Peru poncho avaSeveral countries in South America traditionally use this outer garment practically all year round. Poncho is not only warm and cozy, it’s very comfortable to wear, doesn’t need buttons or clasps, and is the perfect attire for horseback riding. That’s why both modern South American people and their Native American ancestors were fond of a poncho and used it for any occasion – ceremonial or day-to-day. In the past, this outerwear was a necessity to keep the body warm, but today, designer ponchos can be a fashion statement and can differ a lot from the original piece.

bombin hat avaBolivian traditional bombin hats – charming bowlers the local women balance right on the tops of their heads – are accessories with a very unusual history. In most cases, the traditional clothing develops along with the society where it’s used or is adopted from colonizers, new settlers, etc, but this hat was incorporated into Bolivian folk clothing culture sort of accidentally. It’s amazing how a mishap can turn into a fresh and beautiful tradition.

Bolivia avaCholita traditional outfit in Bolivia has come a long way from a dress worn by the poorest indigenous women to a respectable and costly status attire. The modern young girls turn to cholita costume more and more often and spend hundreds of dollars on authentic garments produced by the local artisans from local materials. And that’s a great example of the folk dress becoming fashionable and trendy clothing. Well done, Bolivia!

Cholitas avaThe latest fashion trends in Bolivia show that the folk outfits are gaining popularity in this country. For years, the traditional costumes of the indigenous Aymara people were something that marked them out as second-class citizens. But today, Bolivians wear these folk dresses (and modern outfits stylized under Aymara clothes) with style and pride. By the way, this is a worldwide tendency – old folk clothing traditions are back in fashion.

Pano da costa avaBrazilian women of African origin traditionally wore a distinctive garment that showed their status and heritage. It was a shawl-like piece called “pano da costa”. We can find it in many illustrations and old photos. Most often, such a garment was used by Afro-Brazilian matrons, older women. In the photos, they’re sitting with pride and dignity in their posture, wrapped in a decorative shawl and with an intricately draped traditional head tie. Let’s find out more about the pano da costa. What did it look like? What for did women use it? What embellishments did it have?

Brazilian avaA lot of people are familiar with sparkly and bright Brazilian carnival outfits, but these are far not the only garments traditionally worn in this country. There are many different folk clothing pieces used by the locals on a daily basis. These garments may be less eye-catching and scandalous-looking, but they are being used in Brazil for centuries and still are among the comfiest articles of clothes today. The local people adapted the clothing styles brought by the colonizers from Europe to Brazilian climate perfectly.

canadian moccasins avaThe traditional Native American footwear looks breathtaking – colorful, ornate, and dramatic. For the most part, it’s made from leather and decorated with beading, embroidery, quillwork, and other folk craft techniques. Such shoes, called “moccasins”, are so very comfy. They look a bit unusual for a modern eye but charming and are perfect for walking and creeping (which is important for hunting). Here are 4 lovely vintage pairs of moccasins from Canadian Native American tribes. Their design is very similar but each looks unique and is embellished exceptionally.

Inuit2 avaCanadian aboriginal peoples lived in a very beautiful but also rather harsh environment. They needed all their skill and imagination to survive even in the northernmost areas of the continent. Warm houses and warm clothes were among the most important things for Canadian indigenous tribes, and they used every single available material – when hunters or fishers brought prey, everything was in use: meat, fur, skin, bones, sinew, intestines, claws and teeth, feathers, etc. You would be surprised as to what materials can be used to make clothing!

Parka avaA parka is one of the few truly and originally Canadian traditional garments. It was invented by the Inuit Native American tribes and was used by the local people on the territory of Canada throughout several centuries. Even today, parka is extremely popular among Canadians and thousands of people around our planet. And the changes that occurred to the cut, design, materials, and decorations of a parka are tremendous. Let’s see how a parka looked like in the 1800s and in the 21st century. Let’s compare these pieces of clothing.

buffalo plaid lumberjack avaThere is a whole discussion in comments to our article “Traditional dress of Canada. History and examples” about the existence of Canadian national costume. So, we decided to investigate this topic a little deeper. One of the garments considered traditionally Canadian is the buffalo plaid lumberjack. But can we really consider it a part of Canadian national costume? Where did it come from? And what it actually is, this mysterious lumberjack?

MissCanadaNationaldressttlHockey! Who could forget that bit of Canadian national pride? There's miss Canada Chanel Beckenlehner in the Canadian national costume at the Miss Universe show. All people love relationships with symbols and stereotypes in Canada. Maybe that's why this is the national dress that had everyone in Canada talking.

canada avaCanadian national clothing was formed under the influence of Native Indians (who lived on these lands for centuries) and colonizers from Europe (who came to Canada in 17-18th century). Also traditional garments in Canada correspond with the weather conditions and climate in this part of the world. That's why traditional Canadian pieces of clothing are: parkas, tuques, ojibwa shirts, mittens, ear muffs and so on.

chupalla avaMen in Chile traditionally use a charming wide-brimmed straw hat called “chupalla”. It is a lot smaller, lighter, and comfier than, for example, a sombrero, a hat worn in several South American countries. The chupalla looks good, is very functional, and adds a specific Chilean charm to the local males. Today, it is usually seen on folk performers during different folk festivals and national celebrations, but some cowboys and men from rural areas still wear a chupalla in day-to-day life.

chamanto avaIn Chile, both men and women wear a charming and very South American garment called “chamanto”. This outerwear has a significant role in Chilean traditional culture. We’re not talking only about the cut and design of this poncho-like garment but also about the ornamentation on it. The patterns woven into the fabric depict the unique local flora and fauna. Despite chamanto being a not very feminine and sophisticated garment, it performs the main function of Chilean clothing pieces perfectly – keeps the body warm in the cool and windy mountainous climate of this country.

chileans avaTraditional clothing of Chile is very festive and convenient at the same time. It is usually made of natural materials. Women's attire is rather feminine and men's costume is very masculine. Chilean national clothing is bright and, embellished with embroidery and colorful ribbons. The origin of the traditional costume of Chile historically is very old, but Spanish and Portuguese national clothing (which belongs to a much later time) had a great influence on the formation of Chilean traditional costume. So, today Chilean national clothing is a great mix of old natural handmade fabrics and modern style and cut.

Ruana avaFew traditional pieces of clothing are so beloved and popular that people organize whole festivals to honor them. Colombian authentic poncho-like garment called “ruana” is one such folk item. There are not one but two events dedicated to a ruana – World Day of Ruana and the National Festival of Ruana. Herewith, this traditional blanket has a rather mysterious origin. It’s sort of a fusion between Spanish capes and the traditional blankets of the Andean Muisca and Timoto-cuica indigenous groups.

colombian-couple avaThe traditional clothing of Colombia is very diverse, bright, and eccentric. It is also considered to be iconic for the whole Latin America. Besides, locals keep their clothing traditions and wear folk dresses in day-to-day life. And it shouldn't surprise you – Colombian traditional costumes are made from the natural materials; they are colorful, light, beautiful, and comfy.

Cuban woman avaThe outfit that is considered a Cuban national attire today originates from the 19th century and is a lovely mix of European and African fashion with a combination of slave, carnival, and gypsy features. Sure, before the 1800s and the arrival of white and black people to this land, Cuba was populated by the local aboriginal tribes who had their own folk dress styles and clothing traditions. But today, those native outfits are almost forgotten and aren’t used in daily life, unlike the more recent 19th-century traditional garments that gained the status of Cuban folk costumes. So, we’ll mostly talk about these outfits in this post.

Quechua avaA belt is an ancient item used by all the nations around the world. Most often, belts serve to support the clothes and as a decorative piece. But in the Andean region, the Quechua people wear their woven belts not only for that. Their belts are needed for health. Let’s ask the local expert Cesar Cotacachi from Ecuador about the real purpose of Quechua belts.

toquilla avaThe traditional straw hats of Ecuador called “toquilla” are produced for centuries by the hands of local people. This craft has become a really important part of Ecuadorian culture and economy. Historically, the weaving of the toquilla straw hats helped to make a complex network of social relations that joined the Southern Highlands with the Coast of Ecuador. This straw hat is an identifying element of Ecuador. In the case of Azuay and Cañar Provinces, it is a part of the typical outfit of the “Chola Cuencana”.

Refajo avaWomen of El Salvador usually wear wide flounce skirts in traditional blue and white colors as their national wear. But these are rather modern garments. If we think about older apparel worn by the local indigenous people, the traditional clothes are very different. They’re simpler, hand-woven, sewn from smaller amount of fabric, and less decorated. Still, those ancient Salvadorian garments look just as cute but are more practical. Take, for example, the traditional refajo skirt.

El Salvador avaThese days, many people around the world are getting involved in traditional clothing crafts, retrieving the almost lost knowledge. And hand-weaving is one of those crafts. While to learn weaving on the ordinary 4-post loom is a complicated task – because you have to get this machine and find a place for it in your home – weaving on a simple backstrap loom is much easier. All you need is a few different wooden sticks. That’s why the traditional backstrap weaving you can try at home, after watching a few videos and reading a few instructions. Like these ones.

Greenland2 avaSome folk accessories are so significant for a certain culture that they become the centerpiece of traditional attire, the item you notice first. For a Greenlandic national costume, this special accessory is a yoke – a huge beaded collar you can see on the local women. And it’s not something archaic or old-fashioned, Greenlandic ladies, young maidens and elderly women, still wear yokes with their traditional clothing and even with contemporary outfits.

Greenland avaA lot of people think that the folk clothing in Greenland is very simple and roughly made from animal skins only, but you’d be surprised at how colorful and richly decorated these outfits are. Skillfully-made floral embroidery, large beaded jewelry pieces and trimmings, fine silks, and, of course, various fur – all of this and more you’ll see on Greenlandic national costumes. They are more vibrant and detailed than seems possible for such a harsh, although picturesque, environment.

Huipil avaIn Latin America, particularly in Guatemala, the traditional craft of weaving is rather highly developed. And one of the most beautiful, ornate, and symbolic hand-woven garments is the huipil, a traditional blouse or tunic adorned with local patterns. These textiles are a great part of Guatemalan folk culture and the diversity of their designs will amaze you. Especially when you realize that most of the patterns originate from the Aztec and Mayan civilizations.

Huipil weaving avaIn Guatemala, females still wear their folk clothing and thus, make it themselves. Many of them are descendants from Maya people, so they practice the traditional Maya backstrap weaving. The most intricate and beautiful among Guatemalan national garments is a female blouse called “huipil”. We’re offering you a story about how two skilled Guatemalan artisans – Manuela Canil Ren from Chichicastenango and Esperanza Pérez from San Antonio Aguas Calientes – worked on huipiles typical for their regions.