What Is Traditional Swedish Clothing?

In Sweden, women traditionally wore skirts, aprons, stockings, hats and shoes, while men and boys wore trousers, shirts, long socks and shoes. Swedes refer to traditional styles of dress as folk dress and national costumes. Different styles of dress appeared for men and women, and distinguished social classes from one another.

In the early 1900s, Queen Silvia and Marta Palme introduced the Swedish national costume, which varied in design and color for the different socioeconomic classes, to give Swedes a sense of national pride and unity as citizens. Men and women’s traditional folk dress come in the two primary colors of blue and yellow, the colors of the Swedish flag. Swedes made their own garments at home. Although instructed to follow national standards, clothing varied among regions within Sweden. Women’s national costumes featured aprons, scarves, bonnets and bags. Aprons extended down to the ground, and featured full, pleated skirt bodies. Women wore neck scarves over blouses, made with linen, silk or wool and decorated with intricate embroidery. Head coverings, usually lace-lined hats, protected women’s hair from dirt and oil, and helped retain warmth. Men and women completed national costumes with bags. Bags came in different styles and fabrics to indicate the socioeconomic status and geographical origins of wearers.