African dress is basically the traditional clothing worn in Africa.
African dress and its encompassing fashion is a multifaceted purview of string of African cultures. It is a known fact that dressing is variable with fabric with sense of body adornment. Just as the African continent is large and diverse in lifestyle, traditional dresses differ across countries. For instance, many West African countries do have a discrete regional dress styles which are the products of long-standing textile crafts in weaving, dyeing, and printing, but, nevertheless, these traditions are still able to thrive in time with western styles.
When it comes to African fashion, there is a large contrast between rural and urban strata of the society. Typically, urban societies are often exposed to trade and the changes the world bring, while it takes a little longer for new western trends to trickle down to rural parts of Africa.
Today, for every African but of fashion, there is an European influence. For instance, Ugandan men can now be seen wearing full length trousers and long-sleeved shirts, while the women have already adapted to influences from 19th century Victorian dress. These styles however include, long sleeves and puffed shoulders, a full-length skirt, and a beautiful bow ties around the waist. Busuti is what this style is called.
Also, yet another popular trend is to pair a piece of modern western clothing, such as T-shirts with traditional wrappers (Pagne). Rural communities have apparently started to incorporate secondhand clothing/western clothing into their daily fashion lifestyle. Like the rural Zambian women have started to blend secondhand clothing with a single two-yard length of Chitenge that was used as a wrapper over the dress. Hence, with the global influence of western clothing on urban and rural centers, varieties of dressing styles are now ubiquitous in Africa.
Furthermore, in Northeastern parts of Africa, especially in Egypt, styles of traditional women's clothing have been largely influenced by Middle Eastern cultures. This is evident in the embroidered Jellabiya which are similarly worn in the Gulf states. Also, the djellaba (worn in Northwest Africa) shares similar properties with the Grand boubou, the Dashiki, and the Senegalese kaftan. However, in Sahelian Africa, the Dashiki, Senegalese kaftan, and the Grand boubou are commonly worn, although not exclusively. This is because the Bogolanfini is worn in Mali.
Often times, the dashiki is highly styled and designed with an ornate V-shaped collar. But, in contrast the grand boubou is simpler, even more so than the djellaba, though the color designs reach impressive proportions, especially among the Tuaregs who are known for their dyed indigo robes.
Across East Africa, the kanzu is the traditional dress worn by Swahili-speaking men, while the women wear the kanga and the gomesi.
Meanwhile, in Southern Africa, distinctive shirts are worn, like the long dresses they wear. Taking for example, South Africa is popular with the Madiba shirt, but Zimbabwe is well known for its safari shirt.
Journeying to the Horn of Africa, the traditional dress varies with country. In Ethiopia, men wear the Ethiopian suits and women don in the habesha kemis, while in Somalia, men wear the khamis with a small cap known as koofiyad.