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.



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…


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!


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.


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


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!!



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


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


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.



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