What is a national Costume?
It is normally a dress which we associate with a country and its residents. It is something that they may wear everyday or only on formal occasions, but it is part of their unique identity and is usually symbolic of their culture. Most national costumes have been a part of the heritage of that nation and have been handed down from generation to generation, and are based on the kinds of fabrics available and are suited to the climate of that country.
1. Saree – India:
This is one of the most recognised costumes in the world. The prevalence of sarees as a daily wear is decreasing among the young and the affluent, as they are opting for western wear such as skirts and trousers. However in the smaller urban areas and in villages these are still the preferred outfit. In various parts of India sarees are worn in different manners and styles and the fabrics can range from cotton to silk and synthetic fabrics.
2. Kimono – Japan:
Kimono is a traditional outfit worn by men, women and children in Japan. These are traditionally made with a single bolt of fabric called the tan. Often these are hand-made and had-decorated and the materials commonly used are silk crepes, satin weaves, silk and silk brocade. It is a long, heavily patterned robe, which is held together at the waistline by a broad fabric belt known as the obi.
The Swedish national costume is very unique. It consists of a white winged hat, a long skirt with a traditional apron, a white long-sleeved blouse which is covered with a beautifully embroidered vest. Introduced in 1778 it was originally meant for the nobility of the country. Even today for formal occasions, Swedish ladies-in-waiting wear this traditional costume.
4. Deel – Mongolia:
A Deel is the traditional costume worn for centuries by the Mongols and other nomadic tribes of Central Asia. The fabric may be satin or silk or brocade, and the styling is similar to that of a kaftan . Shaped like a long overcoat, it is not buttoned in front of the body but is drawn tightly across the chest and clasped on the side with decorative clasps. A large fabric belt is the tied over the Deel.
5. Salwar Kameez – Pakistan:
The salwar kameez is a traditional outfit worn by both men and women of Punjab in India and Pakistan. The men in Pakistan wear a loose pajama and “kurta ” set often known as the “pathan suit”. The women wear long trousers which are gathered at the waist and are narrow at the bottom. The kameez is accompanied by the “chuni”or the “odhni “which is wrapped across the shoulders.