Traditional Dresses Around the World

Traditional costumes have caught the fascination of several guests and tourists because they are unique and different what they see on a daily basis. Tourists and guests are often fascinated by the regional, ethnic and cultural distinctions which have given rise to magnificent costumes with great natural flair. Traditional clothing plays a very important role in defining the history and identity of a region. Some regions in the world wear their national dress only on ceremonial occasions and it is treated as an unofficial uniform. And in many societies, traditional clothing or costumes is compulsory for both men and women. We have collated a list of traditional costumes from around the world which is surely going to catch your attention.

Traditional Dresses in Asia

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Hanfu
A Chinese dress which was invented in the year 2600 B.C.E. The wife of legendary Yellow Emperor, Leizu invented silk after a silkworm fell in her tea. The Emperor popularized the Hanfu and it has been associated with silk since its inception. This is one of the oldest traditional costumes from around the world.
Sari
A South Asian dress invented in the year 2800 B.C.E. The word ‘sari’ has been derived from a Sanskrit word which meant ‘strip of cloth’. This is definitely one of the earliest forms of depiction of a female priest from the Indus valley civilization. It is basically derived from the belief that by inserting a needle into a cloth makes it impure.
Kimono
Japanese traditional clothing which was invented in the year 800 B.C.E. Japanese fashion has been highly influenced by the Chinese during the Heian period in Japan. The Kimono is greatly influenced by the Hanfu. The Emperor, Meiji forced his civil servants to adopt this western clothing in the year 1871, and the use of Kimono has subsequently waned.
Hanbok
A traditional Korean dress invented in the year 300 B.C.E. It was primarily designed for easy movement which is reflected by its ancient nomadic origins. The future designs were later influenced by the Mongols, soon after Goryeo signed a 13th-century peace treaty which finally led to royal marriages and a cultural transformation. 
Sherwani
A traditional south Asian dress which was invented in the year 1700 C.E. This can be considered as a fusion between the salwar kameez and the British frock coat. This dress has been greatly influenced by the British colonial rule in India in the 18th century. It was traditionally an aristocratic dress but later it was widely adopted.
Tembel Hat
An Israeli traditional dress which was invented in the year 1900 C.E. This is the national symbol of Israel. Tembel in Hebrew means ‘silly’. Although the origins are not very clear, it is assumed that the hat was worn by the Templers Christian movement in the 19th century.
Sarong
A traditional south Asian dress which is traditionally dyed using a process called ‘batik’, which is a century old Indonesian technique which uses application of melted wax and vegetable dye. Although the origins of the dress are unclear, it is considered to an ancient dress.
Keffiyeh
An Arabic states and Palestine traditional dress. The word Keffiyeh is derived from the Arabic word for ‘from the city of Kufa’. It was worn in arid regions for protecting oneself against the horrid sun and sand. Yasser Arafat later fuelled the adoption of this black and white Keffiyeh which turned out to be the symbol of Palestinian nationalism.
Thawab
A traditional Persian Gulf dress. Thawb in Arabic refers to ‘a garment’ and this dress is commonly worn by men in the Arab world in the Persian Gulf. It is worn along with the Bisht, which is a cloak for formal occasions.

Traditional Dresses in Australasia

Tapa Cloth
Traditional pacific islands wear which was invented in the year 1000 B.C.E. This is also known as the barkcloth due to the fact that the material used is derived from an inner bark. The modern times has seen the tapa shirts being worn or used only on formal occasions. They are also used to decorate walls.

Maori Piupiu
A traditional New Zealand wear which was invented in the year 1300 C.E. The Piupiu is a kind of grass skirt which creates a very enjoyable sound as it moves. It was originated by the Polynesians who set their bases in New Zealand way back in the 13th century.

Traditional Dresses in America

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Huipil
Traditional Central American clothing which is worn by women of the Mesoamerican which have been worn by them for over 3000 years. The Huipil was invented in the year 1000 B.C.E. The last worn Huipil is approximately 500 years old. This is definitely one of oldest traditional costumes from around the world.
Poncho
Invented in the year 500 B.C.E. South American traditional clothing was initially embroidered or painted. The Europeans later greatly influenced the production technique and the design style. The Poncho is nowadays considered folk clothing across South America.
Sombrero Vueltiao
Colombian traditional clothing which was invented 200 B.C.E. It was first made from fibers of palm trees. Approximately 300 years old, several artisans started painting the fibers which gave invented to the famous contrasting style.
Western Wear
American traditional clothing which was invented 1600 C.E. which originated from the old west. This traditional costume was adopted by cowboys. A cowboy leather belts, boot, and hat are an integral part of the look. Neckwear was the latest addition to the western wear which was influenced by British gentlemen.
Quadrille Dress
A dance named Quadrille originated in France. Performed by a group of four couples which gave its name ‘quad’. The European slave masters initiated the dance to the Caribbean, which inspired the Quadrille Dress.
Carnival Costume
This is a working class celebration costume right from the end of the 19th century. The Carnival costume was invented in the year 1800 C.E. Later it became synonymous with carnivals.
Native American Deerskin
North American traditional clothing, origins which can be traced way back to 10,000 B.C.E. The design represents the person’s tribe, rank or clan. Quills and features are used to adorn the garments which show their respect for nature.

Traditional Dresses in Europe

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Klomp
Traditional wooden footwear is hard to avoid and it is definitely one of the most iconic traditional costumes from around the world. It was derived in the year 1200 C.E. the clogs are still very popular among farmers due to the fact that they split safety upon heavy impact.
Sarafan
Traditional Russian attire which was used to indicate the social status, regional heritage along with the type of occasion of the person wearing the dress. Peter the Great used to force the members of the court to wear European clothing due to which the garment has become a sole peasant costume.
Beret
A traditional European dress was mostly worn in the region France and Spain. Derived in the year 1400 C.E. it became quite popular among the farm workers from the Basque and French Pyrenees region. This is treated as the official symbol of France and one of the most common military wear which is worn around the world.
Kilt
A traditional Scotland wear which was invented in the year 1500 C.E. The dresses popularity declined a fair bit when King George II banned the Highland dress in 1746. Some people still continued wearing the Kilt as a rebellion to the ban. The ban was lifted 35 years later and went on to be associated with the whole of Scotland.
Lederhosen
Initially, it was adopted by hard working and diligent peasants that were differentiated from other leather trousers by a flap at the front of the trousers. During the Rococo period, peasant life was later emulated by aristocrats which further enhanced the popularity of the Lederhosen.
Traje De Luces
A traditional Spanish dress invented in the year 1700 C.E. The name cropped up due to the gold/silver and sequins threads which were gloriously displayed. This traditional costume went to become a fashion which was exclusively for the matador of the building.
Smock-Frock
A unique combination of a smock, which is an ancient underdress whereas a frock is a traditional sleeve which is worn by monks. This traditional wear was used extensively by rural British workers like the shepherds. 
Gakti
Traditional Scandinavian clothing which is popular among the indigenous population of Scandinavia. This traditional dress is not only worn on ceremonial occasions, but also for herding reindeer. The dress gives a clear indication of the person’s home region and their marital status.

Traditional Dresses in Africa

Boubou
Traditional west and central African clothing which has ancient roots back to the Islamic Tarkur and the Ghana of the 8th century. The Boubou got its name from the Wolof mbubbe that gives it exclusivity to its continent.
Pagne
A central African costume which is of the size of 6ft x 18ft. Invented in the year 700 C.E, the Pagne is a traditional costume which is used to convey political and social messages. You can stitch a number of garments from the cloth or you can just use it as a skirt, head tie, or as a sling for carrying children or goods.
Kanzu
A central east African traditional clothing which was greatly influenced by Arab traders and hence has a resemblance to the Thawb. Since it was imported, it was originally worn by members of the high society, but later it became readily available and domestically produced.
Fez/Tarboosh Hat
It has a rich Moroccan history which is spread across North Africa and the Mediterranean. This was traditionally used as a symbol of rebellion against the French occupation, but later turned out to be used as a symbol of nationalism and is worn by aristocracy and royalty.
Dashiki
A West African traditional costume which is characterized by its V-neck. Popular is many parts of Africa, it is now worn on formal occasions.

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