Gele is gaining in popularity in Nigeria. Tying gele is not easy, but you can do it yourself following our 10 steps.
Gele tying is an art and a while ago Nigerian women have abandoned it all together. It is all because of and the complication of this process. So, our question is how to tie gele in an easy way? How many methods are there and how to pick the perfect gele? Let’s find some answers.
The history of wearing gele in Nigeria is a long one. Women from Yoruba tribe used to wear them for hundreds of years. They knew how to tie bridal gele or the one worn for special occasions. Here are ten steps you can follow to tie your gele in a simplest way.
- Do your hair up
Even before you start mastering how to tie sego or bridal gele, you need to fix your hair. If you have long hair, gather it up and do it up in a knot or a pony tail. What you need for a perfect gele is a smooth foundation. Once you do the hair up, brush it well, especially around the forehead. Sort of smooth it up.
- Put a cover on
You may skip this part, if you have short or straight hair. Yet, if you have lots of hair or smooth hair, you may use an additional cover up. The same works well, if you are using transparent fabric gele.Here is a quick how to tie Nigerian gele tip for you.
You may use a piece of your old pantyhose or leggings leg for this head cover. Just cut off the lower part of it and put it on your head. You may use hair slides to fasten it there. This way, you create a better foundation for your gele. It won’t slide off your head. If the gele is transparent, the head cover would create more even color underneath it. And, it keeps your curly hair down and tight on the head.
- Make a fold
A traditional way to do it is to fold gele at one edge. It all depends on the girth of the scarf. If it is very wide, you can fold it almost by half. Or you can just bend one edge (10+ centimeters). You fold gele all the way to the other end of it. Make a nice crisp bend there and sort of press it together with your fingers. This way it would be easier for you to tie the headband.
- The short and long of it
Now you need to take it so, that the bend would be looking downward and unbent edge would go up. One of the ends should be short and the other one – long. It has to be able to wrap twice around your head.
- Adjust it to your head
Now, place the bent edge over your forehead. The shorter end should go all the way down to your nape (plus 10+15 cm). Press it closely against your head and put both ends down to your nape. Make sure gele covers your forehead and both ends cover up your ears.
- Cross the ends
At this point your gele has to stay tight on your head. Use the longer end to fasten the shorter one, so you would free up the other hand. You sort of place the short end under the long end and make its tail sticking out on the other side. Then you pull the longer end and fasten the shorter one. This way you can have one hand free to help you do the folds.
- Wrap it once
The first wrap goes all around your head. Watch the folds. This is when they need to be formed and shaped. Make sure that crisp bend is pressed nicely to your head. Make a small indent from the first layer of gele to shape more folds. Go all the way down to your nape.
- Wrap it twice
Go for the second wrap, making more folds. These folds are the essential part of gele’s beauty. This time you may make small pleats with your hands on the edge of the crease. You fold it up in small movements and press it down to your head. Go all the way down to the nape again and wrap it up.
- Tie it
Finally, you tie the two ends (they are of the same size by this time). You make a truelove knot, so it would not get untied and fall off you. The knot should be located on your nape or little bit on the side near one of your ears.
- Adjust gele
It’s time to adjust the gele at the topper part. You have that unfolded end sticking up. You need to round it up a bit and make few nice folds over your head. That’s it.
This is just the basic and simplest way of how to tie your gele. You can do it yourself with no help from someone else. It just takes a little practice. However, there are other more tricky ones. For instance, you may leave two long ends of the shawl and make one bend around the head with each of them. Or, you may create a zig zag pattern on your head.
In this case you would need two or even three scarfs of different colors. It looks really nice, if you make even and smooth zig zag. Another way to tie your gele is to make pleats. In this case you do not make the fold.
Instead you make pleats with your hands on one edge of gele and put the short end at your temple. You start rolling gele around your head and keep on making the pleats on its edge. You go round and round until you run out of the scarf. Then you tie a knot with two ends and adjust the other edge. This way you get many nice folds on your head. That’s a nice way how to tie your sego gele.
How do you pick your gele and what big names and brands are there?
The quality of fabric
Mainly Nigerian women pick geles made out of metallic fabric. They are airy and stylish. Plus, they can come in a diversity of colors. Nigerians do love color. However, most of such fabrics are synthetic. There are many organic options available, too.
When picking textiles for gele, you should prefer the light ones. They look nicer on the head and do not create that heavy and clumsy look. One of the best choices is pure cotton fabric. It does not make you feel hot and sweaty, while wearing your gele. It absorbs the moisture well and actually protects you from heat. Plus, it is not as smooth, as silk or synthetic fabrics. So there are fewer odds of having your gele slipping off, when you do not want it to.
One of the top names in gele is Segun. The businessman behind this name is Hakeem Oluwasegun Olaleye. He resides in Huston and he is a Nigerian. At some of time he noticed that Nigerian women stopped wearing geles. They felt those were too hard to tie, so they switched to western outfits and headwear.
He felt like it was a pity and started to offer his assistance for tying geles. He also taught others how to tie gele. At first his fees were small (around 10 dollars per gele). However, the man mastered to make a name for himself. Presently he can charge up to $1000 to tie a single bridal gele.
This gele professional gets booked for wedding year in advance.
He does amazing job, too. He decorates headbands with a range of things, including even feathers.
How can you decorate your gele?
If you have a unicoloured gele, you can decorate it with embroidery. It can be done with threads of ribbons. Such hand stitched geles look very sophisticated. Or the upper edge of the scarf can be trimmed with lace. Another way to decorate your gele is to pin some flowers on it.
This works awesome for a bridal gele. Once you tie the headband, you can pick some handmade flowers and just pin them on the scarf. This creates very unique and festive look. You can were such décor to a number of festive occasions.
Gele color and decorations to wear with it?
Mostly gele and its color should fall in line with the entire outfit. It can be contrasting in color with the dress. However, it can match in color your accessories, such as jewelry, purse, shoes, or dress decorations and embroidery. Gele color can also match the print color of the dress.
Plus, it can be accompanied by bright and creative makeup. You can match the headtie color with your earrings and beads or bracelets. Or you can wear another scarf on your shoulder and waist made of the same fabric as your gele.
Now you know how to tie gele. You do not need to pay anyone to do it or wait for anyone to come and give you a hand. Any time you want you can create a fashionable and unique look with the headtie and maybe even devise your own way of folding or tying it.
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