Traditional Swedish Folk costume

midsommar

In Leksand where we have our house the old tradition of wearing folk costume is still very present on midsummer, weddings and special occasions. When I was younger I thought it was nuts but I guess as with many things now I love it. I’m also getting older and wiser… I think I saw it as something holding the evolution back instead of  an homage of older tradition as I see it now.

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Sure there are some folks that are very strict in how, when, what you should wear these costumes. But many are just happy for the tradition to live on. Just as in these villages – 20 years ago when people from outside moved to these villages and wanted to do something new they where nearly bullied by the villages but nowadays the old people are more happy that the houses is being used and loved. These images above I took a couple of years ago on a midsummer celebration. But if you are strict – the colors are supposed to be just right, every little village as well as town have their own colors, kind of aprons, ribbons, way of tying the shawl and so on…

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I bought these 3 aprons at an auction for next to nothing. I loved the colors and became intrigued by the pink. At the costume museum there was this note that a pink apron was totally insane and no one in it’s right state of mind would ever want to wear it but it was some kind a way of testing modern expressions. Pink – always this revolting color! The black and white was used during personal mourning and the yellow is for funerals and also used when you where fasting. Fascinating – isn’t it!

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Ever since we got this house 4 years ago I’ve been wanting my own costume. The proper thing to do is to sew one myself but time hasn’t presented itself for this cause. Buying one costs as much as 8000 kronors (about 950 Dollars). But then one day last week I found a plastic bag in the attic containing a whole costume! Just the bag is missing. Above I haven’t tried it on properly but it fits! And the traditionals wont approve with the sneakers but I don’t care…

The only thing is that this costume comes from Rättvik – which is the rivalry town just north of our town Leksand. My mother in laws mothers family was from there. Maybe I can try to exchange it for a dress from this town. You get really supportive of your own town when living here.

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My mother in law gave this shawl buckles to me when she heard that I was into wearing the costume. Made of silver!

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This photo hangs in our house. The girls are relatives of my husband. Dressed properly in traditional costume from Leksand. I you follow me on instagram (@isabellemcallister) you can see an old photo with kids smiling. Something I’ve never seen before. I think it has something to do with shutter time. You had to sit rather flat and serious since you had to sit still for such a long time when the camera was in use. I don’t think everyone was this serious? Also if you got your photo taken like once in your life you probably wouldn’t had time to find you photo/mirror face yet!!

 

lailaduran

When going to the small costume museums in town I found this image. It’s made in modern time but the girl is wearing a traditional wedding outfit from this part of Sweden – Dalarna.  Makes me think of Mexican, African and folk traditions from all over the world! Also Frida Kahlo pops into my head! Very beautiful!

Photo by Laila Duran – from the book Folklore Fashion

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This image is from the Nordic Museum – an old, real wedding photo from this region taken 1901. The man actually came from a village just next to ours. Beautiful isn’t it?

Olle Björs, Heden (1872-1952) and Kari Anbo, Hästberg, 1901
Leksand Municipality in Dalarna County
Via Nordiska museet and this blog on Nordic Thoughts

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Do you think I can do a kind of modern/traditional mashup swag?

More about these costumes

 

 Eleonore Nygårds from the blog Ytligheter – she comes from Leksand and did an interview about these costumes – watch it – in Swedish here.

 

xxx
Isabelle

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12 Responses to Traditional Swedish Folk costume

  1. jans schwester July 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I like these old costumes, and I especially like your combination with sneakers and hat! thanks for showing all the beautiful photos!
    Love,
    Kerstin

    • Isabelle McAllister July 30, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

      haha KAtarina! thanks for supporting my swag!

  2. Jenny from dosfamily July 30, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I love this! So great. My mother has made a folkdräkt of her own. Perhaps i should try it on

    • Isabelle McAllister July 30, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      It’s a done deal Jenny – let’s see it on!

  3. Katarina July 30, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Very interesting for us un-swedish readers. Nice costumes!

    • Isabelle McAllister July 30, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      Thanks Katarina – glad you like it!

  4. enannanhelena July 31, 2014 at 5:35 am #

    Mums säger jag bara! Inläggs-mums! Mumma för en historia-sucker som mig, att få ta del av ett så härligt och genomarbetat inlägg!

    Det är så svårt att låta bli att le åt din mans gravallvarliga släktingar, förmodligen är det precis som du säger, med slutartider och så. Plus att man nog tyckte det var lite finare att vara allvarlig då, än vad vi oftast tycker nuförtiden. De hade väl mer högtidlighet inskrivet på dagordningen liksom.

    Tänkvärt det där med att folkdräker över hela världen påminner så mycket om varandra. (Vi är inte så olika som vissa verkar vilja tro…) Till fest ville man ha färg i överflöd så klart! Den lilla svarta var väl inte uppfunnen än? ;)

    Och den fantastiska Frida Kahlo ja, hon var ju – också – en sådan där nydanerska när det gällde stil. Eller snarare stilar.

    Så fantastiskt (ursäkta alla superlativer, men ett sånt här skönt inlägg kräver ju bara det!) att hitta en hel folkdräkt på vinden – som dessutom verkar sitta som en smäck! Älskar din kombination förresten. Särskilt dina nya vita sneakers till allt det färggranna. För visst är det väl en prislapp jag tycker mig skymta? :)

    /helena

    • Isabelle McAllister July 31, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Helena tack för dina tankar ord och all fantastisk support! Uppskattar det så mycket! Ja visst är det tur m folkdräkten och skorna fick jag i födelsedagspresent! Men tror du verkligen at de var mer seriösa förut? Innerst inne liksom?

      • enannanhelena August 1, 2014 at 9:31 am #

        Isabelle! Det korta och koncisa svaret är: Nej. Fast eftersom mitt mellannamn inte direkt stavas “kort och koncis” så måste jag förstås tillägga något mer. ;)

        Seriöst menade jag inte – högtidligt. Jag tror att de kanske tog en del situationer lite mer på allvar, än vad vi gör idag. Och ägnade sig åt en del striktare traditioner.

        Tror inte att de var så bra på det här underbara med att embrace:a the nonsens som vi är idag. Fast vad vet jag, det berodde säkert en hel del på i vilken samhällsklass man växte upp också. Rent historiskt så har väl överklassen haft väldigt mycket tid “att larva runt”, medan deras tjänare hade fullt upp med att städa upp efter dem.

        Det var bara det. ;)

        /helena

  5. Alexandra July 31, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    Så jäkla fina! Tänker också på dräkter från andra länder där man ser folket i dessa på nästan vardagliga plan och vår blir mer och mer sällsynt. Flickan på bilden, hennes hatt och sjal är så jäkla fina!

  6. Helena July 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    Älskar såna här gamla bilder! Jag arbetade nyligen med en utställning med gamla fotografier (eller daguerreotyper som det hette då, bland annat) och läste då om det där med slutartiden så det stämmer nog. Superhärlig bild på de leende barnen!

  7. Lenny August 12, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    In Germany we would call you “a perosn with a creative vein”! Love your Blog :)

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