All the women and a lot of men in our village can regularly be seen wearing an article of clothing called a “laplap.” A laplap is a wrap around skirt, roughly five and a half feet long and about three feet wide. Locally, it can be purchased in our provincial capital at the main market or even in some stores. They vary in colors and designs.
Obviously, seeing women wearing skirts is nothing new, but we’ve also grown accustomed to seeing men wear these things around. I don’t even notice now when I see a grown man walking around in a skirt. Even before we lived in the village, when we lived in a different province, seeing a man walking around in his laplap was a common occurrence.
Usually, around our village the men wearing laplaps are middle-aged or older. Its a fashion that seems to be vanishing as the younger generation continues to adopt western style dress.
Technically, I have my own laplap, but I’ve never worn it outside… It feels too weird. For one, like I mentioned above, usually the men I see wearing laplaps are much older. Also, up until recently I wasn’t even sure how to wear it. I had heard that there was a male way of wearing your laplap and a female way. Clearly, I didn’t want to walk around the village looking like a woman in my skirt!
Still, I thought it would be good to learn how to wear it, just in case there was ever a time I had the boldness to go for it. So, here are my findings:
Your “Official Guide to Wearing your Laplap: Tigak Edition.”
First, hold your laplap in both hands from end to end behind your back, level with your waist.
Second, take your right hand and bring that end of the laplap to your left hip.
Third, take your left hand and bring it around to near your right hip, allowing it to hold the end on your left hip in place.
Ok, this is where things get tricky.
Fourth, while using your right hand to hold one end of the laplap to your right hip, use your left hand to loosen a small center portion of fabric from your first stretch on your waist. Then using the end of the laplap in your right hand, wrap it around the center loosened fabric several times, while using your left hand to hold the center area.
Sixth, and finally, tuck the remainder of the end fabric into your laplap. If the two end of your laplap appear to be level at the bottom, you have successfully tied your laplap. Congratulations! If not, start over and repeat steps one through six.
As you can probably tell in the pictures, I’m not very good at it. Like I said, I have yet to muster the boldness to walk around the village in it!
There are also other ways that we have seen people where their laplaps, including this one I call The Caesar. One guy in our village can often be seen sporting The Caesar.
The Where’s Waldo?
Apparently it doesn’t need to be cold out to wear a scarf.
The Pseudo Superhero
When we’ve seen this one, its been on kids.
And there you have it. You are now an EXPERT at wearing a laplap! 🙂