How to Tie a Nigerian "Gele" Using Aso-oke.




About: I am a Nigerian, born and bred! I am African to the bone and I am so proud of my heritage! I am in my early twenties, and currently in college, trying to make something out of myself.I am fun-loving, love t...

In Western Africa, Nigeria to be precise, the "gele" is an accessory worn with a traditional Nigerian outfit. It is usually worn by females with a traditional attire, for specail occasions like weddings, naming ceremonies, burials, church services, and religious celebrations.

The gele can be tied with different textures of cloth material, but it is usually tired with an aso-oke.
The aso-oke is a hand woven material , it  is popular amongst the western part of Nigeria and varies in colors and texture.

The aso-oke is usually found in fashion stores in Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa.
For foreigners who do not live in this country, there are websites that sell them online,

I have never used any of them, hence I can not vouch for their authenticity, below is a url of one of
such websites :

For all those culturally diverse and broadminded females out there, this is a great skill to learn! So hop on and let's go on a fashion journey through a diverse culture.

Step 1: Spreading Out the "gele"

The first step is to spread out the aso-oke, and tie on the head firmly, like you would tie a typical head scarf.

The aso-oke can vary in texture and length. As a beginner,it is advised to use a "gele" with medium length and texture, to prevent things from getting too complicated.

To stand out in the crowd, use a multicolored aso-oke, if you are comfortable with just looking nice and not making a statement with your "gele", then a plain colored aso-oke will do just fine.

Step 2: Tying the Base of the "gele"

 For a "gele" to come out looking good, it needs to have a very strong base.

To ensure this, place the aso-oke firmly on your head and tie the back of the scarf ( the two ends),into a knot, like you would tie a typical headscarf.

Make sure it is tight enough, but be cautious not to make it too tight, because you can get a headache if it is too tight.

Step 3: Securing the Base and Rolling the Tips.

Once the scarf has been placed on the head and the knot firmly tied, take the material hanging from

the left side of the head scarf and start rolling it from the back of the head/scarf all the way to the front,

repeat step for the material hanging from the right hand side.

Step 4: Tucking in The"ends" of the "gele".

After rolling both ends of the "gele", gently tuck them in at opposite sides to secure them from getting loose.

Try to do this applying as little pressure as possible, you do not want to make it too tight.

Good job! A few more steps and you will create an ideal "gele"!

Step 5: The Final Step

After the ends have been tucked in, adjust the front and the back of the "gele", by ensuring both sides sit well on the head. Only make adjustments where necessary.

After this is completed,congratulations! You have just tied your first Nigerian "gele".

Kudos for a job well done!

Wear the "gele" with a traditional beads to make it stand out and look cultural, below is a url containing pictures of Nigerian traditional beads;

Please bear in mind that I am not endorsing these website as I have not used their services yet.

If you cannot afford to purchase new beads, a nice beaded necklace or a very simple silver necklace and earrings will do just fine.



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    11 Discussions


    Question 9 months ago on Introduction

    Asking with much trepidation because twice I've set off firestorms when all I wanted was an answer to my question. I am white and a US citizen. I cover for spiritual reasons and have done so for years. I wear what I like, but recently have hit flak from women accusing me of cultural appropriation. It's not. Covering is very much part of my culture although there are no specifically required styles.

    I don't understand the term "cultural appropriation". People have been copying things they liked from other cultures ever since the Ug tribe ventured half a mile into the forest and encountered the Og people.

    It's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, however when I ask for explanation a rash of anger erupts, but you can't fix a problem if you can't define it. So, respectfully, when does sincere imitation cross the line into cultural appropriation? May I incorporate the beautiful pleating technique into my own wraps? Would the ladies of Nigeria be upset to see me wearing a gele, and if so, why? What line would I have crossed?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    At last I found a tutorial on Gele, I am so glad you posted this. I  love Nigerian attire but don't know how to tie Gele, so I leave it out. But I will give this a try.

    Thanks for a lovely and carefully explained tutorial.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for educating people on how to tie an Aso Oke  head wrap. Dupsie's African Clothing is an authentic African Clothing store. All our items are authentic and made in Africa. We carry various types of Aso-Oke's (SIlk, Net, Double Net, Damask Aso Oke, Metallic Aso-Oke and more) Here is a link to the Aso-Oke's we have:

    Thank you once again for the post.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent! I saw this headdress at a festival a few days ago and wondered how it was done!

    Good timing!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much for your wonderful comments. Glad you found it helpful.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You're so pretty!

    I learned how to tie one of these from a website a few months back and was actually wearing a variation to keep my head warm today (dropped below 50*F in my area). I love how snug they are and how they keep my hair out of the way :3

    GREAT 'ible.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the comments.. The girl in the picture is not me though, fyi ;-)...