gown should be slightly above the knee and rocked with sneakers for a casual outfit. When worn with heels, the gown can be ideal for events, and with slippers, it is perfect for picking groceries at the supermarket. Depending on your intent, you can also use a hair tie.
34. Pencil Gown Styled With Peplum At One End
Another outfit for slim ladies. Whether you have a lot of curves or very little curves, this outfit is perfect for you. It is fitted so that it reveals how beautiful your body is shaped. It is sleeveless and, as such, the dress reveals the lady’s hands, and the length also allows her nice legs to show. To add details to the gown, one of its sides is patterned with Peplum that is longer than usual. This is a perfect outfit for church services and weddings, especially when worn with heels.
35. Peplum Top And Black Skirt
This is a great option if you need that outfit that is perfect for a day at the office, church services, weddings, and events. And to bring out the beauty of this outfit, you will need heels. If you are not comfortable with the peplum top being sleeveless and revealing a good part of your breast, you can ask your dressmaker to give the top a slim hand.
36. Sleeveless Flare Gown With Front Slit
A beautiful Sotho lady who does not mind showing off just how beautiful her body is will look stunning in this outfit. With the right dressmaker and packaging, this outfit is great for a slim lady and a chubby lady. The slit in the front is the element of surprise of this dress because you don’t see it coming until the lady brings one of her legs forward. If you are not comfortable exposing your back and chest, you can check out other Sotho styles for females on this list.
37. Sotho-Inspired Jumpsuit
This Sotho-inspired jumpsuit is perfect for any body type. Although the trousers of this jumpsuit are flared, you can sew yours to be fitted. To give this outfit the class it deserves, it is best worn with heels. And if you don’t like the pattern of sleeves, you can ask your dressmaker to make what you prefer. Just make sure they are creative enough so that the gown does not become an awful sight. You can rock this outfit to work, an event, or church services.
38. Crop Top And High Waist Trouser
This Sotho-inspired outfit can be used for almost any event, and it just depends on the shoe you use to wear it. For a classic event, you want to rock this outfit with heels. For a casual event where you still want to look stunning, white sneakers will be a great idea, and for taking a walk or visiting a friend, nice slippers will be great. if you are going to the office, low or high shoes will be a great idea. Thankfully, this stunning outfit is perfect for almost anybody, except for plus-sized ones, but chubby ladies can also rock it.
39. High Waist Skirt, White Top, and a Hair Tie
This Sotho traditional outfit for females can be worn by a single lady and a makoti. It can be used for different events, depending on the length and shoes used to rock it. If the skirt is shorter, it can be rocked with low shoes or a white can for a casual event. More interestingly, for a day at the office or classic events, it should be rocked with heels. If you intend to use a hair tie, then you should use bold earrings too to complement your outlook.
40. Peplum Top With Bum Shorts
Single Sotho ladies can rock this outfit for any event, but long pencil jeans trousers will be a better option for a classic event. This outfit can be rocked by ladies of practically any body type, whether slim or chubby. For a simple lady’s outing, this outfit can be worn with sneakers or heels. However, if you are going shopping, it can be worn with slippers. For big events, heels would be the preferred footwear.