Stylish Xhosa Makoti Attires, Dresses and Outfits

Knowing that a new Xhosa bride is expected to dress like a makoti for at least three months after marriage, a young Xhosa lady who is about to get married would want to check out different stylish Xhosa Makoti attires for herself. The outfits we have carefully selected comprise both core traditional Xhosa Makoti attires and modern traditional Xhosa Makoti attires, so there must be something to suit your preference.

Xhosa Makoti Attires

A Xhosa bride or a newly wedded one is usually expected to dress in a way that differentiates her from the single ladies. This is important in order to avoid attraction from unmarried men. Typically, she is expected to dress like this for three months, one year, or until she has a child. Some ladies even go as far as not wearing trousers again after marriage.

As a result of civilization and the fact that most women now work, new brides no longer dress like makotis for too long. A typical makoti wears a woolen scarf, long shweshwe skirt, long sleeves top, tartan blanket, and a headscarf. Each of these pieces of apparel signifies something:

  • Headscarf: Signifies respect to elders, as it is wrong for a newly wedded bride to speak to elders with her hair open.
  • Wollen scarf around the waist: Signifies protection of the lady’s fertility. It also hides her curves.
  • Tartan blanket: This stands for the protective and nurturing attribute expected of the bride.
  • Long skirt: To cover her legs and prevent advances from other men.

With civilization, most makotis who want to follow current fashion trends now find a way to modify the core traditional Xhosa makoti look. However, this modification still contains pieces of fabric that uphold Xhosa culture, likes the headscarf. However, some cultural heritage is being lost, because some brides prefer to expose their shoulders and others don’t mind allowing their legs to show.

Irrespective of the fashion and cultural inclination of the Makoti, there is a wide range of attires she can choose from. Some Xhosa makoti attires, outfits and dresses a bride or newly wedded bride can choose from include:

1. Isishweshwe

Although the original traditional makoti attires are now being innovated to suit recent trends, and as such no longer look so cultural, there are still some ladies who appreciate culture and want to preserve cultural values. Such ladies wear the 100% cultural Xhosa Makoti attire, and every part of their body is covered as true proof that she is now a Makoti.

The scarf, shweshwe, tartan blanket, and wrapper, which make up the core traditional Makoti attire for Xhosa ladies are suitable for ladies of any body shape. Because it is usually maxi and does not show off any part of the body. For slender ladies, it makes them look fuller and for plus size ladies, it hides part of their body that they may not want people to see. If you are someone who upholds culture and wishes to preserve the cultural heritage of the Xhosa people, as a makoti, this attire will be just perfect.

2. Two-Step Fitted Mermaid Gown

This outfit is a modern Xhosa traditional attire for a makoti. Although inclined to recent fashion trends, it still looks very much traditional when worn with a head tie to signify respect for elders and beads to add details to the look.

Unlike Isishweshwe, this makoti attire may not look beautiful on women with all types of shapes. It is good for slim ladies, as it has a way of showing off her curves and is better for curvy ladies whose curves will show off effortlessly. However, the exact fitting this outfit will give a makoti will depend on the skills of the tailor to give her what she ordered. The length of the gown is also awesome, as it is as long as a shweshwe, and covers the lady’s legs, which in core African culture depicts decency.

3. Peplum Top And Mermaid Skirt

This is another modern Xhosa traditional attire for a makoti, and despite being modern, it still depicts almost everything the core traditional Makoti attire represents. With the use of the appropriate accessories, the outfit looks even more traditional.

Although this attire can be worn by any lady, it all depends on the fitting the dressmaker or fashion designer gives it. It is best for women who are plumpy or curvy.  It is good for plumpy women because the peplum part of the gown has a way of hiding the part of the tummy the lady may be trying to conceal. And it is great for curvy ladies because the mermaid skirt brings out their curves. Slender ladies can also rock this Makoti outfit, seeing that it gives them a fuller look at the upper part of their body.

4. Maxi White Gown With Black Stripes

A maxi long gown is another stylish Makoti attire a Xhosa bride or newly married lady can wear. It is decent and has a length that speaks volumes of the decency the Xhosa culture upholds. This outfit is what you may say stands in the line between modern fashion trends and core traditional Xhosa Makoti attire, especially when worn with a tartan blanket over the makoti’s shoulders.

Just like Isishweshwe, it is perfect for ladies with any type of body figure. For slender ladies, it has a way of making them look fuller. For chubby ladies, it hides parts of their body that they may not be comfortable with having people observe. A bride who will not like to deviate so much from the core Xhosa attire can consider this one.

5. Black Top With Maxi Yellow Skirt

This is another modern Xhosa makoti attire that still looks very traditional, however, it exposes the lady’s arms and some part of her chest. If you are not comfortable with that, but love this outfit and will like to rock it, you can make use of a tartan blanket.

Depending on the type of top you may want to use on the maxi skirt, it is a perfect outfit for women of any body type. Slender ladies can rock the maxi skirt with a sleeveless top like it is in the first image above while women of any body type can use a black top with sleeves – as seen in the second image. To give this makoti attire a more traditional look, beads and accessories should be carefully selected and the headscarf should be worn.


6. Sleeveless Ball Gown

Ball gowns are typically associated with people from the western part of the world like the British. However, with the right African prints and fashion, it can also be worn to depict African culture at African cultural events like traditional weddings.

And a Xhosa makoti can also rock a beautifully made ball gown, using a scarf and the right accessories. This is another outfit that is perfect for any lady. However, a makoti who wants maximum comfort and freedom to move may not appreciate this outfit, as it is a bit restrictive.

7. Off-shoulder Fish Tail Gown

This off-shoulder fishtail gown is best for ladies who have a perfect neckline, as it exposes their neck and shoulders. This does not mean that women who don’t have what is referred to as a ‘perfect neck line’ cannot wear it.

Aside from having a great neckline, your body shape will also play a huge role in determining whether this outfit will look great on you because it is best for ladies who are curvy or at least has some curves to show off. For very slender ladies, it may reveal how slim your body is, while for plumpy ladies, it is likely to expose some of your body foldings, however, this can be worked on with a waist trainer.

8. Three Step Maxi Skirt And Black Top

This is a traditional makoti attire that has a touch of modern fashion trends. The maxi skirt is a shweshwe, and the bead around her neck is similar to the tartan blanket, as it covers her neck and shoulders however what gives it a touch of modern fashion is the black sleeveless top. The three layers on the maxi skirt add a lot of details to the gown.

This outfit is great for ladies with any body type but will do a great job for slender ladies, seeing that the maxi three-layered skirt has a way of making the waist and thighs look fuller.

9. Maxi Skirt, Blazier, And White Top

In recent times, it has been a common trend to see African prints used to sew a blazer or wear a blazer over a trouser or skirt made with African prints. What is interesting is that Xhosa makoti can also follow this African trend.

This look tries to create a balance between traditional attires and western fashion as such it may not be very easy to find the best accessories to use with it. The look may not be best for plumpy ladies as it may make them look too busy. A makoti who does not mind trying out outfits that are a bit out of the box can rock this look.

10. Armless Peplum Ball Gown

An armless peplum ball gown is beautiful for a makoti who does not mind showing off some part of her chest and shoulders. But if you want to rock this outfit and still want to uphold Xhosa cultural heritage, then a tartan blanket may be a great idea as well.

Although a ball gown is great for ladies of any body type, a peplum ball gown is better for slim ladies, because for plumpy ladies, the extra layer of fabric may make them look bigger than they are.

11. Armless Pencil Gown With Long Cape

A Xhosa makoti who wants to look modern, but still wants her outfit to reflect the Xhosa culture would find this attire attractive. The simple pencil gown does a great job of revealing the lady’s curves without creating any extra figure or curves that she does not have. It also exposes her beautiful legs in a very decent way, seeing that the length goes below her knees.

Instead of using a tartan blanket, the gown also comes with a cape that serves as an alternative to the blanket. This gown is best for ladies who are slim and will also look great on curvy ladies. In a situation where the lady does not have a flat tummy, a waist trainer can be used to bring out her shape, as long as it is not too tight in a way that makes her uncomfortable.

12. Long Mermaid Gown With Cape

This is another modern Xhosa attire that speaks a lot about how modest and decent a Xhosa makoti should look. The length of the gown is as long as the traditional shweshwe, and cover’s the lady’s legs, and the cape is similar to the tartan blanket.

This outfit is best for slim ladies with some level of curves or curvy ladies, who don’t mind showing off their natural endowment. With the right accessories, this outfit will look more traditional. And even after the period of wearing it as a makoti attire, the cape can be removed if the lady decides to wear this dress to other events.

13. Maxi Two-Step Gown

This is a traditional makoti attire for Xhosa ladies and it very much looks like an Isishweshwe, as it conceals all the vital parts of the lady’s body. The first layer of the gown also looks like the apron worn over the waist of the bride to signify protection of her fertility.

Even without so many accessories, this outfit has that signature Xhosa look. It is best for ladies of any figure.

14. Offshoulder Flay Gown

This is one of the most comfortable makoti outfits, and it follows modern trends despite looking very traditional, especially when adorned with beads and other accessories.

What makes this dress more amazing is the fact that it is a great idea for ladies of any body type, unlike other body-fitted off-shoulder gowns.

15. Two-Step Off-shoulder Mermaid Gown

For a lady who does not like keeping it simple and wants to go the extra mile to look classy and elegant as a makoti, this off-shoulder dress is a great option. It also covers the lady’s legs just like a shweshwe and reveals all of the lady’s curves.

As a result of how fitted this gown is, it may not be a great option for ladies who are plus-sized, as it may expose some parts of their body they may not want to reveal, and to get the best fitting, a waist trainer will be required.

16. Umbacho

Umbacho is another traditional attire for a Xhosa makoti and has inspired a lot of modern Xhosa traditional attires. A lady who wants something legendary, but not an Isishweshwe or a maxi gown can rock it.

It looks great on slim ladies, but can also be used by ladies of practically any body type.

17. Modern Umbacho-Inspired Dress

Keeping up with fashion trends does not necessarily require doing something different, it could just be a modification to what is already available. As a makoti, if you will like to rock an Umbacho, but still wish to stay up to recent fashion trends, this Umbacho-inspired dress will be a great option.

It may be modern, but the white and black stripes at the bottom speak volumes of Xhosa cultural heritage. Thankfully, this dress does not select body type, as it is perfect for both slender and plumpy ladies.

18. Strapless Gown

This strapless gown is also a traditional Xhosa attire, and when worn with a tartan blanket, it gives the lady that 100% Xhosa makoti look.

Just like all other core traditional Xhosa makoti attires, this is also great for a lady of any body type.

19. Peplum Blouse And Knee Length Pencil Skirt

A newly married woman of Xhosa descent, who wishes to be identified as a Xhosa makoti months after her wedding can consider this outfit.

This attire is modern, but the signature Xhosa white and black stripes give it that perfect Xhosa look. It is also great for ladies of any body type.

20. Peplum Top And Mermaid Skirt With Front Slit

If you have nice and sexy legs and would like to show them off as a makoti, this modern Xhosa traditional attire will be a great choice.

Without the slit in front, the outfit is great for ladies with almost any body type, except those who are really plus-sized. But with the slit, it is best for slender ladies.

Images Of Other Noteworthy Xhosa Makoti Traditional Attire


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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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