An Indian sari, Greek toga, Native American headdress or Japanese Geisha's kimono are all examples of the rich, varied and colourful way that people around the world dress as a reflection of their culture. Whether examining everyday dress or clothing for special occasions, the traditional costumes of the world provide as much interesting material as do the people.
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Although it's unusual to see a man in a skirt in the United States, the men of Scotland have worn kilts for hundreds of years. Available in a variety of tartans, the plaid design of the kilt is often representative of the individual surname or clan. Roman men were another group who eschewed trousers in favour of tunics paired with a belt and sandals. Togas were worn by free Romans and had to be white by law.
The women of Hawaii wear easily recognisable outfits for dancing the hula. Grass skirts with a bikini-style top are commonplace now, however, dancers historically wore a wrapped skirt and often danced topless, as did the men, before western settlers demanded they were what was considered more modest dress. Ladies from the southern United States dressed considerably different in antebellum times than they do today. Hoop skirts, dresses with laces, ruffles and flounces and dainty shoes that did little to protect the feet. Large, floppy hats tied with ribbons, fans and parasols were common accessories, as were small, drawstring handbags known as reticules.
Children in Japan have historically worn kimonos just as their older counterparts did. Made from silk and tied with a wide sash known as an obi, these lightweight kimonos provided comfort and style. Their shoes were typically sandals fashioned from wood or rice straw. When it comes to children in Holland, images of the little Dutch boy and girl accurately portray the historical dress of the land. Skirts and headscarves for little girls and kerchiefs, caps and vests for boys were part of everyday wear. Both sexes wore wooden shoes.
Carnival in the South American country of Brazil is a period when people dress in lavish costumes even today. Elaborate masks made with glitter, feathers and sequins are common, as are intricate feathered headdresses worn by scantily clad women. Oktoberfest in Germany is another occasion where native dress is worn. Men dress in shorts and suspenders with a white shirt underneath -- the common costume of Bavaria. Women usually wear dirndl dresses with a white blouse that has short, puffy sleeves.
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