Traditional dress is called „Tracht“.
Originally worn as Sunday best and for festive celebrations such as the cows returning from their summer pastures with the celebration of distributing the cheese made in the Alps over summer.
Just as today's Costume designers are responsible for developing, creating and fitting the costumes for characters in film, television and theater productions, the Swiss have the Tract Commission with many regional Costumer Clubs.
The costumes styles and designs are cared for by the Costume clubs to preserve the culture and traditions. Each area in Switzerland has its own costume style for example the valley of Lauterbrunnen is different from the fashion of the neighboring valley Grindelwald.
The Tract Commission also gives tips on how each piece of the costume needs to be appropriately worn. For example, the Lauterbrunnen ensemble includes a straw hat,
“The hat is intended as a sunscreen. He belongs on the head. In closed rooms, the hat can also be worn on the back or in the hand. The brashest we wear the hat a little bit obliquely. Turn the edge slightly forward. Little flowers are optional”.
Experiencing traditional garb is a way to show a genuine cultural appreciation for human diversity. By donning traditional clothing, we can understand a little of the ways of the past. Wearing traditional garments helps you gain an understanding of the innate relationship local people share with their environment. The materials used and the functionality of the outfit provide a myriad of clues in understanding the culture.
Although traditional dress is not often seen, there are occasional younger groups that re-introduce their local styles. Oftentimes, local designers will borrow elements of design from traditional dress for their own styles, for example by using a traditional sleeve shape. It tells a story. What we wear, tells a story that is more than identity.
These traditional Swiss costumes tell a story of frugality, hardship and pragmatism in a harsh climate. The daily clothes would have had similar style connections to this Sunday best wardrobe. Elements such as sturdy shoes and always a hardy apron or outer protective covering to handle animals and inclement weather.
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