Waist beads are such a big deal in the fashion and aesthetics world today, but do you know why this is the case? And more importantly, what is the real reason why people wear waist beads?
Well, we’ll answer these questions below. But first, what are waist beads?
The waist beads refer to a popular accessory believed to have originated from parts of Africa. It features several small glass beads strung in a thin wire or string and is worn around the hips or the waist.
The heads used to come in a nice color array, and others may have some decorative crystals, charms, or stones.
Although the waist beads have been worn for many centuries by West African women, they are quite popular in the West. Today, the accessory is also known as a beaded waist chain, belly beads, and waist beads.
In the West African countries where the beads are native to, for example, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, etc., the waist beads are worn as a symbol of sensuality, femininity, fertility, and also spiritual well-being. Today, women across the world wear waist beads for practical reasons and aesthetics.
What is the purpose of waist beads?
Here are the main reasons why people wear the waist beads
1. Weight awareness
For most wearers of the waist beads, this accessory is essential in that it allows them to gauge their weight and changes in body weight.
It is considered a good alternative to the scale because the fit of the waist bead tells you if you have gained or lost some weight around the waist.
The waist beads are made of non-stretchy material, and if you gain weight, the beads sit higher on your waist or just feel tight; and if you lose weight, the waist bead falls down further towards the hips and also feels loose.
As a result, a waist bead is a great tool for promoting body positivity, especially because women of all shapes and sizes get to wear the waist beads comfortably.
Also, there are adjustable designs of waist beads, which is a great thing considering how the human body changes all the time and how your waist size changes all the time, for example, during your period when you get bloated or if you gain and lose weight over the years.
2. Fertility and Intimacy
Women have also worn the waist beads in more intimate settings because the waist beads are known to enhance sensuality. And with the association of the waist beads with fertility or the fact that some specific types of waist beads are believed to increase chances of conception during sex, it makes sense that these waist beads are quite popular.
There are other cultures where the waist beads are worn under clothing, specifically, and the wearer will only allow a specifically chosen partner to see it, the same way they would with a nice or special lingerie set.
In Ghana, for instance, large beads or even bells are incorporated into the beads when she is fertile, and these would make noise whenever she walks past a potential suitor.
There also are special waist beads meant specifically for pregnant women. These are believed to protect the mother, as well as the growing baby.
In some cultures and parts of the world, the waist beads are an important cultural tradition, and they are associated with growth, maturity, and womanhood.
This is often the case in the West African countries where mothers would tie the waist beads on their daughter’s waists after their first menstrual cycle, and this symbolized a sort of rite of passage to womanhood.
They were also given to girls during naming ceremonies. And outgrowing the beads would mean a transition to a new phase or stage of life.
Because the waist beads help the wearer become more aware of their stomach, it also makes them more aware of their posture.
Essentially, the waist beads fit differently depending on your breathing or sitting posture, and in most cases, the waist beads will remind you to not just sit upright but also to breathe better, engage your back, and also to engage your stomach muscles.
5. Pride and heritage
Today, people from all races and ethnicities wear the waist beads, but the truth is that the waist beads have African origins, unmistakably.
And the reason for the popularity of the waist beads among African women is that the waist beads represent the black women’s way of connecting to their ancestry and also to celebrate their cultural practices and their heritage.
So, while it’s worn by everyone today, black and brown women wear it to reflect the heritage that they are proud of.
Tips for wearing waist beads for your body health
If you want to wear waist beads for the reasons above, you need to choose the waist beads carefully. The good news is that the waist beads are very individualized, and you could wear them as you’d like.
You can wear single or multi-strand waist beads because the number doesn’t matter – all the waist beads represent the most powerful form of self-expression.
- Right size
For the best experience, ensure that you have the right size of waist bead. Follow these steps for correct sizing:
- First, determine where on your body you’d like the waist beads to sit on. Would you like this accessory high on your waist, down on the hips, or right on the belly button? This is the most important thing for you to take into consideration, and it will guide you through measuring the size of the waist bead.
- Use a tape measure to get the right measurement or a string. If you use a string, you’ll also need a ruler to measure the length between the two ends.
- When taking measurements, you should try not to tape or wrap the string too snugly against the body. Avoid taking tight measurements because if you do, you will end up with a waist bead that fits too tightly, and you would be uncomfortable and pretty much an exercise in futility.
- Remember that the waist bead is rather temporary because the strong used is non-stretchy, and also, there is often no clasp that would allow you to the beads on and off as frequently as you may want. Since this accessory is meant to sit on your body 24/7 and the fact that your body size or measurements will not be the same throughout the day, it shouldn’t be too loose. If you decide to remove the waist bead, you’d have to cut off the string.
- Choose the right color beads.
You may not have much control over this, but if you have an option to customize the waist bead, you should choose the right color for you and with your intentions in mind.
Blue beads represent healing, truth, harmony, and insight; brown symbolize the earth and stability; green is for abundance, prosperity, healing, hope, and fertility; red has to do with bravery, passion, vitality, and confidence; and purple represents royalty, wisdom, and spirituality. White beads are all about purity, light, and truth, and yellow is a symbol of awareness, joy, awareness, wisdom, and clarity.
If you are thinking about getting a waist bead, you may want to get it because it will help in weight management or awareness, improve your posture, enhance fertility and sensuality, and also symbolize your pride and heritage.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.