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Wales, Traditional Welsh National Dress
Did you know that there is a National Dress of Wales?
If you did, you will probably recognize the clothing in the image to the right. In some ways it reminds me of witches in my children's story books, many years ago. In other ways it reminds me of the sort of clothing worn by women in places like Salem during the witch executions.
One thing is for sure it is colourful, traditional and very distinctive.
What are its origins though and is it still worn today?
It is generally accepted that the Welsh National costume evolved in the late 1700s. The Welsh National Dress though is only for females. There have been attempts to create a welsh kilt for the men but this has not really taken off.
A welsh woman's national costume tends to be a tall black hat, a little like a man's stovepipe hat. A white lacy cap is worn underneath this hat. The costume also includes a full check patterned skirt, a shawl, a white starched apron, black woollen socks, black shoes and a cloak.
The hat is still sometimes worn today but, in general, the welsh national dress is only worn for special celebrations, and rarely. However ,young school girls dress up in this costume for St David's Day celebrations each year.
It seems that the hat was added to the costume in the 19th century.
The Welsh National Dress was created out of the imagination of Augusta Hall who was to become Lady Llanofer. In the mid 19th century this lady apparently fought long and hard to help Wales retain its cultural individuality. She tried to promote Wales and encouraged Welsh culture and use of the Welsh language. Her efforts also included the creation of a Welsh National Costume. Her idea of what a traditional Welsh National Dress should be, are the basis for the current national dress.
These days tourists can buy souvenir dolls, from various locations around Wales, that are dressed in traditional welsh national dress.