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Wales, Traditional Welsh National Dress

Updated on October 4, 2018
ethel smith profile image

Eileen loves to travel as much as possible both at home in the U.K. and abroad with local places of interest high on her to visit list.

Welsh Flag

Did you know that there is a National Dress of Wales?

If you knew there is a national dress of Wales you will probably recognize the clothing which in some ways reminds me of witches in 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 trials period of history.

One thing is for sure the clothing is colourful, traditional and very distinctive.

What are its origins though and is it still worn today?

Origins of the Welsh National Costume

It’s generally accepted that the Welsh National costume evolved in the late 1700s.

The Welsh National Dress however is only for women and children to wear. There have been attempts to create a type of 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 notably worn by former President of the U.S.A. Abraham Lincoln. 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 even then rarely.

However, young school girls dress up in this costume for St David's Day celebrations each year.

The hat was apparently added to the costume more recently during the 19th century.

Lady Llanofer

The Welsh National Dress was created with the imagination of Augusta Hall who was to become Lady Llanofer.

In the mid 19th century Lady Llanofer reportedly fought long and hard to help Wales retain its cultural individuality rather than lose its distinctive identity.

She tried to promote Wales encouraging Welsh culture and the 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.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Ethel Smith


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    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Don't the ladies who live in high Peruvian Andes still wear something like the Welsh costume ?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm Welsh, and I still think it's fugly.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks adding your personal information. I bet you all looked sweet but probably hated it

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      When I was going to school in Wales the girls always dressed up in the national costume on Saint David’s Day and wore a daffodil. We always looked forward to the day. We also used to collect dolls in national costumes, including the Welsh national costume. I didn’t realize that this costume was designed so recently! Thanks for the information.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Phew. Thanks Dim x

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      9 years ago from Great Britain

      Dear Ethel.,

      No panic. Diolwch yn fawr means thank you very much. Take care, Dim x

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      But on anyone a little frumpy in the first place it probably looks awful

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      I like it, it is colourful yet demure in a way. I find it interesting that the Welsh national costume was created on purpose to become the national dress, unlike other cultures where a national dress just develops naturally.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you HP. Perhaps you would share some of your country's national dress sometime?

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      9 years ago from Guwahati, India

      I liked to read and know about the dresses.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all. Hey I like the welsh, hope it is not rude lol. Yes they costumes is not very flattering is it?

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Great job! I love reading about other cultures.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      9 years ago from Great Britain

      great hub. diolwch yn fawr

    • TnFlash profile image


      9 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Great Hub! It was very interesting to hear about the national costume. You're right the costume makes the ladies look like dragons. LOL!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you all. No Patricias it is not lol. It makes the ladies look like old dragons themselves

    • 2patricias profile image


      9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Didn't know that the Welsh National costume is comparatively recent! Not very flattering, is it?

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      9 years ago from USA

      Hi Ethel, this hub is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the information and the photos.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Nice hub and very interesting. I don't think I'd care to wear one of those hats but I always appreciate other cultures. Good hub.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks Jay jay

    • jayjay40 profile image


      9 years ago from Bristol England

      Very interesting, well written


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