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Latvian folk dress has a big importance in its cultural heritage. Importance in national dress was first born in 1920s and 1930s, when Latvian nation gained their independence for the first time. Garments from different regions display diverse origins, social statuses, and traditions within the country. ([Latvia.eu],2017) Latvian folk dress can be characterized by two historic periods of specific traditions. ‘’Ancient dress’’ period, from 7th to 13th century, and the second one dates back to 18th and 19th century, this period is being called “ethnic” or “ethnographic dress” period.
By the 13th century the main parts of a woman’s outfit consisted of a skirt and a long sleeved, tunic-shaped linen shirt, which was a unisex garment that could also be worn alone. Accessories such as bracelets, rings and broches were created in ancient dress period. Usage of bronze was very common in the 13th century. During ancient dress period people locally grew flax and fleece to later create their own clothing from it. Furs and leathers from domestic animals were used to make shoes, hats and belts. It was very common to use weaving or twilling techniques. Belt was one of the most important accessors, dues to the fact that clothing at the time had no pockets. Belt was used to keep clothing together and to attach useful items such as knife and keys. ([Latvia.eu],2017)
During the 16th century, a part of Latvian territory was aggravated by Germany, adding some of the German features to the Latvian folk dress. And later on during the 18th to the 19th century bronze embellishments disappeared and a lot of alterations appeared into the Latvian clothing traditions. (Nationalchlothng.org,2017)
At the end of the 19th century different colour variations became available to people. Men, as for festive outfits started using dark blue, brown or black, these fabrics were luxurious and expensive at that time. Women continues wearing linen skirts. The bottom layer of the skirt was made out of crude linen, but the visible upper layer was made out of finest linen cloth. Most common jewellery used by Latvian women was the silver brooches, decorate with pebbles or beads. They were placed on the chest and used as fasteners. (Mfa.gov.lv,2017)
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