So What Is A Gele?
Gele is the Yoruba word for (A woman’s) Head wrap. In the Igbo culture it is called Ichafu.
It is a large rectangular cloth tied on a woman’s head in a variety of fashions. The material used to make the gele is usually of a stiff, but flexible, nature e.g. Aso-oke (thickly woven silk), Brocade (cotton) and Damask. These materials come in a wide array of colors, patterns and textures. The bigger the cloth (and the greater the skill) the more elaborate the look.
Gele tying is an Art form that takes practice, patience and often times a well-toned arm, but once tied, a Gele can make any woman look regal. Every Gele is unique and there is no true formula to achieve the exact look twice. If you take a closer look, you will see that no two Geles (once tied) are alike.
We absolutely love Gele’s because not only are they tied in various styles but they are an aspect of culture that make women feel beautiful no matter the occasion. The style and color of the Gele can be a reflection of your mood, style or personality. Creativity is key ;-)
1. Since Geles are such glamorous statement pieces, the should be complemented (not over shadowed) with the right amount of jewelry and make up. TOO much of either can be overwhelming.
2. Gele tend to draw attention to the face, expecially the eyes, so having well groomed/shaped eyebrows, and flawless makeup are a huge plus.
3. If you cannot tie the piece yourself, ask a friend to help.
4. Make use of Bobby and Safety pins to achieve a desired style.
Here are a few breath taking Gele looks…
Photos Courtesy of
Ade Adetayo Photography