Culture and traditions

How is the typical European clothing for men and women?

From the traditional clothing of the European continent, the regional costumes for women stand out, with their bright colors, floral prints and characteristic hand embroidery. The way Europeans dress for parties or special occasions goes back in many cases to before the 19th century, although it is currently heavily influenced by the modern western style.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Nordic countries

In Northern Europe or Northern Europe we find all of the Nordic countries, where low temperatures and cold weather have determined the style of their traditional dress. So in Norway we talk about Bunad (in plural: Bunader), whose original design dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

He Bunad It is characterized by its embroideries, usually with floral motifs, and the scarf that the woman wears tied to the head. In addition, they cover their shoulders with a shawl to protect themselves from the cold. As an accessory they usually wear silver or gold jewelry. It is used during the regional holidays of May 17, at weddings or other popular celebrations.

The "Bunad", typical Norwegian costume

If we move to Iceland, there are three main types of costumes:

  • He Skautbuningur or Faldbuninger, used in holiday periods
  • He Peysuföt, a simple and comfortable outfit made of wool in dark tones (black skirt and cardigan with velvet trim)
  • He Upphlutur, for daily use and characterized by its shiny golden bodice

He Skautbuningur, along with another call Kyrtill, was specially designed for women of the 18th century. He Faldbuninger, whose name literally means suit with hem, was used between s. XVII and XIX, and was composed of a hat in the form of a curved leaf, while the fabrics of the dress were colorful and decorated with gold embroidery. They combined it with silver belts.

Iceland national costumes for women

In Denmark, the clothing is divided between its different regions. On the island of Lolland, a male garment that was once used to carry out farm work is typical. It consisted of a white hat, a striped vest in green and orange tones, white shirt, beige pants and white socks.

The technique of making embroidery called Hedebo It is usually used to make the most popular costume in the country. Its colors are white, black and red. The men's one includes a red hat and vest, dark blue pants and white stockings.

Drawing of children with traditional costume of Denmark

Other Danish regions whose costumes attract attention are also:

  • Ærø: the clothes are adapted to the weather, so the woman usually wears a straw hat that helps her withstand long harvest days. It also includes a neckerchief, black closed neck vest, green apron with Scottish print, white shirt under the vest and pollera.
  • Copenhagen: in the coastal areas of the Danish capital, sailors wear a suit where the predominant color is red, in addition to black and white.
  • Amager: The most characteristic costume dates from the mid-nineteenth century and was used by high society to go to church on Sundays. In the case of women, the colors that form it are two: red and black. It consists of a black cap and a red pleated apron, as well as a scarf with floral motifs in both colors, a black blouse and a black scarf in her hair.

He traditional Finnish costume for women it consists of a colorful long skirt that reaches to the feet. On top of this, a kind of white or khaki apron is added, while on the upper part there is a long-sleeved shirt with a wide neck covered by a red or plaid vest.

Sketch of woman with typical Finland costume

In Sweden, the typical clothing is known as Nationella dräkten, this is, national costume. It was designed by King Gustav III and began to be used around the year 1778 by the nobility and the middle class. Its purpose was to promote the consumption and import of luxury textile products.

Traditional dress of the Midsommar party in Sweden

British islands

The British Isles comprise the territory occupied by Britain and Ireland, as well as several nearby minor islands. The United Kingdom is made up of four nations: Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although because of its proximity it may seem that no, the folklore and traditional clothing of each of these countries are very different.

From Scotland, the best known costume in the whole world is the famous kilt, characterized by the fact that men wear skirts. It is also used in Ireland, although to a lesser extent. It is used especially on special occasions, such as weddings, graduations and conventions of this type. He kilt It stands out for its typical tartan print.

The famous Scottish kilt tartan print

On a historical level, it is said that the color of the tartan differentiated one clan from another in the Highlands. At that time it was called feileadh mor and it consisted of a tunic about 5 meters long that was collected and tied around the waist. Currently, it measures 8 m and consists of a pleated fabric.

Piper with typical Scottish costume at Dunnottar Castle

As for England, the truth is that we cannot speak of a "regional costume" as such. However, the clothing of Morris dancers It is possibly the one that most represents English folklore. For the Morris dance or Morris dance, a group of dancers performs the choreography with instruments such as sticks, scarves or swords.

There are six different styles, so the suit will change according to the exhibition:

  • Cotswold: between 6 and 8 members dance with handkerchiefs or sticks, accompanied only by movements they make with their hands. It is typical of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
  • Border: The dancers wear their faces painted black and the clothes are simple, sometimes made even with paper. They do not wear a scarf and is typical of the border areas with Wales. In the following video we can see what exactly it consists of:

  • Saber: typical variant of southern Durham and Yorkshire, with 8 members using wooden swords. The clothes are white, with a red cloth that goes across the torso from the shoulder to the waist.
  • North west: Currently, the most common is that dancers wear clogs, although they also admit boots or shoes. They can be men, women or children, and wear pom poms or bells. It is danced in different areas of northern England.
  • Mumming: the members use homemade costumes, of varied themes, but related to Christmas, since they are usually interpreted during these dates in the Northumberland and Durham areas.
  • Molly, dance of Cambridgeshire: one of the dancers, all male, dresses as a woman. It used to be interpreted in winter time for charity purposes during the Festival Whittlesea Straw Bear in 1980.

The Welsh they relate their regional costumes with the clothing that the peasantry wore during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The one that attracts the most attention is that of a woman, which consisted of a long dress called betgwn. The fabric used to be printed, usually scarlet red. On the top they wore a shawl and, on the head, the well-known "Welsh hat", characterized by its tall cup.

The traditional clothing of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland It is the same, given that some time ago they were the same territory. The first costume of Irish origin was highly influenced by Gaelic and Nordic culture.

Typical costumes of St. Patrick's Day in Ireland

It consisted of checkered pants in the case of men, while both sexes wore a short robe. This dress was banned in the 16th century in order for the Irish to overcome the fear of being part of the United Kingdom.

It also highlights the one used by the girls to develop the traditional Irish dance, where, in addition to the costume, the hairstyle based on very marked ringlets is characteristic. You can use two types of shoes: ghillies or "soft" and the "hard."

Irish dance dress

Iberian Peninsula

In southern Europe are Portugal, Spain and the rest of the countries located in the Mediterranean Sea, such as Andorra, Greece, Italy or Malta, among others. Undoubtedly, one of the countries where folklore stands out internationally is Spain, with the well-known flamenco dress or that of Seville at the head.

Women with typical flamenco dancer costume

He flamenco dress or gypsy is the one used by bailaoras of flamenco during his performances, and the same happens with that of Seville. However, the fame that has been acquiring in Spanish territory has made it become a symbol of Spain in general. These are its main features:

  • It is a fitted and long ankle-length garment
  • It is adorned with ruffles or faralaes both on the sleeves and on the skirt
  • Vivid colors are used for making or even polka dot prints
  • It is usually complemented with a shawl, the typical being Manila shawl
Woman dressed in flamenco with Manila shawl
  • Woman wears her hair in a bun
  • The shoes are wide heels

In Atlantic Europe, the typical clothes of Portugal It is the one used to dance Lusitanian music, especially in the northern region of Minho. Known as Lavradeira, stands out for its wide skirt, whose objective is to allow the dancer to move more comfortably.

The Portuguese refer to this clothing with the term minhota fashion to allude to the gala dress of Viana do Castelo, which largely reminds those of Galicia (Spain).

Lavradeira Portuguese Costume

Balkan Peninsula

Countries such as Italy, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia or the Republic of Macedonia are located on the Balkan Peninsula. He traditional greek costume for men, for example, it stands out for its origins, since it was used by warriors and diplomats. His name is fustanella and is considered a national male suit.

This name is due to the white skirt of the same name, which is made with a fabric called lobster, which is sewn diagonally. The design has 400 folds to commemorate those who fought in the Greek Revolution of 1821. It is accompanied by fermeli, garment similar to the vest, which can be blue, black or brown.

Fustanella, official uniform of the Greek Presidential Guard

He fustanella it was the official attire of the soldiers Evzones, that is, the elite military corps of Greece. At present, it remains the Presidential Guard uniform, that every Sunday at 11:00 in the morning makes the changing of the guard in the Syntagma square in Athens.

As for Italy, the country currently does not have an official suit as such. In any case, the Italians refer to this aspect of their culture by using the different dresses worn by Italian society in previous centuries, especially throughout the XV.

This can be seen during the famous Venice's Carnival, in which the participants dress in clothes that are reminiscent of medieval Italy. The most symbolic era is undoubtedly that of the Renaissance, with the popular pleated skirt and with a lot of volume. At the top, the woman used to wear a bra for important ceremonies.

Ancient European costumes: Renaissance era in Italy

The national dress of Croatia It is very similar to other nearby countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and some minority communities in Montenegro, Hungary and Romania. The regional clothing can be seen especially in festivities or typical dances, such as dance called Kolo.

One of the most important events of Croatian culture is the famous spring procession of the Ljelje / Kraljice or «queens» of Gorjani (Slavonia region, Croatia), declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco in 2009.

Much of the folklore of this country has roots of Austrian, Hungarian, Italian, German and Turkish origin, hence the similarity between its repertoire of traditional costumes and those of these countries. The design and materials used are similar, although they vary by region.

On the other hand, in the Lika region highlights the suit for men, where the predominant color is white. They usually wear a vest in dark tones that reaches down below the hip. The young women wear a men's hat and are armed with sabers representing the kings or kraljevi.

Typical clothing for men in Croatia

Eastern Europe

Folklore is one of the aspects that most attract the attention of Bulgarian popular culture. Besides, his ornamentation formerly it served to know which family belonged to, which region of the country it came from, etc. In short, it was a way of establishing the social position of each individual.

Typical Bulgarian clothing for men and women

One of the most popular is the saya suit (outerwear), where decoration and embroidery abound, especially in the neckline and sleeves. The main garments are: apron, shirt and belt. He was especially employed in the south and southwest of Bulgaria.

He Rose Festival, held in Kazanlak, south of the Balkans, is one of the occasions where women usually wear this dress. In addition, for the head and neck they make wreaths of roses as part of the content of the parade.

Rose Festival in Bulgaria

From Slovakia highlights the female suit, whose name is kroj. Traditionally, the man wore white wool pants with red embroidery. The woman wore a linen shirt or blouse adorned with ribbons and multicolored embroidery.

One of the most typical souvenirs of Hungary They are his famous dolls, which are one of the best examples of how is the typical costumes of this country. It is a two-piece dress: on the one hand, the flowered skirt without flight and, on the other hand, a hard corset with sleeves that reach the height of the elbow.

The dress design usually includes earth colors. On the head, he wears a white cloak, with fringes and embroidered flowers. This costume can be seen in the religious festivities of the country, such as Easter or Pentecost.

Vyshyvanka is the name of the Ukrainian national clothing both male and female. Its closest translation is "embroidery" and is due, in effect, to the embroideries and designs that characterize it. Its origin dates back to the twentieth century, when Ukraine decided to create its own patriotic clothing. It is very similar to the regional dress of Russia.

For its part, the male attire consists of a wide satin pants, as well as a long-sleeved shirt, usually white with some embroidered details and fringes. As for footwear, they are usually boots to combat the cold weather of these countries.

In the Republic of Georgia, stands out above all Chokha, suit for men used in special events such as weddings, parties or popular performances. It was the uniform of the Georgian militia of the Caucasus. Formerly, the black one represented the Georgian elite.

Central Europe

In Central Europe, two of the most remarkable countries for their typical clothes are Germany and Austria. He Dirndl it is the dress with which Austrian and German women are usually represented, the latter especially when they come to the Oktoberfest.

Although its origin dates back to rural areas, it began to be used by the bourgeoisie from 1870, so it became a couture garment. It is characterized by the corset and the low cut blouse they wear on the top.

As for men, the most characteristic is the call Lederhosen, which literally means "leather pants." It has been used since the fifteenth century even though it was initially used simply to work. The whole set of traditional clothes is called Trachten.

Scrolling up to Poland, the costumes that stand out are those of the traditional peasant culture. As in many other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the most striking of their designs are embroidery full of details and colors. Currently, they are more an art show than an element of the peasantry.

The Polish costume was originally used to attend religious ceremonies, state, family, etc., but was especially relevant to attend the Feast of the Collection, called dożynki in Polish. In these events, the dress demonstrated the economic and civil status of each person.

The popular outfit of Czech Republic It varies by regions. It should be noted that its use is infrequent and is limited only to festivals, carnivals or popular festivals. The one of Blata's woman stands out for her ostentation, where embroidery and beads are what attracts the most attention.

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Finally, we have selected the previous and next article of the block "Cultural diversity"so you can continue reading:

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