America

Haiti avaThe design of folk costumes in the Caribbean is based on the culture and customs of African countries (the motherland for thousands of slaves that were brought to Caribbean islands) mixed with some features of European colonizers’ outfits. This clothing, especially the female dresses, has African charm and European modesty. Local women still wear these dresses in day-to-day life and for festive celebrations. Today, we’ll show you the beauty of Dominica’s, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, and Haitian female outfits.

Jamaican costume avaJamaican folk costumes are very bright, multicolored, organic, and breathy. Traditionally, they were made from locally produced handmade calico fabric. The pattern on the fabric was red&white plaid. An interesting piece of the Jamaican female folk dress is a headgear called “bandana”. It is connected to Asian traditions. Do you want to learn how and why? Read the article below.

charro suit avaThis outfit is famous worldwide and is a symbol of Mexican culture known to almost everybody. You can see it in Mexico fairly often – in the streets, at folk performances, festivals, on musicians playing in restaurants, etc. And by the way, this costume is typically recognized as Mexican men’s folk attire, but actually, there is a women’s charro outfit as well. So, what’s so special about a charro suit or traje de charro?

folklorico costume avaMexican traditional dances are called folklorico dance or ballet folklórico. They’re passionate, cheerful, and very colorful. Mexican ladies wear opulent and bright dresses with wide skirts, floral prints, ruffles, decorated with ribbons, lace, embroidery, and other embellishments. A folklorico dancing woman looks like a large splash of color moving around – so pretty and full of life. The variety of folklorico costumes is truly impressive, and every lady tries to create a unique and eye-catching attire that would suit her personality. Here is a selection of Mexican ballet folklórico dresses that caught our attention.

Mexican museum avaMexican folk clothing culture is very interesting particularly because this country was populated by Mayan, Aztec, and Inca people once, and they have left a large cultural influence on Mexico. The local aboriginal groups had very specific and unique cultures that enchant us centuries after their disappearance. You can find old artifacts that belong to different Mexican indigenous peoples, samples of their clothes, jewelry, ceremonial objects, etc in Mexican folk museums. It’s a pity, there are too few such museums in Mexico.

Dolls SouthAmerica avaFolklorico dance or ballet folklórico are terms naming Mexican traditional dances. These folk dances require specific costumes that differ from region to region. In this post, we’ll tell you a little about the mentioned traditional outfits used by folklórico dancers in various corners of Mexico. The ballet folklórico is so colorful, cheerful, and eye-catching that it became popular far outside Mexico and is performed today not only by the locals but by foreigners as well. Gorgeous folk dance in gorgeous folk costumes!

Mexican avaMexican traditional attire is always eye-catching. Although, the folk costumes of different regions of Mexico differ from each other – some just a little, others dramatically. Let’s take two absolutely different folk dresses from the neighboring regions of Chiapas and Veracruz (both in South Mexico) and compare them. Sure, there are some common features, but these outfits look so unlike that it’s even hard to believe that they’re from the same country. Black and white, vibrant and delicate, colorful embroidery and snow-white lace.

Oaxaca avaMexico is so rich in bright clothing traditions. Colors, patterns, shapes, textures – South American continent in special that way. But this time, our topic is the traditional dress of Oaxaca region of Mexico. The folk costumes of this area are greatly influenced by the clothing traditions of local indigenous people – Zapotec, Mixtec, Mazatec, Nahua, and some other. Some local garments are long forgotten, others changed to become contemporary clothes. But no matter what, this region is famous throughout Mexico and far outside the borders for its traditional outfits.

folklórico avaMexican traditional folk dance is called “folklórico dance”. And every region of Mexico has its own typical dance moves and folk dress used by the dancers. It is said that there are three important things about folklórico dancing: the music, the dance, and the costume. In this article, we’re going to talk about the folklórico costumes and their making. The women’s folklórico outfit always is adorned with ribbons, lace, or/and embroidery. And this Mexican folk clothing is really bright and awesome.

Jalisco avaMexican folk dances are something special: passionate, spectacular, and cheerful. And the folk dancers’ costumes add to that feeling. You see lots of bright colors, the fabric seems to be alive in the skillful hands of the dancers. We offer you to get to know better the traditional Jalisco folk dance outfit of a Mexican lady. Let’s see what clothing articles this costume includes and what they look like.

Zapotec weaving avaIf you want to find out how the craft of weaving looked like in ancient Mexico, you should visit Teotitlán del Valle, a small Mexican village near the Oaxaca. People here continue the work of their ancestors – they practice the Zapotec weaving, using only traditional techniques, tools, dyes, and patterns. You can observe the whole process of making Zapotec woven folk clothing and traditional rugs in this community. We hope that the article below will stir your interest toward this ancient culture.

A ZTraditional pieces of the male and female national costumes in Mexico: baja jacket, caites, charros, charro suit, china poblana, chincuete, cowboy boots, enagua, enredo, faja, guayabero, huaraches, huipil, mecapal, moral, pointy boots, poncho, posahuanco, rebozo, refajo, sarape, sombrero, tzute, quechquémitl.

Traditional-Mexican-costume avaMexican national clothing is very bright and beautiful. Actually, there are many different designs of traditional costume. Some of them are used for celebrations and holidays, some – for ceremonies, some – for festivals. The main characteristics of Mexican national attire are: sun protection (that's why sombrero has such a wide brims and the clothing itself is made of natural materials), brightness (the fabric for garments is mostly colorful and heavily embroidered; a lot of colorful ribbons are used), and moderate modesty (the clothing is elegant, not shameless or vulgar at all; skirts are long, blouses are delicate; flowers are often used to beautify the costume, hairdo and headdress).

Creek Moccasins avaMoccasins are widely used traditional shoes of the Native Americans. The size, shape, style, and adornments of this folk footwear can be different, according to the region of origin, tribal customs, available local materials, and simply the taste of the artisan. Still, the pair of moccasins we’ve prepared for you in this post are shaped rather oddly and unusually. These charming Native American moccasins from the early 19th century have a bit of a homey look, and the beaded designs on them are really cute.

Mukluks avaInuit people traditionally made practically all of their clothing, footwear, and accessories from animal skins and fur – simply because it was pretty much impossible to import fabrics or grow such plants as flax, hemp, cotton, etc in Alaska. And the weather in the northern regions is very cold, so only wool and fur were able to protect the body. Inuit traditional shoes look great and are extremely warm – much warmer than any modern materials. Let’s see how this footwear is made.

Moccasins avaThe moccasins are among those clothing articles that identify a Native American. They literally scream Native American Indian origin. Most of these footwear are works of art because they are richly decorated in traditional local techniques, like beadwork, embroidery, quillwork, fringe, etc. There were different styles and designs of moccasins depending on the area of origin, local climate, customs of the tribe, and many other factors. You could look at one’s moccasins and easily distinguish his/her ethnic group.

Native American bag avaThe Native American traditional art is so different from European, Asian, or African one that it is always exciting to learn more about it. When you take in every tiny detail and determine every character or even geometric figure depicted on Native American Indian articles of clothing and accessories, it fascinates you. And local beadwork and quillwork are world-famous crafts. It’s a pity such things are so rarely made today and by only a handful of artisans. For many people outside the US and Canada, using porcupine quills to create patterns on leather is something weird and surreal, but for Native Americans, it was customary.

Reservations avaThis is the last article from the series dedicated to the traditional Cherokee clothing. This time, we will talk about Cherokee folk dress from the mid-19th century to this day. Unfortunately, this is the time when a lot of Native American tribes were brought to the brink of extinction and a lot of ancient traditions barely survived during the Americanization and Europeanization of the New World. But step by step, the descendants of proud Cherokees got their clothing traditions back and learned all they could about their heritage.

Mission influence avaWe are continuing our series of articles dedicated to the clothing traditions of the Cherokee people, one of the famous Native American tribes. And it’s time to talk about the appearance and spread of such important crafts as spinning, weaving, and beading. The early-mid-19th century is the period when Cherokee women got their hands on spinning wheels, cards, weaving looms, and other similar tools. And they loved to use them. Very soon, the Cherokees were producing such gorgeous articles of clothing that no European pieces could compare.

Trade era avaWe’ve already published an article about Cherokee folk clothes from the early historical period (until 1650). This is the next material of a series and it will tell you about the traditional Cherokee dress during the so-called Trade Era (1650-1800). How did local garments change and why? What outfits remained the same? And was Cherokee-European partnership good for the Native American Indians at this stage? Also, let’s see the traditional Cherokee hairstyles, jewels, tattoos, and other body adornments.

Cherokee avaDifferent neighboring Native American tribes had, for the most part, similar traditional costumes until the mid-17th century. That’s because local people dressed to the climate – it wasn't a fashion statement at all. But, of course, various ethnic groups had their individual peculiarities in clothing. Let’s learn a bit about the aboriginal dress of Cherokee tribe before 1650. We don’t have that much information from this period because lots of Native American Indians were exterminated, along with their traditions, beliefs, handicrafts, etc. But still, their ancestors study what they can about their national outfits.

Inuit avaThe Inuit culture is unique because these indigenous people live in the arctic regions of Greenland, Alaska, Canada, and Russia, places that test human survival abilities. That’s why their traditional costumes and the clothing tradition, in general, differ from those we’re used to. The Inuit outfits used to be made almost entirely from skins and furs of local animals. Of course, in our time, they don’t have to do it anymore and can use modern clothing. But we still have a chance to admire Inuit unusual traditional garments, beautiful in their skillfulness.

Old photo avaThe world knows not enough about the Native American Indians, their culture, clothing traditions, and lifestyle. Of course, there are museums and exhibitions that preserve some of the knowledge but only the real-life situations can show any culture in its fullest. So, we’ve prepared for you a collection of old photos that can give us a glimpse of what the Native Americans were like in the late 19th – the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately, we can’t have photos of these tribes from before the European colonization, simply because photography wasn’t invented yet. But it’s at least something.

American Indian Art avaThe exhibition “Discovering American Indian Art” at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture shows us the way of life, customs and traditions, and folk handicrafts of the Native Americans. Elegant beading patterns, masks for the cannibal dances, outstanding headdresses and other accessories that can surprise you in many ways, items that represent a mixture of centuries-old beliefs of American Indians and casual lifestyle of White settlers, and many other pieces that belonged to Native American tribal people.

fingerweaving avaOne of the authentic folk crafts of the Native American Indians is a fingerweaving. They wove narrow strips of fabric – belts, bag straps, sashes, and other items. This handicraft is very convenient because doesn’t require any special tools – like looms are used for ordinary weaving. For fingerweaving, you need only wooden sticks and yarn. Surely, modern weavers use some auxiliary tools (dowel rods, binder clips, rubber bands, etc.), but their ancestors could do without such things. Let us show you how to fingerweave + we offer you 5 various traditional Indian patterns to start with.

War bonnet avaThe Native American beadwork is a very important craft for the American continents. The most common question people ask about beading in Native American culture is how did the Indians make beads? Jeri Ah-be-hill (born Geraldine Fuller), the representative of Native American Indians and Kiowa-Comanche fashion expert answers this question.