Folk costume

A folk costume (also regional costume, national costume, traditional garment, or traditional regalia) expresses an identity through costume, which is usually associated with a geographic area or a period of time in history. It can also indicate social, marital or religious status. If the costume is used to represent the culture or identity of a specific ethnic group, it is usually known as ethnic costume (also ethnic dress, ethnic wear, ethnic clothing, traditional ethnic wear or traditional ethnic garment). Such costumes often come in two forms: one for everyday occasions, the other for traditional festivals and formal wear. The word "costume" in this context is sometimes considered pejorative due to the multiple senses of the word, and in such cases "regalia" can be substituted without offense.[1]

Faroese folk dance club with some members in national costumes

Following the rise of romantic nationalism, the pre-industrial peasantry of Europe came to serve as models for all that appeared genuine and desirable. Their garments are crystallized into so-called "typical" forms, and enthusiasts adopted that attire as part of their symbolism. These garments may be made from traditional pre-industrial textiles, in regional styles.

In areas where Western dress codes have become usual, traditional garments are often worn at special events or celebrations; particularly those connected with cultural traditions, heritage or pride. International events may cater for non-Western attendees with a compound dress code such as "business suit or national dress".

In modern times, there are instances where traditional garments are required by sumptuary laws. In Bhutan, the traditional Tibetan-style clothing of gho and kera for men, and kira and toego for women, must be worn by all citizens, including those not of Tibetan heritage. In Saudi Arabia, women are also required to wear the abaya in public.


Central AfricaEdit

Eastern AfricaEdit

Northern AfricaEdit

Southern AfricaEdit

Western AfricaEdit


Central AsiaEdit

Turkic Countries:

East AsiaEdit

North AsiaEdit

South AsiaEdit

Southeast AsiaEdit

West AsiaEdit


Eastern EuropeEdit

Central EuropeEdit

Northern EuropeEdit

Southern EuropeEdit

Western EuropeEdit

North AmericaEdit


Central AmericaEdit

Northern AmericaEdit


Australia and New ZealandEdit




South AmericaEdit





North AmericaEdit


South AmericaEdit


  1. ^ See wikt:costume#Usage notes[better source needed]
  2. ^ "Folk costume". Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Носиите – Жеравна 2014". 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  4. ^ "Български народни носии – България в стари снимки и пощенски картички". Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  5. ^ Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123. ISBN 9780313376375.
  6. ^ Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123. ISBN 9780313376375.