African Fashion Culture

6 Most Popular Styles for African Print Dresses 

5 fashionable Nigerian traditional attires
Written by See Africa Today

Traditional African print dresses date back hundreds of years ago. Not only are the print dresses unique in style, they also represent symbolism, tribalism, and history.

Through the years, African clothing has modernized and changed to fit the latest fashion trends, while still keeping its unique style. Today, African print dresses come in various styles, colors, designs, and materials. You can use them for various functions and occasions or even for everyday wear.

There are various print dress styles in Kenyan, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Senegalese, Rwandan, Ugandan, Egyptian, Kitenge, Lace, Leso, Gele, Iro, Isiagu, Kanzu, Kalasiris, etc. Each of these print styles has its authentic look and identity.

What African Patterns Represent

African patterns are a key form of expression that serves as both personal adornment and a means of communication. These magnificent fabrics provide wearers and admirers with an abstract and coherent view of African social, religious, and political situations.

The most popular African print dress styles include; Ankara, Kente, and Dashikis, among others.


What you need to know about Fashion in Africa, Ankara, Kente designs

Ankara Styles [Photo by Styleuki]

Ankara fabric has a range of African prints in animal, patterned, or floral designs. Ankara has lovely tops and pants for the ladies to flatter their bodies, as well as matching tops and pants for the men. Ankara comes in complimentary prints and fabric. There are also lace designs which are more elegant for formal parties, dates and events.


This is a colorful and unique garment covering the upper part of the body that is mostly worn in West Africa. In East Africa, it’s known as a Kitenge, popular in Tanzania and Kenya. It comes in both formal and informal styles, ranging from basic draped garments to fully tailored suits. The dashiki traces its roots back to Yoruba West Africa. The word dashiki in Yoruba language means a short-sleeved work shirt.

Dashiki has a cotton feel and comes in bright prints that suit individuals who want to look casual. They come in loose-fitting shirts and tops. Couples and their children can match their outfits.


A boubou is a type of dashiki that is ‌worn with matching pants and a long robe that covers the outfit, in various styles and colors suitable for any function.


The kente is made of a silk and cotton blend fabric. Interwoven textile strips from Ghana are used to create the fabric.


The Kaba and Slit fashion dresses in Ghana

African Wear Dresses: Latest Kaba and Slit Styles for any Occasion in 2019 [Photo/Youtube]

A kaba is an African wax print or fabric long wrap-around skirt with a matching shirt. The waist of the skirt contains a couple of strings that can be drawn together to fit the waist, or regular zips can be used.


A yoruba is a four-piece attire that includes a hat, a Buba, embroidered pants, and a flowing Agbada. An African Bariga, consists of a long-sleeved blouse, a cap, embroidered pants, and a flowing Buba, is also known as a Yoruba.

Ideal Print Dress for Kids

When selecting African print dresses for children, there are many factors to consider. Every parent wants their child to be cute and well-dressed, but comfort is also a consideration.

Children like to be stylish, and they outgrow their outfits quickly, therefore clothing should be bought as needed. There are many lovely African print dresses for girls and comfortable outfits for boys to show off Africa’s authentic style and culture while being child-friendly. Traditional dresses, dashikis, and French lace clothing are among them.

Traditional Dresses for Girls

African print fabrics for girls are of high quality, such as hand-woven silk, cotton, or hand-painted satin. it is usually a flared top, a skirt, plus a head wrap.

Dashikis for Boys

Dashikis is the traditional outfit worn by men; they are comfortable for little boys too! It has a fabric wrap that is cool and flexible for kids on the go and is bright and colourful, which can easily grab their attention.

French Lace Apparel

Dress up your child in beautiful formal wear of French lace apparel. These are not only elegant and sophisticated but come in different colours.

How to Match African Print Dresses with Accessories  

There are a variety of hoodies, jewelry, scarves, head wraps, caps, hats, shoes and other items designed to match African print dresses. Men can match print dresses with different suede shoes and loafers, whereas, Ladies can pair their outfits with trendy high heels.

To set off the true African look, pair clothing with a kufi; a traditional West African hat. Sometimes a gele; matching headscarf or head tie may be used. Also, pair it with a shoulder stash or shawl called Iborun or Ipele.

You can use a wrapper for formal and informal functions and it suits both simple draped clothing and fully tailored ensembles.

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