Igbokwenu.ca is a work in progress. Please check back often for updates.


Igbo dressing in Nigeria Igbo people are one of the largest ethnic groups living in modern Nigeria. It attracts a great deal of attention from Nigerians. It is believed that Igbo Nigerian clothing has ancient origins, yet the truth is that the European colonization of the country has heavily influenced the attire of Igbo you see nowadays. However, traditional clothing is an essential part of Igbo people' rich and fascinating cultural heritage. All pieces of Igbo attire aren't random. There is meaning behind every single thing that makes them significant. One of the most disputable fragments of Igbo clothing is the traditional red cap. The red color, in this case, symbolizes the pain and suffering Igbo people went through for their community to progress. If you look at the history, you'll also learn that only the most outstanding members of the tribe, mainly chiefs, were considered to be honoured to wear the red cap. In present days, however, red Chief caps are often worn by anyone who likes this style. There are many facts that are interesting and unique about Igbo men's traditional clothing. The most important are: The attire of titled holders and chiefs is different from that of the untitled men. The walking stick is a necessary part of the men attire and no traditional Igbo outfit is complete without it. Igbo traditional men's clothing is also adorned with white and red bangles. This accessory is for all the members of that society (both male and female).

Traditional Wedding Attire In Igboland

The one time where you can see Igbo attire in all of its glory is a traditional Igbo wedding. A lot of effort goes into planning not only the wedding itself but also the clothing for the bride and the groom. The central element of both the bride’s and the groom’s look is the authentic set of coral beads. They are worn differently by the man and the woman: the bride wears beads in her hair, as a necklace, earrings, anklets, and handbag, while grooms mostly wear coral bead necklaces. Another item of clothing you’ll always see at an Igbo wedding is a wrapper that is traditionally worn by the bride and the bridesmaids. Men, on the other hand, are often seen at Igbo weddings with walking sticks, shirts with intricate embroidery, and, of course, special hats.

What Igbo Men Wear

A cap or hat Feather in cap for titled men beads around the neck beads on wrists long knee length shirt a trousers or wrapper shoes or sandals

The Women

A headgear beads around the neck earrings beads on wrists beads on feet shorts blouses skirt or wrapper sandals or shoes

The Red Cap

The red cap in recent times has been debased by unscrupulous individuals. This is unfortunate because the red cap holds a very important place in Igbo society. The ozo sect's primary mandate is to select Eze Nri. The red cap is believed to have originated from Nri which is (the land of the ideal manifestation). In ancient times the prized 'cap' was given to the peace warriors of the land. The cap is significant to the Nze (apprentice to the Ozo) and Ozo (war survivors). The red color symbolizes fire or fire agbala. In ancient times the ozo was selected to go on spiritual missions for the progress of the community. However, significant elders and chiefs in the society are permitted to wear the red cap today. Modern representation of the cap is found on Igbo kings and clan chiefs. The cap is reserved for men of authority, power and title. The cap is also given to people who have contributed significantly to the improvement of the society. Title men that wear the red cap are Ogbuefi’s or eze. Others include Ozo, Ichie, Nze.

Eagle feather on red cap

The Feather

High ranking people are the only ones that can add the feathers. The Ugo feather is actually the feather of an eagle. It shows his place as a significant member of society.

The Long Traditional Shirts or Gowns

The traditional outfit for men is a long gown called 'Otogbo' and synonymous with many African cultures. The shirt could be sewn as a long or short sleeved attire.

The Color of the Attire

The color of the attire is also highly significant. The colors that are commonly used are black, red and white. The white signifies purity in thought and judgment that is why the high priest wear white with red beads on special occasions.

Akwa Ocha

The ‘Akwa Ocha’ or white outfit worn by the ‘Eze’ means purity. The Eze's red cap and the Eze Nri have a white and black rope that represents the ‘eke’ or serpent.

The Walking Stick

Nkpara (walking stick), on a coronation of an Eze/Obi/Igwe or titled men, the walking stick is offered-means the titled person is wished to stay long in this life and be old to the extent that the walking stick will support him/her to walk about. The walking stick is reserved for high chiefs and royalty. It is common to find them at special coronations of top leaders like the Eze, Obi or Igwe. Also titled men in the society carries the sticks. The sticks signify title, longevity and wisdom.

Neck Beads, Wrist Beads and Blouse

The neck and wrist beads worn by the men also have significant meaning. The beads signify nobility, rank and wealth of knowledge. Igbo beads We must admit that coral colored beads or Precious Coral Beads are a peculiar element of both Igbo attire for men and women. This type of accessory has come through the history of this tribe and still widely used by Igbo people. The beads made of coral are not just a decoration, this element has a crucial meaning and is believed to have special powers (ase) to protect from any curse. That is the reason why these beads were worn by chiefs and made them divine and why brides and grooms choose this type of decoration for their wedding attire. Igbo modern traditional attire expresses a spirit of the people. It's a great choice for everyday or special occasions. We hope our post was interesting and useful for you.

The Woman’s Blouse

The top choice for traditional Igbo women is the blouse. The embodied sleeve blouse is accompanied by a wrapper or head scarf. On special occasions the blouse and wrappers are selected to match each other. This is common in society groups, age-grade groups or celebrations. As Omenala differs from one uhu to another in AlaIgbo, so does the dress style vary somewhat, as one travels from ancient towns with preserved self-culture to towns with much adopted custom.


The attires outlined are as observed in a typical Isuikwuatọ nwaahọ, male or female citizen. Okpu is a hat worn by males.

Okpuagụ is a prestigious hat of multiple circular colours.

Okpumme is a red hat worn by the head of the family.

In Isuikwuatọ, as in several mpara, the individual is the Monarch and has an equal stake in community affairs.

Elsewhere in AlaIgbo, okpumme is worn by the Eze.

For the women, an ịchafụ serves as a headscarf.

Ụlarị is a female hat.

Mgbaaka, mgbaolu, and mgbaụkwụ are beads and bands worn as a wrist or arm band ~bracelet, necklace, and anklelace.

Mgbaaka are commonly worn on the right arm or both arms.

Men and women wear mgbaaka and others, though the nature and style of the jewelry may be genderspecific.

Bands can be of metal or ivory ~ọdụ.

Jewelry no longer worn by women are the nja and ogba, anklets for single and married women, respectively.

Mgbájị is a set of waist ornaments, usually coloured beads or pearls.

Multiple rings of mgbájị encircle the lower abdomen down to the upper hips.

Mkpọ is a carved designer walking stick, used by men.

A man of dignity carries an mkpọ, bearing the curves of an eke, as if the mkpọ were a staff of an eke resting curled on an osisi.

The mkpọ is made of the finest wood, delicately carved and glossed with a layer of varnish.

The colour of the mkpọ is ọlaedo, golden.

In other parts of AlaIgbo, the mkpọ is metallic and black or, these days, wooden and black.

Uweiolu is a male shawl.

Akpaụkwụ is a footwear.

Uweiọcha is a white garment of status.

Otogbo is a large, long, sleeved, anklelength gown, which bears numerous layers.

Uwei designates any garment, in particular a cloth worn over the torso of both genders.

Uwei refers to a shirt, specifically.

Isiagụ is a, usually, red shortsleeved, kneelength tunic bearing imprints of a tiger’s head.

Isiagụ is a mark of achievement.

Ọgọdọ is the generic term for a wrapper tied around the waist, typically reaching the ankles, though it can be shorter.

Mgbatị, bongo, or íbá is a pair of trousers.

Uweiobi is a blouse.

Originally, uweiobi is an akwete garment held over one shoulder on an otherwise naked body, barring a clothing of jigida, mgbaaka, mgbaolu, and mgbaụkwụ.

Uweiobi, as a shoulder garment, is still worn by women, as a part of the dress code, over an uwei.

Mwụda is a skirt.

Ekwerike is a thick women’s wrapper.

Traditionally, egedebe is a loincloth, which today symbolises male underwear or pant.

Female underwear is known as imeukwu.

Women and girls were not required to cover their private parts.

In some places, the tradition reached the level of a prohibition, the violation of which needed an atonement to appease the Gods.

Even when clothed around the waist, some females went/go without an underwear, in observation of Omenala.

The area was/is well ventilated.

Uweiime denotes inner garments, singlets, vests, brassieres, knickers, et cetera.

Uweiogbo are rank clothing among peers.

Today, uweiogbo are specifically selected by members of a group for an occasion, say, a wedding ~ọlụlụ, naming ceremony ~ịbaaha, et cetera.

Uweiotu are uniforms worn by members.

Uweiotu can be a school uniform, graduation gown, Police uniform, military uniform, members of an association, and so on.

Uweiọkwa or etirieti are expensive attires, such as, George, Jacquard, and Hollandis.

The outfit of a male onyeIgbo consists of an okpu, an uwei, and an ọgọdọ.

An Igbo woman wears an ịchafụ, an uwei, an uweiobi over her shoulders, and a two-piece ọgọdọ, one anklelength and the other halfway down her calves.

Several of these clothings are made of akwete fabric.


The traditional attire of Igbo has a unique look that cannot be mistaken for any other native Nigerian clothing. Though Igbo people who live in the past wore completely different clothing to the people we see today, it doesn't make the modern Igbo attire any less important for them.

Ask me about Igbo attire