In Fashion, Lifestyle, Personal Style, Style Guides

All you Need to Know About the Boubou Dress

Boubou dress

Hello fashionistas! Happy July loves. We’re already in the third quarter of the year. So Amazing! This year’s going by so quickly. I hope you’re all achieving some of your goals for this year? and if not keep pressing on, we’ve still got three more months to make it happen.
Today’s outfit features this gorgeous number from a Nigerian Women’s Wear brand, BellekayWoman. They were kind enough to send me a few of their pieces which I love and this Boubou dress happens to be my favorite.
I’m so proud of the way Nigerian brands and designers have really stepped up their game in the fashion industry.

Whenever I would visit home, I always worried about not finding good places to shop for trendy and creative pieces, so I would find myself travelling home with excess luggage, as I didn’t want to ever run out of outfits. The worst feeling ever, lol. However, that’s all changing now. Over that past year I’ve discovered a number of creative and interesting Nigerian brands/designers in fashion and they’re a good number I would love to shop from before the year runs out. Lisa Folawiyo Studio being one of them. Her pieces are so eye catching, I absolutely love.

Now I know some of you may not have heard of the word Boubou so I’ll give you a little run down.

A Boubou is a traditional African attire that’s worn by both men and women in parts of West Africa and Central Africa. For men, the Boubou is normally a three piece garment consisting of a long sleeve shirt, a pair of trousers and a long overflowing sleeveless gown, which is worn over both the shirt and trousers. A hat is also worn to complete the look and all three pieces are normally the same colour, as seen in the photo.

On the other hand, it is worn differently by women. The women’s Boubou is made up of two pieces; A long wrapper or skirt and a big overflowing gown, which again, is worn over the wrapper or skirt. A head scarf can be worn to complete this look. All pieces are made in the same colour.

As we know, fashion is constantly evolving and although Agbada is mostly worn by muslims, it is has gained popularity as a fashionable style among Christians in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. Male Agbada styles have now become unisex, as we now have women wearing these styles, which I think is really cool.

Boubou’s are normally made out of silk or silk-like fabric and sometimes cotton depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. To the best of my knowledge, two main tribes that I notice wearing this in Nigeria are the Yoruba and Hausa tribe. The Yoruba’s refer to it as Agbada and the Hausa’s refer to it as Babban Riga. It’s normally worn at special occasions and events like weddings.

So we all know what a Boubou is now right?
Moving on, not that this has anything to do with the subject in question but each time I see men wearing Agbada, the first thing that comes to mind is the term ‘Yoruba demon’ lol
Again some of you don’t know what that means. It’s a Nigerian way of referring to a playboy. They’re meant to be Yoruba but from my experience, I’ve come to learn that you find Yoruba demons everywhere, no matter the tribe. Sometimes you can spot them easily. Most of the time, they’re smooth talkers, they dress to kill (e.g Agbada), they take forever to reply messages and are always around pretty girls…Beware!!

Boubou dress

So back to our gorgeous Boubou dress. Bellekay Woman definitely killed it with this one. I love how modern it is. It’s not the typical Boubou that you have to wear with a skirt or wrapper under. It’s just worn as a long flowy dress and I feel free as a bird in it. I also love the print and the volume of the dress, and the beaded detail around the neck is so pretty. I had never worn a Boubou up until now and I’m loving it.
I chose to wear mine as an off shoulder dress, as I felt it looked even more stylish this way. It’s also got an invisible belt inside that allows you to pull it in for a more fitted look. As you can see in the photos, I opted to pull mine in a little. This is definitely a statement piece for your closet this summer and it’s a perfect day to night look. I styled it with a pair of white heels and accessorized with a gold watch, some turquoise triangular earrings, a multi-colored clutch and a pair of cat eye sunglasses to add a retro touch.

Do you own a Boubou dress and if not, would you get one? What are your thoughts on women in male Agbada styles?
What’s your favourite Nigerian clothing brand/designer?
And What would you like to see from me next?

Let me know in the comment box below. I hope you enjoyed reading this.
Thanks for stopping by.
Liz xx

Photographed by Graham Land

What I’m Wearing:

Dress- BellekayWoman (here)

Heels- Zara
Watch- Michael Kors
Earrings- New Look
Clutch- Zara
Sunglasses- Asos 
Ring set- Topshop

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Liz Okereke

Nigerian blogger based in London passionate about fashion and travel. She values culture very strongly, which plays a huge part in her personal style. Her favourite styles are influenced by the African culture which consists of a mix of colours and prints.

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