Traditional dress around the world - Pollera, Panama

Traditional Dresses Around The World

When I visit a country, I like to learn about the country’s culture and traditions. The clothes worn by the people of the country, especially their traditional dresses or traditional attire, are definitely a part of it. Read on and learn about the traditional dress of different countries around the world and how and when they are worn.

1. Traditional dress of India – Sari or Saree

Traditional dress of India - Sari or Saree
Traditional dress of India – Sari or Saree. Image Credit: @Pixabay

India is a country with many sub-cultures and traditions. Hence, you’ll find a variety of dresses that are considered as “traditional” relating to each sub-culture. However, the Sari is predominantly accepted as main the traditional dress of women in India.

A Sari is worn with a blouse and a Sari skirt. The Sari skirt is a full length skirt worn underneath the Sari for the purpose of holding the Sari around the waist. To wear a Sari, tuck one end of the Sari in the Sari skirt just below your navel. Then, wrap the Sari around the body once till you arrive at the navel again. Here, fold the Sari into 3 or 4 vertical pleats and tuck it into the Sari. Pull what is left around the body and drape it on the chest and shoulder.

A Sari is not only worn during special festivals and ceremonies, it’s also worn everyday by many. What distinguishes the “special occasion Sari” from the everyday one is the material from which it’s made. Saris worn for special occasions and weddings are usually made from silk and have gold embroidery in them whereas the Saris worn everyday are made from cotton or nylon that are more comfortable to wear.

2. Traditional dress of Thailand – Chut Thai

Traditional dress of Thailand - Chut Thai
Traditional dress of Thailand – Chut Thai

The traditional dress of Thailand is Chut Thai. Its also the national dress of Thailand which is worn on formal occasions by the members of the royal family.

A Chut Thai has three parts – a pha nung, a blouse, and a sabai. A pha nung is a strip of cloth thats wrapped around the waist and a sabai is a strip of cloth draped on the chest and shoulder. A jeweled belt at the waist helps hold the dress in place. As shown in the picture, it is sometimes accessorised with a crown.

If you want to try out the Chut Thai, there are shops in Bangkok that rent it out for a photo shoot. I spotted one at Wat Arun and of course had to try it out. This experience is definitely worth spending 100 Baht on.

3. Traditional dress of Panama – Pollera

Traditional dress around the world - Pollera, Panama
Traditional dress around the world – Pollera, Panama

Considered to emanate from sixteenth century Spanish dress, the Panamanian Pollera is worn during traditional festivals and private celebrations.
Mainly made of cotton and wool, the two-piece dress consists of a shirt and long skirt. It is predominantly white with colourful flower-patterned adornments. Gold jewellery worn around the neck and on the head complements the dress and an array of tembleques (non-jewel ornaments) completes the headdress.
An interesting feature of the Pollera is the set of pom-poms, one in front and the other at the back. The colour of the shoes always matches that of the pom-poms.
The Pollera is very expensive as it is entirely crafted by hand and can take a year or more to complete. Women would commonly own two Polleras during their lifetime, one as a girl before turning 16, the other during adulthood.

Image and content submitted by Chris from TravelHippi

4. Traditional dress of Scotland – Kilt

Traditional dress around the world - Kilt, Scotland
Traditional dress around the world – Kilt, Scotland

There are many reasons to visit Scotland from the castles to the ceilidhs but best of all….the kilts. The tartan used to create your kilt will reflect your clan or family name, however in modern times the majority of kilts are hired not owned and therefore vary in colour and style depending on the occasion.

Worn by both men and women – although predominantly men – they can be seen at graduation ceremonies, weddings, Christmas parties and even at football matches if the Scotland team are playing.

There are numerous accessories to accompany the kilt such as the sporran – a fur “pouch” worn around the waist, wool socks worn to the knee, lace up brogue shoes and the sgian dubh (pronounced skee-in-doo) a small knife tucked into the sock. Despite the numerous add ons, there is one item traditionally removed when wearing a kilt – underwear. Known as being a “true Scotsman” it is common to not wear underwear when wearing a kilt, which after a few drams does result in some giggles!

Image and content submitted by: Lauren from

5. Traditional dress of Chile – Chilean Huaso Attire

Traditional dress of Chile : attire of the Chilean Huaso
Traditional dress of Chile : attire of the Chilean Huaso

The “Chilean Huaso” attire is one of the most relevant in Chile, mainly used in the central zone of the country.

The man is dressed in cloth pants and shirt, including in the outfit items such as spurs to dominate the horse, a waist belt of generally red color, a hat called “chupalla” and, most importantly, a traditional blanket similar to a poncho but with square terminations.

The women wear a dress of beautiful colors and flowered stamp, black heels and a white handkerchief on the belt.

Both suits are mainly used between September 16 and 19 when the country celebrates the Independence Day. Those days the “cuecas” (traditional songs of Chile) sound everywhere and people dance dressed as Huasos. However, still many people in the countryside use this attire every day.

Image and content submitted by: Alejandra from Universo Viajero

6. Traditional dress of Qatar – Abaya and Thobe

Please note no photo due to local sensibilities

Ever wondered what Qatar traditional clothing or the Qatar National Dress looks like. The national dress of the Middle East is actually pretty standard across countries and is a national dress rather than a religious dress as often mistaken!

For women the national dress it is usually the abaya –a black robe worn over clothes alongside the black headscarf known as the shayla. You will see some older members of the Qatari community wearing a batoola – a golden metal face covering but this seems to have fallen out of fashion with the younger generation!

For men it’s the thobe! A white robe, that always looks pristine with a gutra (Headscarf)! Both will be worn by locals in the country everyday of the year.

Content submitted by: Leona from

7. Traditional dress of the Cheese-Porters of Alkmaar, The Netherlands

Traditional dress of the cheese porters of the Netherlands
Traditional dress of the cheese porters of the Netherlands

In The Netherlands there are plenty of traditional attires, which all depends on the region and event. One of the traditional attires is the attire of the men at the cheese market in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.

The men who carry the cheeses wear long, white pants and a white blouse that is tucked into the trousers. To distinguish which group of cheese carriers they belong to they have a coloured band on their hat. Some colours are that are used are red, white and blue. You’ll see these kind of suspenders as well, those are to connect to the platforms with the cheeses they carry.

The cheese market in Alkmaar was held every, single week years ago, but nowadays it has turned into a small tourist attraction. Here you will experience a market where you can discover the way cheese was sold many years ago.

Image and content submitted by: Manon from

8. Traditional dress of Uganda – Gomesi

Traditional dress of Uganda: Gomesi
Traditional dress of Uganda: Gomesi . Pic Credit: sarahemcc, Gomesi, Image resized by Pari, CC BY 2.0

Forget about all other traditional attires you’ve seen, Uganda’s Gomesi, a traditional attire for women in the central and Eastern part of Uganda is one of a kind,- in its complexity lies a great deal of respect and culture borne by the person wearing it. The gomesi commands a lot of respect in that certain things cannot be done while wearing it. A woman wearing a gomesi is required to walk and act differently (carefully and gently) from someone wearing jeans or a normal dress.

A gomesi is not just worn alone, underneath the gomesi, a kikoi “translated as a woven cloth” is wrapped around the waist to better the general outlook of the gomesi on a body and after then a kitambala “translated as a sash” is tied around the waist to give the gomesi a complete clean look.

A gomesi is always worn on traditional functions like traditional or customary weddings, on burials, church weddings and all cultural functions that require women to look more cultural than fashionable.

Although the gomesi can be worn both at a wedding and a funeral, the quality that goes to each function differs- good quality gomesis are worn on weddings and happy festivities while the poor quality ones are worn on burials.

Content submitted by: Esther Namugerwa from The adventurous feet

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Traditional dresses around the world - from Sari of India, to Gomesi of Uganda and Chut Thai of Thailand, find out about these wonderful traditional attire and when to wear them. #Traditionaldress #Traditionaldresses #chutthai #Gomesi #Sari
Traditional dresses around the world.


  1. Deepika Bhardwajsays:

    Hi nice article, but couldn’t you find a better in fact beautiful picture of Indian traditional dress across the web…

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