Last week, my good friend, Ester, a Swedish girl emailed me a collection of photos of herself and a group of friends wearing traditional clothing. The dresses were striking in colors and simple, but intricate in their designs. ‘We are wearing Swedish folk dresses or as some people refer to them Swedish national costumes’, she wrote.
Ester explained that while growing up in Sweden she did not care much for this type of clothing as she saw it as being primitive but as she got older and wiser she embraced it and is now happy to have done so.
Back then, there were a lot of restrictions imposed upon the younger generations, by the elders, on wearing the costumes. They had to be the right colors, worn a certain time, to a certain place, and a certain how, she said laughing during my follow up call.
Although attire in Sweden, today, are highly influenced by Western styles, traditional clothing is still a big part of the local culture and are worn during certain celebratory periods such as the Midsummer, weddings and formal parties. Sverigedräkten, made of shades of blue and yellow fabric and accessorized are worn by royals. The colors of this particular dress are reflective of the Swedish flag.
To be recognized as true, traditional Swedish clothing must be made entirely by hand. And this process can take months. But the items are meticulously crafted to last for decades and therefore are often passed down through generations. Regional clothing can include styling differentiation, which may be relative to where the wearer comes from and this may be based on the aprons, ribbons, and method of tying the shawl. But the national clothing can be worn by all persons, which often is the case when one is unsure of what to wear to a specific event.
The video, below, showcases a few traditional Swedish dress designs.
by Tiffany Huggins