As it is commonly said, “O wo aso-ebi, o je semo”, which simply means, “There is no food for you if you are not in your aso-ebi”. Well, this doesn’t necessarily happen but in some cases, it does.
Aso-ebi comands respect in an event. It is an important means of identification.
The prices vary, but the least you can get is N3,500 and that in most cases are the gele or fila. You can be lucky to see an ankara for that price but expect nothing less than that in an event.
Aso-ebi is a uniform dress that is traditionally worn in Nigeria and some West African cultures, as an indicator of cooperation and solidarity during ceremonies and festive periods, according to Wikipedia.
These aso-ebi trends can be seen with all classes, the young, old, middle class, rich and the wealthy. It is widely recognised. It serves as a means of owning up to a group, a sense of belonging.
In a wedding for example, you can spot as many as five aso-ebi patterns in a hall or gathering just for one wedding. Different groups turn up with their type of material and they stay together, forming a clique. It could be a colour, or their gele, something must make them stand out.
In most cases, what you wear is what you get. You can be in a gathering and watch a certain table or group of people being attended to severally before attempting your side, either for food or souvenir. It shows how important aso-ebi is.
As important as it is for events, it can also be a piece of ridicule if you don’t get it right. This can be seen in trendy cases like the ‘what I ordered and what I got’. It is a struggle to get a tailor who can really perfect a style or a design, especially among the ‘woke’ ladies and gentlemen of the 21st century.
Many are drawn to the styles seen on social media without proper findings on the type of cloth suitable for the design, the quality and most importantly, the price of the outfit you adore. And when you give to your tailor, it becomes a problem to achieve a perfect style.
Most aso-ebi from the source are a lot cheaper than the ones you get from the celebrant. Some are 10 times more expensive than what you bargain for. It has become a recycle. What you give me during your time is what I pay back. Others do it for the fun of it while some inflate prices to show how expensive they are, even if the cloth is not worth it.
Some high-end aso ebi go for at least N150,000 – N200,000 for a 5 yard material or in some cases, a set. A set includes lace, ankara and gele. If you can not go with all, you find someone you can share with or just go for a piece. Most celebrants, however, prefer to sell as a set.
To feel great among your peers, you will run straight to MR. DEBT to remain ‘woke’. That doesn’t stop there, they look for the best tailor to give top notch designs to their material. Many come back looking elegant while some end in ‘ELEGANT TEARS’.
Every dress style has its own uniqueness, and every dress has what they are known for.
Ankara, which is commonly used, can be made into a lot of styles. A lot of styles, whereas, in the case of lace material, the styles are limited. You can create a lace material for a gown, skirt and blouse, wrap top and iro, iro and buba but it ends there for most designs.
Kaftan guinea or guinea kaftan on the other hand, can be made into a simple top and trousers, agbada or free gown. It is not commonly picked as aso-ebi anyways.
Atiku is also close to guinea material as they are often called ‘sisters’. Mostly seen in styles like guinea, which is agbada. It can be seen in so many vibrant, yet cool colours like navy blue, cool blue, leaf or army green, black, white, e.t.c.
Aso-ebi doesn’t or should not dictate how you feel about the celebrant, it shouldn’t stop you from not attending as long as you are invited to the event.
Getting a colour of the day and making the best of it with as little as a bag matching the colour code is the deal. You don’t have to rob the bank to attend a party.
Now, a different side to it is the Ore Iyawo (Bride’s friends). You are expected, not mandatory. You are expected to get a certain type of aso-ebi specially picked by the bride. The same goes for the Ore Oko (Groom’s friends). This is completely different from the bridesmaid and groomsmen.
How can you remain stylish even in these clothes? How can you stand out?
As long as you have a creative side to your wardrobe, you are always going to come out looking different every time you step out.
Be different, be unique! Get an agbada. It is not for men alone. If you can rock it, why not? Except your material is not suitable for it. Agbada will make people take several glances at you. Ankara and Atiku are the best take for agbada, it is stylish and vibrant. Fashionistas like Ronke of the Rhonkefella, have made this style a must rock idea because of the way she slays it effortlessly both in Ankara and other materials.
In all aso-ebi styles you see on social media, gowns should be about 75%. It gives room for creative ideas, allows more styles. You can add other materials like nets, satins or frills to make a unique style. You have so many styles to pick from, either a short gown, a-line piece, mermaid, gown with slits, e.t.c.
- Iro and Buba
The unique bride style is often called the the iyawo style. The outfit for every bride especially from the South West area. Majority of the people seen in these styles are married or in their late 40s and above. But then, do you know you can still rock iro and buba even in your twenties. Yes, you can! A buba can be designed in a modern way to make people doubt if you are wearing iro and buba or not. Just have a body for the wrap iro or else!
- White Agbada
I know we already talked about agbada earlier on but who can deny the charm our men give in that unique white agbada. It is fast becoming a uniform for the Ore Oko (Groom’s friends). It is mostly paired with a ‘fila’ of the same colour picked for the groom. That doesn’t end there. It gives you more opportunity to come with any white material of your choice.You have to make the best of it and give the people the best entrance ever!
- Be creative
Not everyone is a fan of rocking the same outfit with everyone at an event. You can get the colour of the day from the celebrant and come up with a design of your choice. There are so many styles to pick from, so many runway ideas to choose from. It is not a must to wear native to a wedding or any ceremony. Be in sync with the colour of the day and that’s all. Many people wear dinner gowns, pants and suits as their own aso-ebi and they will easily blend with the rest as long as they get it right with the colour.
The most important of it all is do you, be happy! You can always slay on a budget or be as rich and elegant as you can be, depending on the type of oil in your rig.