Hijab & Traditional West African Clothing

Salam ladies=)

Here I am, trying to make a consistent, to-the-point, interesting and hopeful (maybe?) article to the Hijab & series.

As you can see from the title, this one will be about traditional West African clothing, YAAY=)This idea popped into this little of mine after reading some hijabi posts featuring gorgeous traditional Asian outfits.

This article will mainly focus on 'boubou' (bubu). Boubous might be Africa's most renowned piece of clothing, there's one for every occasion, from weddings to weekend cleanings -literally! You can get different cuts, fabrics, patterns, textures, possibilities are endless!

The outfit consists of 3 sections: 
  • Boubou: the top piece used to cover the upper body, with variable lenght, width and cut
  • Pagne: a wrap-around skirt that goes from hips to ankles, unvariable lenght, widht or cut
  • Headscarf: long, narrow scarf to wrap around one's head, unvariable lenght, widht or cut

    A type of boubou called demi-saison

    Interestingly enough, it seems the Boubou was introduced after the area's islamization as a go-to outfit for people, it acutally is what we call a traditional form of hijab. However, it doesn't pass the hijab test.
    • 99 % of the time, there is a wide neckilne, which reveals the neck and back area.
    • The fabric of the top section can be very sheer.

    Back exposure

      It wasn't something that a tank top couldn't fix before, but the hijabi that I am needs more now! I've noticed that women that want extra modesty wear what is called a 'kaal', a long shawl, to cover themselves, but the result is not satisfying to me, it looks a little bulky.

      I've been thinking about all these things for a while, I want to wear traditional clothing, without it being immodest or old-looking/weird-looking, so how do we work this out? This article deals with just that -hopefully!

      1. Be proactive! If you can, have you outfits tailor-made, that way, you'll be able to explain your needs and wants. I suggest a tunic-like top, with long sleeves that gather at the wrist and a mandarin-like collar, that way, you can get away with it and will not have to add anything!

       The collar isn't exactly a mandarin one, but the neck area is covered

      2. Add turtleneck. The turtleneck will cover every exposed area: neck, back and chest area. Pick one that is a similar color to the boubou. This option will keep you modest and warm, which is why it would work better in the colder months.

      3. Add scarf. Put a similar-colored scarf loosely from shoulder to shoulder to cover exposed areas.

      4. Wear hijab! As simple as that, but we're going to add a twist to our regular hijab, using our headscarf as an underscarf. That way, the outfit will look put together and not like 'alien pieces' have been added. I've haven't been able to provide with a picture, but I think you'll get the general idea=)

      So hopefully, these few things might help some ladies out. Thanks to these tips, I have solved these issues and I can rock my boubous while remaining modest!

      Let me know how you adjust your traditional clothes to your hijab! Salam=)

      Unstamped pictures are from the Afrodiziak Touch, Wikipedia and Complexe Chalar websites


      Anonymous said...

      Salam Aleyki wa rahmatoullah

      Dienaba, ca fait plaisir de lire ton blog.
      C'est d'autant un plaisir que ca permet de travailler et mon style et mon anglais. hihi..

      Fanty, de Nouakchott (Mauritanie).

      MsDieynaba said...

      Ca me fait plaisir de recevoir un commentaire envoyé depuis la Mauritanie, ça c'est sûr :)

      Aafiah said...

      Assalaamu alaykum, thank you for this post, I am Ghanaian and I reverted to Islam about 1 and a half years ago now. It is now that I am able to see what the Muslims women of west Africa wear. This post is both informative and interesting and I will now be looking to get some traditional African-hijabi clothes made. JazakaAllah khayran!

      MsDieynaba said...


      Welcome to the community of our beloved Prophet, sister :)

      Helping people figuring out how to dress modestly is the reason why I created this blog. I'm happy you enjoyed it :)

      MsDieynaba said...

      @Aafiyah: Oh, let me know if you need anything else!