Welsh National Costume

costume100The Welsh national costume was really the common dress of the peasant, the farm servants and cottagers and was designed for hard wear. Two hundred years ago however the advent of the industrial revolution heralded the end of home-made cloths so only the patterns and a few of the idiosyncracies of the localities have survived today.

The national costume of Wales is usually thought of as the traditional woman’s costume of a red cloak and a tall black hat. This form of the costume was developed in the 19th century, during a revival of Welsh culture, mainly by Lady Llanover.

The national dress was based on the clothes worn by Welsh country women in the early nineteenth century. They wore a striped petticoat, usually made of flannel, with a flannel open fronted bedgown over the top. They also wore an apron, a shawl and either a kerchief or a cap.

The tall black hats usually associated with the Welsh Lady costume did not appear until the late 1840s.

Between 1840 and 1870, shawls became very popular. They are not traditionally Welsh, and were worn in many places, although the shawl, usually with a checked or paisley pattern, is an accepted part of traditional costume. Shawls were also used by Welsh women to carry their babies, and this method of nursing a baby is still referred to as “Welsh fashion”.