Wales, Traditional Welsh National Dress
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.
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.
© 2010 Ethel Smith