Aso okes make events in yorubaland look colourful and festive, especially wedding ceremonies. Aso okes exude class, elegance, and strong ties to the yoruba culture. Little wonder, today brides and grooms in yorubaland readily choose aso oke as their preferred outfit for traditional wedding, and members of the bridal train also partake in wearing it.
In the past, aso oke was the only fabric used in making ceremonial garments for wedding ceremonies and for royalty. Not everybody had access to an aso oke set, because it was regarded as special and exclusive. However, this would change as the years rolled by, thanks to industrialization. Today, brides and grooms in yorubaland can choose from among a wide variety of fabrics to wear for their weddings. Nonetheless, aso oke remains relevant, and even preferred above all other options by some persons. It signifies strong yoruba heritage, and a deep regard for yoruba culture. Furthermore, it is exclusive to the yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria, much unlike ankara, lace and gini fabrics that are worn and patronized by many other tribes in Nigeria.
Aso oke involves two components, distinct for each gender. For the females, it includes a blouse called Búbá, and a wrapper called Iró. The Iró is tied around the bride’s waist and is made to thoroughly cover her waist, hips and knees. In many cases, it goes all the way down to her ankles. This is characteristic of ancient yoruba culture, which was highly conservative – much unlike the contemporary approaches to dressing where ladies wear tight, short skirts or gowns with slits. The Iró is complemented with a blouse called Búbá, which is usually of the same colour and fabric as the Iró. The whole outfit is complemented with a special traditional headgear called Gélé, which is often also made from the same material as the Iró and Búbá. Many also wear special traditional beads and jewellery to accentuate their looks, and they also often add jewelled bags and shoes, and even a fancy handfan!
For the men, the elements are significantly different. Male aso oke includes a blouse called Búbá, a trouser (usually oversized) called Sókótó, and a matching cap called Fílá. Typically, the Búbá, Sókótó and Fílá are made from the same material, and in most cases, the men also add beads and aso oke Ágbádá to the mix.
However, all this is at the ordinary level. Luxury aso oke set for today’s bride and groom includes more than just the above-mentioned elements. The brides, in particular, have introduced precious stones and crystals into their aso oke. So it is not uncommon to see a bride’s aso oke and gele having rhinestones, crystals and all forms of jewellery. In fact, it is also not uncommon for brides to wear two or three different aso okes for the same occasion!
The best and most luxurious aso okes for today’s brides and grooms involve all of these elements and more. Perfectly complementary, crystals and precious stones, and breath-taking accessories are part of the elements included.