Dressing Guide for Different Occasions in Nigeria

Dressing guide
Written by Robin Okwanma

It’s cool to dress and look good at every opportunity- that is the ultimate delight of fashion geeks. However, you need to apply some discernment in choosing the right outfits to match different occasions. Each occasion or event has its own codes of dressing and conduct – spoken and unspoken. Thus we recommend that you follow the basic tips below, in our dressing guide for different occasions in Nigeria. 


We know getting your dressing right for any occasion may get a bit tricky. It would require putting your mirror and imagination to work. The tips below may need to be applied in slightly different ways, depending on your culture (or which part of the world you live in). But as a Nigerian, our dressing guide below should be adequate. You only need to apply your creativity to look unique and appropriately stylish to suit the occasion. You also need to pay appropriate attention to the right accessories that will match your outfit. 

Business/Formal Outings and Job Interviews

Dressing protocols for the modern office environment have only slightly changed in the last few years. We know that creative fields such as media stations, technology, design, even engineering, as well as sales/marketing, usually allow some dressing down. It is often a casual-formal dress mode on a normal office day; and at times it is largely casual on a hectic day. 

It is not out of place to see both men and women in trousers, jackets, all manner of shirts, caps, and the like.  Nevertheless, smartness is key in such environments. But note that the iconic suit, tie, office shirts, pencil (or flared) skirts, and gowns are the trademark of the modern office. Modernity cannot entirely erase that. You need to look professional in and around the office and on formal occasions, if you are to be taken seriously. And a job interview setting is not an exception. 

A good dressing guide would be to ensure that your ensemble includes a neat formal shirt on smart trousers (with tie, for the men). For ladies, a smart pencil skirt or office trousers is adequate. Otherwise present yourself in a smart formal gown or dress. Nothing should be too loud. Also, wear very moderate makeup. At no time should you assume a pair of jeans is suitable for a job interview – that is way too casual. 

Business-Casual (or Semi-Formal) Events

Semi-formal events such as corporate dinners, send-forth and award ceremonies, valedictory services and the like, are formal outings with just some touch of the casual. Take care to dress to appeal, without putting anyone off with the bogus. You need to wear what is ethically acceptable to onlookers with just some dash of style. You can pull off the professional and confident look, and still appear classy and relaxed all at once. 

A critical dressing guide for ladies going for a business-casual (or a fully formal) event is to avoid bogus, multi-patterned, or outrightly sexy outfits. Overtly exposed chests, skin and thighs are a No-No – that’s the wrong environment. It will simply be an unwanted distraction. Ensure your outfit presents you as a respectable person – it is good to keep your skin adequately covered.

Corporate suits, skirts and dresses are excellent as usual. Pair them up with classy, neat shoes (for men); and high or low heels shoes (or sandals) and smart bags (for women). You might want to add a noble pair of shades and a stately hat. Keep your makeup and jewelry moderate.  

Weddings, Religious and Cultural Festivals 

If you are the typical Nigerian party bird, you would not want to miss the iconic ‘Owambe’ gatherings so typical of Saturdays. Weddings are at the top of the list. And very often, the group or family wear nicknamed ‘Aso-ebi’ often comes handy to bail you out, should you buy it. You would not need to turn your wardrobe upside-down looking for the perfect party wear. 

In any case, native outfits in the form of wrapper and stylish blouse; and stylish skirt and blouse for women are often the norm. ‘Buba’ or ‘Dashiki’ with ‘Agbada’; Senator or lace tops; ‘Isi Agwu’ tops are typical male Nigerian party dresses. Expect to see these styles sewn from beautiful clothing materials such as Batik, Ankara, Tie and Dye, Lace, George, Suede, Atiku, and ‘Aso-oke’ and more. They come in an assortment of exciting designs you can choose from, God willing, with the help of a creative tailor or designer.  

Festive social gatherings (as is the case here) offer an opportunity to show off your unique beauty and dress sense in creative ways. Don’t be surprised that people will ‘dress to kill’, so to speak. You are at liberty to select appealing accessories, shoes and bags that will make you appear truly glamorous. Be conscious about matching colors. And particularly work on your makeup so it comes out flawless. Because you want to look your best, feel free and enjoy the day. 

Birthday and Dinner Parties

How you dress for a birthday party depends on the age range of the celebrant and his/her invitees. A typical dressing guide would go in the following fashion. For a kid’s birthday, adults can expect to dress casual, relaxed, and a bit colorful. For teens, casual and care-free is often the norm (and pray they don’t lose decorum). 

But a birthday party whose celebrant is an adult can be quite colorful. You can apply a similar rule to dinner parties. You might want to give your best look and look impressive – especially when trusted friends/colleagues, bosses, celebrities and dignified people are invited. 

As a lady, you should look glamorous with your choice of shoes, purse/bag, hairdo, gown or dress that exude confidence and sexy appeal. For the men – nothing beats your well-starched and/or ironed designer shirt with an open topmost button on elegant shoes or sandals. Complete that with a noble wristwatch, a silk scarf in a shirt pocket, and perhaps a man’s necklace (with or without an appealing pendant). 

Finally, a well-chosen fragrance or perfume will leave a lasting impact on anyone who interacts with you during that event. 

Beach or Pool Parties

Well – beach parties are obviously not a formal setting. They are typically fun spots. Every attendee would be eager to show off their skins. Ladies would likely want to show off their  attractive features – especially legs, buttocks and bellies. And guys would want to show off their trim or muscular frames. 

So – pairing a bikini with a free-flowing maxi-dress (or kimono) is ideal. Guys should sport neat, attractive shorts and/or boxers, a beach suit or swimsuit. Colorful; overalls, skirts and tops – with attractive designs and/or colors, look just trendy. Throw in some fun sandals (and slippers), sunglasses, hats and the like to balance off the cool, casual look.   


A funeral is a place for sober behavior and dressing, since family and friends are typically mourning the loss of a loved one. That naturally calls for a toned-down but respectable dressing. You should not be creating any special impression or trying to attract anyone in such a situation. Show respect to both the dead and the living. 

Even though black (or dark-colored) outfits are often the norm, a good dressing guide would be to stay simple and formal. However, in Nigeria (and perhaps elsewhere in Africa), the family wear or ‘Aso-ebi’ is becoming common and would not be out of place. As usual, nothing glamorous is needed. 



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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.