‘ Gele' is simply a piece of fabric wrapped intricately around the head. It is a complement to the full regalia of the African woman. To a connoisseur, the style of ‘ gele' you wear could determine what part of the Africa you are from, which depends on the fabric texture. Higher and bigger styles are achieved better, with stiff or thicker fabrics. The fitting on the crown also depends on the face type and head shape. A style that looks good on one person may not look good on another.
The crown of a woman is her head and what sits on it and what is contained in it. Her head is the bearer of grace, honor, beauty, and personality. In ancient times the woman had to cover her head as a sign of honor to God when she had to pray or go to the temple. Today, ‘ gele' is the naija-centric symbol of a well dressed Nigerian woman ready for an ‘owambe' (local ceremony).
‘ Fila Oge' (literarily means the cap of style) is another name for ‘gele', head-tie, or head gear. It is a traditional ceremonial head piece that requires special skills to wrap. These days, there are people who wrap head gears for a living, because of the intricacy of making the wrap, pre-wrapped head gears have been innovated, and Customized ones are also made, such that it is kept and stored in hat boxes, for people who can not be bothered with the art of making it from scratch.
There many ways to making head wraps of different styles. Here are steps to making a simple style.
1. Fold the head wrap to a width of about six inches. This can be achieved by folding the piece in half lengthwise twice. The softer and smaller the fabric, the easier to wrap for beginners.
2. Wrap the piece around your head with the right extending about one and half of the left side.
3. Tuck in the left piece and keep the tips out while crossing the right piece over; also keep the tip the right piece out.
4: Pull both tips as in making a knot tightly. Tuck in the left tip while pulling the right tip.
5. Tuck in the right piece only from the point where it touches the left piece but without pulling too much.
6: You could turn the bow gently to the front or side, or leave it at the back.
7: Spread out the tips to like a rose petal look, or pin the two tips for a different style.
Play around with your piece of fabric with the mind of coming up with different styles. There is no single way to make head wraps. Create your signature, do your own thing as long as it looks good on you .
Preserve your fabric with spray starch.