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Wales, Traditional Welsh National Dress

Eileen loves to travel as much as possible both at home in the U.K. and abroad with local places of interest high on her to visit list.

Welsh Flag


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.

Lady Llanofer

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.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Ethel Smith


Cymro. on March 28, 2019:

Don't the ladies who live in high Peruvian Andes still wear something like the Welsh costume ?

Morgana on November 04, 2013:

I'm Welsh, and I still think it's fugly.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 15, 2011:

Thanks adding your personal information. I bet you all looked sweet but probably hated it

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 15, 2011:

When I was going to school in Wales the girls always dressed up in the national costume on Saint David’s Day and wore a daffodil. We always looked forward to the day. We also used to collect dolls in national costumes, including the Welsh national costume. I didn’t realize that this costume was designed so recently! Thanks for the information.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 24, 2010:

Phew. Thanks Dim x

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on February 24, 2010:

Dear Ethel.,

No panic. Diolwch yn fawr means thank you very much. Take care, Dim x

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 22, 2010:

But on anyone a little frumpy in the first place it probably looks awful

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on February 22, 2010:

I like it, it is colourful yet demure in a way. I find it interesting that the Welsh national costume was created on purpose to become the national dress, unlike other cultures where a national dress just develops naturally.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 21, 2010:

Thank you HP. Perhaps you would share some of your country's national dress sometime?

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on February 20, 2010:

I liked to read and know about the dresses.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 20, 2010:

Thanks to you all. Hey I like the welsh, hope it is not rude lol. Yes they costumes is not very flattering is it?

Holle Abee from Georgia on February 19, 2010:

Great job! I love reading about other cultures.

Dim Flaxenwick from Great Britain on February 19, 2010:

great hub. diolwch yn fawr

TnFlash from Tampa, Florida on February 19, 2010:

Great Hub! It was very interesting to hear about the national costume. You're right the costume makes the ladies look like dragons. LOL!

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 19, 2010:

Thank you all. No Patricias it is not lol. It makes the ladies look like old dragons themselves

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on February 19, 2010:

Didn't know that the Welsh National costume is comparatively recent! Not very flattering, is it?

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on February 19, 2010:

Hi Ethel, this hub is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the information and the photos.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on February 19, 2010:

Nice hub and very interesting. I don't think I'd care to wear one of those hats but I always appreciate other cultures. Good hub.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on February 18, 2010:

Thanks Jay jay

jayjay40 from Bristol England on February 18, 2010:

Very interesting, well written

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