Folk costume

Faroese folk dance club with some members in national costumes.

A folk costume (also regional costume, national costume, or traditional garment) expresses an identity through costume, which is usually associated with a geographic area or a period of time in history. It can also indicate social, marital and/or religious status. Such costumes often come in two forms: one for everyday occasions, the other for festivals and formal wear.

Following the outbreak of romantic nationalism, the peasantry of Europe came to serve as models for all that appeared genuine and desirable. Their dress crystallised into so-called "typical" forms, and enthusiasts adopted that attire as part of their symbolism.

In areas where Western dress codes have become usual, traditional garments are often worn at special events or celebrations; particularly those connected with cultural traditions, heritage or pride. International events may cater for non-Western attendees with a compound dress code such as "business suit or national dress".

In modern times, there are instances where traditional garments are required by sumptuary laws. In Bhutan, the traditional Tibetan-style clothing of gho and kera for men, kira and toego for women, must be worn by all citizens, including those not of Tibetan heritage. In Saudi Arabia, women are also required to wear the abaya in public.


Ugandan women in gomesi

Central Africa

Eastern Africa

Somali woman in traditional attire

Northern Africa

Southern Africa

Western Africa

Yoruba men in folk costume


Indonesian girl wearing traditional Palembangese Songket
Palestinian family wearing typical clothing.
Modern Bedouin from Saudi Arabia with turban and jambiya dagger
Assyrian child wearing the traditional Assyrian clothing.

Central Asia

Eastern Asia

Southern Asia

Southeastern Asia

Western Asia


Northern Caucasus folk costumes. The text at the bottom of the picture reads (from left to right): Ossetians, Circassians, Kabardians, and Chechens.
Costumes of inhabitants of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1855: Romanian, ethnic Hungarian (Magyar), Slovak and German peasants
Traditional kroj from Slovakia
Andalusian folk costumes from Spain

Eastern Europe

Central Europe

Northern Europe

Southern Europe

Western Europe

North America

American senators wearing seersucker suits associated with the Southern US
China Poblana dress, emblematic of the City of Puebla and sometimes considered the national costume of Mexico.


Central America

Northern America


Australia and New Zealand



South America


  1. "Носиите – Жеравна 2014". 2013-06-16. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  2. "Български народни носии – България в стари снимки и пощенски картички". Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  3. Condra, Jill, ed. (2013). Encyclopedia of National Dress, Vol. I. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 123.
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