Meru traditional wear

There is a natural hair festival coming up sometime in March around where I live if you are a woman you might have an idea of what I am talking about.  The dress code is “rock your culture”. This made me ask questions about what our ancestors wore before there were jeans, khakis, fancy dresses, blouses and shirts. What did we wear?

My mother bless her heart, was happy to teach me some history as she was taught so I gave her a quick call. We wore cowhide that had been cured over a period of time in nondo and maguta ja mbariki until it was soft enough to tie around.

The male type of dress was passed around one shoulder and fastened at the waist with a rope made from the same cowhide.

Women wore a skirt tied around their waist fastened by a rope of course made of cowhide. Here is where it gets very interesting women in ancient Meru walked around with their breasts slapping the air and competing for space with oxygen. Yeah, there was no garment to cover their breasts, boobs, mammary glands or whatever your palate fancies. Of course, they had beads draped around the neck that sat on the chest area.

Meru women wear, Kenya

Boys and girls wore children versions of the same. My mind cannot imagine how women actually walked around, had conversations and lived entire lives bare-chested.

Our traditional wear is very similar to the Kikuyu traditional wear in case you spot any similarities.We wore no shoes just in case you were wondering.

Fast forward to 2018 and I am still thinking about this hair festival and how I’m supposed to attend rocking my culture, you know the everyday dress that my Meru women ancestors wore.  My culture involves walked around with my boobs telling everyone good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night.

Now that we have covered everyday wear we’ll talk about ceremonial dresses/wear some time. If you have some info, hit us up on

9 Comments to “Meru traditional wear”

  1. Siggy

    As a woman, I don’t see anything wrong with going shirtless. It’s just modern society that makes us ashamed of our bodies. During hot weather, it would be great to be able to do it without people thinking it’s weird.

  2. Mukami

    To me there’s nothing more natural than women going around bare-chested. The only reason they can’t nowadays is thanks to Western influence that sexualised our bodies. I don’t see why a woman’s chest should be ‘censored’ just because we got more flesh on our chests compared to men. (And if you can’t see the point I’m making, ask yourself why men with ‘man-tiddies’ don’t get the same response as women when they basically have breasts too! Breasts are not the problem–its the gender.) Imagine we used to live in peace with all that skin showing for ages (and nobody disrespecting each other about it!) and now you’ll find Africans shaming their women for showing skin. Tumeacha tamaduni 😂. Tumejiwekea standards za a perverted western culture and now we see through their eyes. My two cents (+ ing’otore biîri) lol.


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