The Gele (African head wrap) dates back to centuries ago. Back then, it was a symbol of wealth, any woman wearing it would usually hail from a prestigious family. The headdress ‘gele’ turns a ‘plain Jane’ to an African princess instantly.
The African headdress is a fashion statement, you make a statement each time you step out wearing it. It’s part of our culture; we have a very rich heritage as Africans,which we should be proud of. We need to showcase these African wraps to the outside world.
At Ojulewa Studios, we have a variety of African headdresses depending on the bride’s tribe, her personality and her facial structure. We have the following bridal head wraps (Gele’s) that would be ideal for Nigerian traditional weddings;
The Butterfly Gele by Ojulewa Studios . This is the most common type of bridal gele. It is skillfully wrapped round the bride’s head with pleats at the front and ends with two wings. The butterfly gele is wider at the tail end of the headdress, you can make it less dramatic by reducing the height of the gele.
Ayaba Gele by Ojulewa Studios. Ayaba means ‘Kings Wife’ and this gele is definitely fit for a queen. The pleats come forward with a beautiful knot.
Abebe Gele by Ojulewa Studios. This gele features beautifully symmetrically laid out layers which are taped to one-side of the bride’s head. It’s less dramatic it also supports most face shapes, so most brides can have fun with this style!
Oleku Gele by Ojulewa Studios. The Oleku headdress is high and deep. For shorter brides, this style would make you appear taller, creating an illusion of a taller you. The Oleku dates back to the 70s but it’s been reinvented and it’s back with a bang for the daring bride.
Double Gele by Ojulewa Studios. This gele style is very common with brides from the Urhobo speaking part of Delta state in Nigeria. This is a major bridal gele that consists of two colors, which would normally complement each other. Layering helps the end result appear more subtle. Brides from other tribes have also started experimenting this gele style because of it’s uniqueness. NOTE: When choosing colors, be careful to pick great colors and also make sure they complement each other.
Take-A-Bow Gele by Ojulewa Studios. This is definitely a charmer, it’s very subtle but elegant. One of the most beautiful features is the bow in front of the headdress. It is simple but very classy and stylish, good for the bride’s after party.
Ice Cream Gele by Ojulewa Studios. We also have the Ice cream head wrap also called the ‘Onilegogoro gele’ or ‘high scraper gele’. This style is fuller and is very common in the United States. This is better for a plus-size bride as it complements her physically. It is also very dramatic.
Whilst we have approximately 20 different styles of headdresses, it’s important for every bride to identify a style of gele that would give the best fit for the shape of her head shape and her personality. My advice to brides would be;
- Choose a color of gele that would warm up to your skin
- Have a trial gele session with your makeup artist
- Have fun as you chose the most eye-catching and exciting gele style for yourself as a Bride
- Wear it, own it, it’s your DAY, Enjoy your Big Day!
We’re grateful to Ojulewa Studios for putting this lovely article together. If you would like to get in touch with Ojulewa Studios, please see contact details below
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