Dressing down?

When I started work at my current firm, we were told not to ever put on our native wears, commonly called trads, at anytime whatsoever, it is termed ‘dressing down’. I understood their point of view because it is not exactly a Nigerian company but a global network of firms.
The one that I found hard to understand was my church, my church also does not allow its workers (in which I am one of them) to put on trads. You can only put on English wears, trousers are not allowed for ladies. also, we don’t sing Nigerian praises (Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa or English), we only sing foreign songs. Just come to my church on either thanks giving Sunday or new year’s crossover service, you will see another side of the church. I will mention here that these two services are when we are allowed to wear trads and sing Nigerian praise. For me, this points to the fact that Nigerians can’t fully feel free until they get down to their roots. During these services, I am always amazed at the demeanor of my church members, it changes totally. From the ‘bigz boiz and galz’ to ordinary people like me, the transformation is always mind-boggling.
After a session of training I had in church, I had about 2 months break before starting another session and so I took the advantage of this and wore my trads, trousers, etc. When the 2nd session of training was to start, a church colleague laughed at me and said, “shey you were enjoying your period of ‘dressing down’”? It then made me to wonder, what is this about? Why would Nigerians call wearing English clothes dressing up and calling wearing Nigerian clothes dressing down?


  1. In obedience to your commandment.....
    Your firm sounds like a firm I used to wirk for.
    And your church uncannily sounds like the church I attend. Which is part of the reasons I do not work with those that have to dress up. I do not like to conform.
    My first time here and loving it!

  2. It's sad that we can't appreciate and celebrate what's ours. For your firm, although i don't agree with the policy of not wearing trads but given the lack of enlightment in our business( and other)environment in Nigeria, i can understand why they practice that policy, given that an idiot in a two piece suit is thought to now more than a genius in a danshiki. Appearance matters especially when it comes to getting people to invest in your business. But how does wearing trads affect the way, manner or sincerity of your praise and worship of God? I can't get it round my head and i don't think i'll bother trying. It just shows that even when we are in the presence of our Maker, we still focus on the what's worldly. Or it could be your church only wants a select type of people to come and worship or they see trads as a distraction or they're trying to imbibe a cultivated foreign way of doing things or the head of the church doesn't wear trads, afterall there other churches where the congregation imitates the head of the church instead of focusing or imitating the real HEAD OF THE CHURCH. I don't have all the facts and i really shouldn't judge. But what's good is that you've a choice, you can resign from your job and change where you worship OR you keep your trads in your closet. That's God's gift that no one can take from you. FREE WILL.

  3. I'll say they r being blind to their culture and roots, and have taken up d western ways.We both know that this is 'unreal' of we Africans. i think organisations in Africa should be proud of their heritage and embrace it,regardless of weda its an international one or not..K5

  4. @ tobenna: thanx for droppin by and obeying my commandment. i pray for time day when i will be free to express myself in dressing like you. i'm sure it's coming very soon.

    @ martins: thanxs. you sound like i don't have a choice. well, i chose my place of worship and i choose to remain there, only that i will like more of the thanksgiving sundays when i can 'baraje' small.

    @anonymous: i agree with you. nigeria is so rich in culture due to our ethnic diversity.

  5. lovely blogs, couldnt comment on all of em cos i printed them out, but i consciously had to make this one...

    i'm with you almost all the way, but at the point you say "Why would Nigerians call wearing English clothes dressing up and calling wearing Nigerian clothes dressing down?" i disgree with you...you can dress down irrespective of what you wear. when you're "formally" dressed either in native or english clothing and you begin to remove the 'tie', 'jacket', 'agbada', 'fila' then you are dressing down! not when you wear native! therefore ankara top and jeans implies dressing down as formal shirt and formal pants equally implies dressing down.

  6. @ Mayowa: you are very right, I neva thought of it that way. But in the context of this post, even if you wear the complete traditional thing, the church and the firm will say you are dressing down.


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