Traditional Ghanaian Dress

People in Ghana continue to dress in the traditional styles of their ancestors despite an abundance of Western influence. Most of their clothes are hand-dyed, hand-woven and hand-sewn by professional seamstresses. As a result, many people wear clothing that is custom-made to fit their unique shape. Ghanaian clothing is usually made of sturdy fabrics that are rich in color and detail. Many outfits include expert embroidery and beading. Women in Ghana are more prone to dressing in the more traditional styles of dress, whereas men can be seen wearing khaki slacks, jeans and suits more akin to Western fashion in Europe and the Americas. However, pride in traditional Ghanaian dressing strongly prevails among most citizens, young and old. Even tourists are expected to embrace Ghanaian fashions when visiting the country.

Women’s Fashions

The style of dress for women in Ghana is fashionable and practical. There are about three types of traditional styles for women: a long dress, skirt and top set, and wrap. All pieces are tailored by professional seamstresses using brightly colored, hand-dyed fabrics often in ethnic prints. The long dress is usually worn during more formal occasions including parties and celebrations. The skirt and top set is a more casual outfit that is worn during the daytime on trips to the market and around the house. The wrap is worn to cover up after swimming or showering. There are many variations of the traditional long dress. Styles include strapless, halter and short-sleeved. Skirts tend to be fitted tightly about the waist although a more flared shape is also worn. Women often wear headbands made of twisted fabric, and accessorize their outfits with sashes tied around the waist. Flat sandals are the most popular type of footwear, while heels are worn during nights on the town.

Men’s Fashions

Men are known to most often wear tunics, short or long-sleeved, with loose drawstring pants. In northern Ghana, men wear striped smocks that are hand-woven with symbolic designs, and sometimes in the colors of the Ghanaian flag: red, yellow and green. Men often dress in more Western styles of clothing such as jeans and t-shirts. Businessmen tend to wear suits to work, and formal occasions often call for a tuxedo. Ghanaian males embrace Western fashion more so than the females. A mix of Western and Ghanaian fashions is also seen among the men as they are seen pairing jeans with the traditional smock and tunic. Footwear alternates between sandals, dress shoes and sneakers.