I’m all for the recent serious revivals of both regional traditional folk costumes (Folk costumes) and the Swedish National Dress (Sweden dress).
They have gone from being practically forgotten to being worn by Swedes from all walks of life, including performers in the spooky 2019 smash film Midsommar and school teachers during graduations and the royal family at national day ceremonies.
And it’s not difficult to understand why: The traditional costumes allow us to occasionally break free from the industrially produced wear-and-tear clothes we wear on a daily basis while also bringing us closer to our roots in this ever-evolving period.
Additionally, they look fantastic! Here is a list of Folk costumes that I put together from various parts of Sweden; there are only a few on each list.
There are countless others, as you will see below): On the day of our third grade graduation, my elementary school teacher was wearing a stunning Oxie-made folkdräkt, often known as an Oxiedräkt:
I’ll be explaining everything if you’re interested in learning more about the many various traditional Swedish outfits and costumes.
I’ll begin with Sweden dress (the Swedish National Dress), and after that I’ll examine and demonstrate all the other regional folk costumes (Folk costumes) that are worn in various regions of Sweden.
Sweden Dress, The National Costume Of Sweden
The most typical traditional folk costume you’ll encounter in Sweden is probably called “Sweden dress,” and since it was first worn in about 1907, its popularity has fluctuated.
Since the general public began to embrace more traditional methods of clothing production in the 1970s, the most recent trend has gained popularity. This trend increased after Queen Silvia of Sweden wore one at the celebrations of Sweden’s National Day in 1983.
The General Swedish National Costume Association’s Party Dress is the official name for the traditional Swedish national costume. Sweden dress, or “the Sweden dress,” will do just well. (“the General Swedish National Costume Association’s Party Dress”).
Despite being the most well-known traditional Swedish costume, the national dress is nonetheless rather modern when compared to the regional folk costumes.
Let’s examine how Sweden dress came to be the following.
Sweden Dress’s History (The Traditional Swedish National Dress)
The traditional costume (folk costume) that was not only prevalent but also the inspiration for Sweden dress was created in the early 1900s. But in the 1700s, it was nearly universal among the populace (more on that further down the article).
The national dress was considered as an alternative to the new industrial wave of fashion that was sweeping through Europe at the time, as was the overall drive toward returning to more traditional clothes.
Svenska Kvinnliga Nationaldräktsföreningen motion in the dress (The Swedish Female National Dress Association).
ll-fitting garments, unpleasant corsets, and floor-length dresses that were difficult to clean. In other words, they desired apparel that was more sensible, organic, and affordable.
The clothing was also created to strengthen the bonds between the women of Sweden and Norway (who at the time were united), regardless of their distinct geographic backgrounds and traditional folk costume attire.
The Swedish Crown Princess Victoria of Baden ordered that all employees on her estate wear a costume (more precisely, a Tullgarnsdräkten, see below) while working in 1900, when the dress’ creator, Marta Jorgensen (born Palme), worked as a gardener.
In 1900, when the dress’ inventor, Marta Jorgensen (born Palme), worked as a gardener for the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria of Baden, she commanded that all staff on her estate wear a costume (more specifically, a Tullgarnsdräkten, see below) while working.
Marta observed the garment’ usefulness in her daily work, and as manors and castles all throughout Sweden began reviving the traditional folk attire. She believed that creating a dress that the entire nation could wear was only natural.
She started working on a traditional clothing for all Swedish (and Norwegian) women to wear at this time, which led to the founding of Nationaldräktsföreningen (the National Dress Association).
The Sweden Dress Design (The Traditional Swedish National Dress)
Sweden dress was created with the goals of being “useful, affordable, hygienic, and appealing to the sense of beauty”.
It was produced in two primary variations: a festive variation and an ordinary variation (see below). The traditional Swedish clothing that we still wear today is more in line with the festive model to the right.
Here is an excellent movie by Sanna Haydon that demonstrates the Sverigedräkt (Swedish National Dress) in greater detail and, as an added bonus, features some top-notch Swedish folk music in the background:
And if you’re interested in the specifics, the dress’ official requirements are as follows:
Cloth made of thin wool. The Swedish flag from the turn of the century was blue. The turn-of-the-century flag was made of wool and stitched in muted hues that were made possible by the dyeing methods of the day.
Bodice: the exact same cloth in either blue or brilliant red with green embroidery.
Only when the red apron edging or red stockings are present in the costume are red lacings used, and narrow silk ribbons in either green or red are used for the bodice.
The belt: of the same fabric as the skirt, secured with a buckle, clasp, or other similar device.
The apron: the same material as the bodice, but yellow (the colour of the flag), with a border that is embroidered with highly stylized floral designs that match the needlework on the bodice.
Red or blue fabric has a border sewed on. Yellow, blue, and green home-woven ribbons are used to tie the apron.
The stockings: If red is used in the outfit, it should be red rather than black.
The Shoes: ideally black slippers or lace-up shoes. (There shouldn’t be any attention-getting shoes.)
Headgear: Authentic airy hat (large shepherd’s cap, made of white linen) and white head scarf wound around a cardboard ring (propeller). Optional.
Folk Costumes, A Traditional Costume From Sweden
Swedish traditional folk costumes, known as Folk costumes, come in roughly 840 different varieties. Of which about 550 are worn by women and about 290 by men.
As we’ll see in the images below, many tiny settlements have distinctive designs of their own. And they’re extremely different from one another.
As an illustration of how they differ, here is a photo of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s family wearing Folk costumes from three different regions:
In the 1700s and 1800s, this was the standard of attire for the general people of Sweden (or, more particularly, the peasants, as Sweden was predominantly a farming culture).
Which naturally contrasts with nowadays, when they are typically worn on significant occasions and festivals. Such Midsummer, the Swedish national holiday, or graduation from school.
Here is a fantastic video of the Skansen Folkdanslag (folk dance group) performing Folk costumes from various regions of Sweden while dancing to Swedish folk music (seems like it could be landsdräkt or Landsdräkt):
Swedish Folk Costumes Used Traditionally By Region
Each Swedish region, or “landskap,” has its own distinctive folk costumes, or “folkdräkt,” and frequently even smaller “sub-regions” or “villages.”
Since there has been a bit of a folk costume resurgence in Sweden recently, some new designs have emerged. They were primarily created around the 18th century as either workwear or festive dress.
As an illustration, my hometown of Oxie, which has about 15000 residents and is part of Malmö. The third-largest city in Sweden, still has its own traditional dress, called Oxiedräkten.
My elementary school teacher dressed in Oxie folk costumes (Oxiedräkten) at each graduation throughout grades 1-3. As shown in the following examples:
The design of the folk costumes my instructor wore above may be compared to an earlier example from the 1940s below. Which demonstrates how the design has evolved somewhat but largely remained consistent over time:
More regional Swedish folk costumes are shown here, in sequence from south to north:
Also Read: 9 of the Best Islands in Spain for Holidays
Scandinavian Folklore (Traditional Folk Costumes)
A Skene Folk costumes is worn by the title character of the well-known children’s book Nils Holgersson. As seen in the mural below by Sven Erixson.
If you’re interested in learning more, the Vasa National Archives in Bishop Hill, Illinois, has a good slideshow that includes numerous traditional folk costumes from all throughout Sweden along with brief descriptions:
What Occasions Do Swedes Dress In The Traditional Folk Costumes?
The Sweden dress and Folk costumes are frequently seen in Sweden during the summer. Particularly during joyous occasions like weddings, graduations, and celebrations of national holidays.
For instance, my elementary school teacher wears one at every graduation. And the royal family does so on all official holidays.
In The Film Midsommar, Swedish Folk Costumes
You may have noticed the numerous traditional Swedish folk costumes that were worn throughout the 2019 film Midsommar. If you’re a fan of the work.
Here is a great in-depth video about Midsommar costumes if you’ve seen the movie and would like to look more closely at the outfits: Warning: Spoilers ahead!
And if you haven’t seen the movie, you should probably do so because it’s a fascinating experience for anyone. Who is curious about Swedish history, culture, or customs.
In addition, I should point out that this is a pretty intense video. So if you don’t like horror movies, you should probably avoid it.
1. What Is Traditional Swedish Clothing?
Traditional Swedish clothing is a style of dress based on regionally-distinctive garments worn by people in Sweden. Its colorful, intricate embroidery and unique silhouettes characterize it..
2. What Is The National & Regional Folk Costumes Of Sweden?
The National & Regional Folk Costumes of Sweden is a collection of traditional Swedish clothing from each of the country’s regions. It includes traditional garments, accessories, and materials such as wool, linen, and cotton.
3. What Is The History Of Traditional Swedish Clothing?
Traditional Swedish clothing has been in existence for centuries, with regional variations developed over time. Objects of garment wearing as early as the 12th century have been found. The most recognizable form of traditional Swedish clothing dates back to the 18th century.
4. What Are The Different Regional Folk Costumes Of Sweden?
The regional folk costumes of Sweden vary by area. Some of the more well-known regional costumes are the Östersunds, Sjö-Svea, and Dalsland. Each costume is unique, with its own colours and embroidery.
5. How Is Traditional Swedish Clothing Usually Worn?
When Traditional Swedish clothing is worn for formal or informal occasions. Jewellery and other items are generally accessorized with a white shirt or blouse.