10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World

It is said that clothes can tell so much about a person. Their personality, sense of humor, favorite color, and the list could go on and on. But, how much can clothes tell about entire cultures or countries?

In Western countries, in the 21st Century, it’s quite common to travel and notice a somewhat similar style in dressing. For example, jeans, t-shirt, short skirts, tank tops. Honestly, in my opinion, that’s a bit disappointing. I always wonder what it would be like to arrive in 19th Century Japan, or 16th Century Russia. And see how cultures can be different simply on the way people dress.

Needless to say, this is one of the things I loved the most about Asia. (Especially India and Bali): the stunning traditional ethnic wear.As a result, I could spend hours exploring local fabric shops, checking every detail of a specific embroidery and falling in love with every new piece of ethnic clothing discovered.

In India, the saree is such a strong part of local culture, that women wear it even for exercising at the park or climbing snowy mountains. As a result in this blog, we are sharing 10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.

Coming from a country with NO traditional ethnic wear of its own. Unless you consider half-naked people in the 15th Century wearing feathers all around. I’ve always envied how clothes are such a big part of a country’s identity. ‘

1. India

Types of Indian Clothes:

Lehenga:

Indian-Wedding-Lehenga|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World

There is a plethora of ethnic clothes in India. To begin with, our favorite is the bridal lehenga, which consists in 3 parts: a long skirt (usually A-line) called Lehenga, a cropped top called Choli, and a type of scarf called dupatta. It’s heavily embroidered and commonly in red color, the traditional color of Indian brides.

Heavy jewelry, a set of bangles and bridal mehendis (henna tattoos) on the brides’ feet and arms complete this dazzling ethnic outfit.

Lahenga-by-tarun-tahiliani|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World
Beautiful lehenga by Tarun Tahiliani

Saree

Indian-Saree-with-flower-embroidery-blouse|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World
Credit: tikli.in

Saree is common Indian traditional wear for women. It’s a 9-meter fabric wrapped around on the bottom along with a tank top looking blouse. Usually it is worn in the same way across the whole India. But, there are different ways and fabrics these sarees are made up of. For example, in south it is popularly made with real silk. In addition to it, in the north it is usually in cotton or other lighter fabrics with prints and embroidery.

Kurta

Salwar Suit|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.
Credit:
Qaiynat By Bhavna Malhotra

Kurtis or Salwar are also as common as Sarees. They are super comfortable and very traditional in design. Moreover, Kurtis is nowadays more common among girls and younger women.

2. Thailand

Traditional Thai Dress| 10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.

Traditional Thai costumes are called chut thai (“Thai outfit”). Although recent, there are also several types. The formal one is called chakkri: a long tube skirt (called sinh) with two front pleats and a sabai – a type of shawl that covers the top of the body, leaving one shoulder out. The sophisticated fabric is made from traditional weaving techniques.

3. Japan

Traditional-Kimono-Japan|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World
Kimono, in Japan

In Japanese, kimono means “thing to wear”. Now popular in simpler versions in the Western wardrobe, the traditional kimono comprises of several layers, secured in place with a Japanese type of ribbon called obi. Socks and a geta – a mixture of flip flops and clogs give a final touch to this traditional costume.

4. Finland

I love how cold countries have such colorful outfits! The contrast between the pale landscapes and bright clothes is so beautiful! To begin with, Finland, traditional clothing is obviously quite warm, with European influences. And in several pieces of clothes, like a blouse, skirt, vest, jacket, apron, scarf, cap and so on.

5. Mongolia

In Mongolia, the absolute center of attention are the headpieces. Big, colorful, sometimes beaded, their type and usage vary according to the season of the year, everyday or festive use, fashionable or for ceremonies – hats for all styles and occasions! Infact, there are more than 400 different styles of hats in Mongolia. Along with the hat is worn a type of tunic called Deel, boots and silver accessories.

6. Romania

Romanian Folk Costume|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.
Romanian Folk Costume.

Romanian folk costumes change according to the different regions of the country. For example, like in Transylvania or Moldova. White shirts are worn with colorful embroidered vests and skirts. Moreover, these have evolved a lot since the first mentions of Romanian Clothing in history, more than 5000 years ago!

7. Uzbekistan

Traditional-ethnic-uzbec-dress|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.
Traditional Uzbek clothing. Credit on photo.

In Uzbekistan, traditional clothing is nowadays worn in rural areas or during festivities. Everyday clothes for women consists of long tunics and trousers. Red is a popular color. And clothes for special events are rich in embroideries and a 3 piece headdress. Furthermore, the headpiece, called Tubeteikas, is one of the main elements in Uzbek clothing.

8. Peru

Peru Ethnic wear for women
Credit: unknown
Even the llamas are stylish. Credit: unknown

The traditional Peruvian dress is a delight to the eyes! In Peru, the hat is also a popular accessory. And quite often a woman’s region can be identified from the type of hat she wears. Another traditional and regional piece is Lliclla. A shawl worn on the shoulders, fastened in the front. The handwoven skirts are called polleras, and might be worn 3 or 4 at the same time! Bright colors, embroideries, and handwoven fabrics create beautiful outfits. They contrast with the green cloudy landscapes from the Andean mountains.

9. Cameroon

Traditional-ethnic-african-dress-from-cameroon|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.
Doris Imalenowa in traditional African dress from Cameroon.

Certainly, any post about ethnic clothing is not complete unless it mentions at least one African country. Africa is a huge continent with many different cultures and types of clothing and colorful prints. In Cameroon, clothing varies according to the area of the country, as the North is arid and Muslim. For example, a long oversized tunic in colorful prints and beautifully wrapped turbans of the traditional Cameroonian clothing.

10. Mexico

Mexican-traditional-clothes|10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around the World.
Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum

Traditional Mexican clothing is famous worldwide. Huipil, a cotton sleeveless or short sleeved tunic, is worn with colorful long skirts. In addition, floral motifs are quite popular, worn on the hair (Frida Kahlo, anyone?). Especially embroidered on the skirts and tunics. Colorful, vibrant and unforgettable!

In conclusion, are you also in love with Ethnic and Folk clothing? In addition to it would you like to suggest other countries to be featured in the list of 10 Traditional Ethnic Clothes Around The World? Let us know in the comments below!