What Was Tlingit Clothing Like?

Historically, Tlingit clothing included long robes for men and women, skirts for women and pants for men, moccasins and accessories including necklaces, rings and piercings. In the Tlingit culture, clothing varied depending on the season and occasion. Men and women typically adopted different clothing styles for everyday use and for formal occasions, such as dances and important ceremonies.

In the warmer months, Tlingit men and women sported lightweight, minimalist clothing. Men and boys sometimes wore short, simple loincloths. They frequently wore lightweight footwear too, primarily moccasins. Women wore dresses and skirts.

In the colder months, men and women wore longer coats and robes made of fur. Women sported dresses made of deerskin, while men transitioned to pants.

Clothing materials initially consisted of cedar and animal fur until contact with westerners, when the Tlingit began using cotton fabrics.

Year-round, Tlingit men and women wore headpieces in the shape of baskets. These baskets had elaborate decorations symbolizing social status and family lineage.

For formal occasions, men dressed in cloaks, also painted with special designs and leggings. For potlaches and other semi-formal events, Tlingit members wore Chilkat robes made of goat hair. They sported headpieces decorated with the fur and whiskers off vermin and sea lions.