The gravity-defying headscarves that Nigerian women are known for are called “gele,” named after the well-known Houston headscarf artist, Segun Gele. The artist has his own methods for creating amazing head dresses, but there are actually many ways to achieve a similar look. The gele is often styled from the traditional Yoruba “Aso Oke” woven scarf, made in western Nigeria. The following instructions tell you how to style a simple head dress that you can do yourself, though it’s always easier with the help of a friend.

Things You'll Need

Lay the scarf on your head so it’s evenly spaced from right to left, and the edge is along your forehead.

Tie the ends of the scarf at the nape of your neck.

Twist the remaining fabric on the left and right until it is twisted quite tight.

Decide what to do next, depending on the length of the fabric. If your fabric is long enough, you could wrap the twist back up toward your forehead and tie them together with a double knot, and let the ends flare up in whatever fashion you decide. For shorter fabric, you can also wrap the twist back toward the front then pin the fabric to the front of your headdress. The poof is where you can really get creative, tucking the ends back into the twists.


  • If you’re looking for a head dress that really “stands out” from the crowd, consider using a bit of starch on your head scarf fabric ahead of time.

References and Resources

Segun Gele
Modern Traditional: Aso Oke