Last week a Swedish woman named Annika wrote me with information about Swedish national dress. So, I am going to share this with all of you. Her words will be in blue.
First of all, being a Swede myself, I just thought I'd help you out with how to find some pictures of Swedish regional dresses "in action", so to speak.
I would love to see an up close photo of that dress!
The reason we have a blue and yellow national dress (created somewhere around the 1900's) was because the cities and some other areas of Sweden did not have their own regional dress. So for every Swede to be able to dress up in a folkdräkt, the national dress was created. The regional dresses are for the area where you are born, which can be more or less specific - for the whole province or just a small village - but the national dress is for everyone and anyone.
Oh, and if you're interested in making your own Swedish national dress, they sell kits from Ekelunds weavers:
Follow this link
(The page is in Swedish, unfortunately, but I know that the instructions are in Swedish/German/English).
I wonder if my great-grandfather or more likely my great-great-grandfather wore clothes like this?
So, I asked Annika about how the Norwegians and Swedes differ in how and when they dress in their national costume. And this is what she said.
I suppose the Norweigans use their national dresses more than we do, but to be honest, I'm not really sure. It used to be more common in Sweden to wear a national or regional dress a few decades ago, in previous generations. Then you could see people wearing them to official functions, weddings, or fancy parties, but now it has gone out of fashion. It is still the dress that will work for any social gathering which requires a dress code - if you worry about what length of dress to wear, which bag that's OK, which colour that would be all right - a national dress is always an option that wouldn't raise any eyebrows more than it's quite unusual a sight these days. So, no, you don't see national or regional dresses that much in Sweden these days, except at folkdance performances and on Midsummer's Eve (which is also a big day for folkdance, so I guess it's really the dancing that ties it all together). You sometimes see the Swedish royal family wearing the national dress, but except for the dancing events, that's about it. In Norway and Finland I guess they use them more often, but I've heard that, at least in Finland, the use of the national dress is declining, just like in Sweden. But I've also heard that folkdance in Sweden has managed to attract more young people the last few years, and there also seem to be a new surge of making clothes that last and buying second hand recently, so who knows? Maybe it will be more common to see regional and national dresses in Sweden again.
My cousin thinks it is because Swedish people are not very nationalistic. Well, I just think those traditional costumes are so lovely and I'm glad some people are still making and wearing them.
So, thank you, Annika.