African dresses never run out of fashion; they just evolve. There are numerous ways of putting on the African attire to bring out a modern look while retaining its traditional appeal. Though the influence of Western culture has brought in a lot of change to African clothing, traditional clothing is still regarded with honor on special occasions.

Due to the diversity of culture in Africa, the dresses vary considerably from one country to another. When we speak of fashion, the prints on the fabric are the first thing we think of. African dresses tend to have very colorful prints, and they come in different sizes, colors, and designs.

African dresses are made from a variety of cloth, each being identified with a particular country or tribe. While there are some materials From East Africa, the most popular materials are from West and Central Africa.

Textiles for African Dresses

Nigeria – “Akwete, “Ukara”, “Aso Oke”, “Adire”, “Kente”

Uganda – “Barkcloth”, “Mudcloth”

Zambia – “Chitenge”

South Africa – “Shweshwe”

East Africa – “Kanga”, “Kitenge”, “Kikoi”

West Africa – “Ankara”

Types of African Dresses

Some of the most common African dresses include:


Kaftans were traditional clothing for men in the African culture, but have since been embraced by women all over the world. The roots of Kaftan can be traced back to West and Central Africa. It’s also common clothing for women in the coastal regions of East Africa but made from a lighter material because of the coastal weather.

Casual African Dresses

You don’t have to be too official and serious-looking when putting on African attire. You can go for sleeveless or a short-sleeved top. Complementing your look with custom earrings, a handbag, and shoes that match your dress is the best way to embrace your African choice of fashion fully.

Tops and Pants

You can choose from the several top outfits available in the stores, to go with your African skirt or trouser. African pants come in all manner of sizes and designs, and you can be as creative as possible to bring out your best looks.

One-Piece African dress

Having a one-piece dress in your wardrobe is a must-do, especially if you enjoy Ghanaian women’s fashion style. One-piece and two-piece dresses allow you to be as lavish as you want, and to choose from a wide variety of options, depending on your taste. You can also decide whether you want it to have a full shoulder or a half shoulder. The length of the dress also depends on your taste; you can go for ankle-length, knee-length, or even shorter dresses.

African Kente Dresses for Weddings

The expensive African kente dress is mostly used for weddings and engagement ceremonies. They mostly come in white, which is a symbol of innocence and purity of the bride. Alongside print dresses, kente can also be used for parties and on casual setups.

Short African Outfits

Do you feel like showing off some skin? It’s possible to do so in the African dresses, without necessarily coming out as promiscuous. If you are planning to attend a party or go out on a picnic, there are several options that you can choose from. From short skirts to short dresses, short pants, and half-shoulder dresses. It all narrows down to your creativity and the occasion at hand. Click here to see some of the latest short African dresses.

Long African Dresses

You can opt for long African dresses as they portray the image of dignity, self-respect, and respect for the people you interact with. This normally does the trick, especially if you are going to a special occasion like an introduction to your future parents in law.

Long African dresses can either be half-shoulder, full shoulder or completely sleeveless; the choice is yours. Click here to see some of the latest long African dresses.

Tips for Getting the Best Out of Your African Dress

African dresses compliment a woman’s beauty, but only when they are worn right. The type of dress and how you accessorize depend on the occasion, your social status, as well as the weather. Here are some tips for styling up and getting the best look from your African dress.

  1. You can wear the dress barelegged, with stocking or with leggings. Go for what suits you best, makes you comfortable and goes well with your outfit
  2. To get the best posture, wear your African dress with high heels or pumps. If you prefer a more relaxed posture, consider putting on African leather sandals that are beaded, and match the color of your dress.
  3. Accessorize with a shoulder bag or clutch that is of the same color as your shoes. If you are putting on a short dress, pants, or a short skirt, you can consider having shoes and a handbag that matches your clothing.
  4. Go bold on the jewelry. African-inspired jewelry is available in all manner of prints, colors, designs, and sizes — select earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that match your dress. Your designer can as well do earrings of the same material as your dress. If you feel ready for a bolder look, you can go for ankle rings and waistbands as well.
  5. Complete your African look with a head wrap of the same material as your dress. Alternatively, you can use a hair clip or hair band with the same motif.
  6. Having a spare shawl or wrapper of the same material or a plain color that matches your cloth is a good idea. You can wrap this over your shoulder or just carry it in your handbag; it may come in handy in case it gets cold in the evening.

What to Avoid

  • Don’t delve too much into accessories, especially when your dress has prints that are loud.
  • Don’t blend clashing prints; it looks backward. If you choose to go African, stay African, and stick to one print at a time. You can match your African top with a plain skirt or pants and vise versa.
  • Don’t clash colors. Stick to one hue and accessorize with colors that complement your print.
  • Avoid too much shimmer; a monochromatic look is fancier. A little gold jewelry can do.
  • Avoid a hat if possible, unless you find one that is African-motivated. An African head wrap is the better option.
  • Don’t go too wild with the hair. Something relaxed or tied down is much better, considering that the African dress in itself is considered bold and wild.

Why You’ll Love Your African Dresses

  • You can easily incorporate your African dresses and play around with them to suit the occasion.
  • The prints are unique, and there’s a variety to choose from. Some, like the kanga, have proverbs and sayings printed on them. Who can resist that?
  • You can dress to impress by adding focal points to your dress, such as a scarf, flower, fur, or a sash.
  • The print is bright, catchy, and beautiful. If you love people turning their heads your way when you pass, African clothing is the way to go.
  • Easy to learn and develop, according to your taste and personality.

Where to Buy African Dresses

Hoping that this guide has been useful to you, we believe that you may want to try out some African outfits. If you are looking to get an African dress for any occasion, this is the best collection of African dresses we have found in the US.

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