One of the most curious things about folk costumes is that, historically, they are formed by the local customs, climate, crafts, available materials, and other specific factors for a particular region or even city, town, or village. And it’s always fun to compare traditional clothing from different areas inside the same country. This time, we’re talking about Lithuania and its unique national outfits from 5 Lithuanian ethnographic regions.
Aukštaitija ethnographic region (northeastern Lithuania)
The traditional attire of this area is quite modest and is characterized by the dominance of white color in female outfits. Women wear white linen aprons, shirts, wimples, all of the pieces adorned with embroidery. Such folk clothes make Lithuanian ladies look regal and even a bit motherly, sometimes older than they are.
Also, striped and checkered patterns are rather popular in Aukštaitija – skirts, belts, trousers, bodices, vests, etc are often motley and multi-colored. But the colors are typically dark and not very bright.
By the way, the local cuts of clothes and folk clothing craft motifs are among the oldest in Lithuania, particularly the weaving and embroidery patterns.
Dzūkija ethnographic region (southeastern Lithuania)
In this area, the national costume is vivid and colorful, probably the most flamboyant among Lithuanian regions. It’s interesting that the locals wore traditional outfits long into the 20th century, even after WWII, so the clothing traditions are very strong and well-preserved here.
The folk attire of Dzūkija region is characterized by tiny repeated patterns on clothing, both geometric and floral. Striped and checkered designs are widespread. And the colors of these patterns are usually bright and catchy.
Ladies use a lot of colorful ribbons in this area, especially made by mixing two contrasting colors.
Suwałki ethnographic region (modern Poland)
This area today belongs to Poland but, historically, it’s Lithuanian and it remains the center of the Lithuanian minority and culture in Poland. At one time, Suwałki region became the home to Samogitians, a Lithuanian subgroup, and two new ethnic communities arose – the Zanaviks and the Kapsai.
Zanavik folk outfits are darker, often black with colorful patterns. Kapsai costumes are lighter, more multicolored, and often striped.
Samogitia ethnographic region (northwestern Lithuania)
The local traditional clothing is vivid and colorful. Such colors as red, purple, green, and brown are among the most typical. Striped patterns are also very popular in this region, with dominating red color. Red, orange, and purple stripes can be seen on many women’s woven garments. Checkered designs are rarer but still occur.
Samogitian men prefer dark fabrics, often monochrome. Although, plain green male outerwear is something typical.
Lithuania Minor or Small Lithuania (western Lithuania)
The national attire of this area is considered one of the most archaic in Lithuania. The cut and design of the garments are old and traditional. The colors of these outfits and embroidered and woven patterns are darker.
In general, this region is very conservative, and in clothes, too. The old clothing traditions are preserved here like nowhere else in the country. And people love to wear folk clothing made by archaic customs and techniques.