What Is the Australian Traditional Dress?

RobbyGoes/CC-BY 2.0

The traditional dress for Australia has always been about comfort, practicality and where on the continent an individual has chosen to live or to visit. In the 1930s, female bush attire evolved from images of the squatter’s daughter and aviatrix models. Trousers became a popular icon for Austrailian women in the 1940s as they experienced the difficulties of war time.

Trousers for men were based on Italian tailoring, well-made and smartly styled. Stockmen and diggers preferred pants or shorts made from tough cotton or khaki materials, worn with worsted wool or oilskin coats and vests, felt hats lined with rabbit fur and boots.

Bathing suits must be factored in when considering traditional Australian dress. In 1907, Annette Kellerman was summoned to court for wearing in public a man’s bathing costume that hugged her torso and bared her neck, legs and arms. Kellerman insisted that her chosen attire was not provocative, but practical considering the fact that she was a diver, distance swimmer and theatrical performer. Following her legal ordeal, she began designing and marketing the first one-piece swimsuits for women.

Brightly colored leisure shirts for men have been adopted from the Pacific Islands. Current dress in Australia still follows the tradition of neat, clean and comfortable.