The pillars of Senegalese Ethnic Wear (Woman)

Hello y'all!
It has been a while since I posted in this blog. I am starting to think that having two (three) different blogs is not necessarily a good idea.
Anyway, I have been working on this post since I moved back home in April 2016. Everywhere I went, women were dressed in Senegalese ethnic attire and I could not help but (re) noticing its beauty. I wanted to talk about it more on the blog. However it would be hard to showcase the latest trends in Senegalese ethnic wear without introducing the basics, the core of it all.

Over the years, Senegalese traditional or ethnic wear has been largely influenced by Western, Indian and Middle Eastern fashion. However, there are still some basics to it all, what I call the pillars of Senegalese traditional wear, the core which the entire fashion industry gets its influences. Here there are:

Boubou (Grand Boubou)

The Boubou is an oversized kaftan that arrives below the knee or is floor length. It often comes with a wrap around skirt and a scarf. Those two elements can match the Boubou which means that they are cut from the same cloth or they can come from another fabric altogether. The "Grand Boubou" as we call it,  is often made from fabrics such as Bazin, (Getzner being the trend now)) that can be used as they are or died. The Boubou is a style that older women favor for it camouflages all body flaws. Moreover, it has a certain elegance that only mature women can pull off. But anybody can rock it. I own a simple Grand Boubou died in rainbow color with a pink wrap around skirt and matching scarf.

Singer Titi in her painted Boubou

Dyed Boubou or Thioub

Embroidered Boubou 


The Ndocket or Taille Mame or commonly known as "Robe" these days is a type of empire waist or cinched waist maxi dress. It can also be worn with a matching skirt and scarf. Nowadays the trend is to have it really fitted to show all the curves. But back in the old days there were loser. I really do like this style because it does suit anyone from young to old. Furthermore, our designers are so creative that you can find all kinds of styles on the streets recently. They even became the outfit of choice for events.

Taille Basse

This one is by far my favorite for it just personifies women's sexiness. The Taille Basse is a peplum top with a matching skirt or wrap around skirt. When I was a kid, the Taille Basse came with a top, a skirt and a matching scarf that you tied around the waist. The top was also off shoulders or Xapati in our local language. Now, the style of choice is to have the skirt in mermaid style so as to show all the lower curves. It is also stylish to mix fabric and pattern for the top and bottom part. If I was not so self conscious about my curves, I would own several Taille Basse by now for they are so elegant and sexy.

Bustier style Taille Basse worn by singer Aida Samb

Singer and dancer Oumou Sow with her pink and golden Taille Basse

There you have it. All three pillars of Senegalese traditional wear. Anything else you may see on the streets, is just a variation of these three.

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