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Our Top 10 Isicholos and Zulu Traditional Attire Items to Own

The largest ethnic group in South Africa, the Zulu, has a vibrant and rich culture, which is reflected in their traditional clothing. I’ll be sharing elements of traditional Zulu clothing in this article that you can use to spice up your wardrobe.

The significance of Zulu beadwork

Zulu beadwork is an essential part of Zulu traditional attire. Beadwork is used to decorate clothing, jewelry, and other accessories. The beadwork is made up of different colors, each representing a specific meaning. For instance, blue represents the sky, green represents the land, and white represents purity.

Beadwork is not only used for decoration; it also has cultural significance. For example, when a Zulu woman gets married, she wears a beaded necklace that represents her marital status. The color of the necklace indicates whether she is a newlywed or an elder in the community.

Zulu hat (Isicholo): 

The shape of the isicholo, or married woman’s hat, originated from a conical hairstyle worn in the 19th century as a sign of respect for one’s husband and his family as well as serving as a visible indicator of marital status. A detachable hat took its place as the hairstyle in the early 20th century.

Traditionally, married Zulu women wore the Isicholo, or Zulu hat, which is frequently adorned with vibrant beads and feathers.

The hat is a symbol of respect and dignity and is often worn during important events such as weddings and funerals.

Imvunulo, the traditional Zulu skirt:

The imvunulo, a traditional Zulu skirt worn by women, is frequently embroidered with beads. When attending significant occasions like weddings and coming-of-age ceremonies, the skirt is worn as a representation of femininity.

Zulu beaded necklaces:

Zulu beaded necklaces are colorful accessories that are available in various styles.

How to incorporate Zulu traditional attire into your wardrobe

Zulu beaded necklaces are one way to achieve this in your attire. To add a splash of color and cultural flair to your ensemble, pair a beaded necklace with a plain colored blouse or dress.

Another way to incorporate Zulu traditional attire into your everyday wardrobe is by wearing a Zulu-inspired headband. You can wear the headband with a simple outfit to add a touch of culture to your look.

Where can I buy authentic Zulu traditional attire?

If you are interested in buying authentic Zulu traditional attire, there are several places you can visit in South Africa. I would, however, direct you to a few online vendors who focus on African traditional clothing, including Zulu traditional attire.

Beaded vest, headband and belt. ORDER HERE
Order this HERE 2-piece; Mbata or isipango (Chest and back cover), Umqhele (Headband)

You can embrace the beauty and distinctiveness of this fashion by incorporating Zulu traditional clothing into your regular wardrobe. Please wear traditional Zulu clothing with reverence and appreciation for the culture it represents.

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