Welsh costume

A brief history of the Welsh costume

The traditional Welsh costume was originally adorned by rural women in Wales during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was worn as a traditional costume by wives and daughters of wealthy farmers, wearing the costume to either go to market to sell their produce or for special occasions. It was first worn by girls as a celebration on Saint David's Day before the First World War, since then the costume is now recognised as the Welsh national dress

The traditional Welsh costume as a whole went out of general use from the 1880's. Only selected elements of it became adopted, as the Welsh national dress continued to be worn by women at special events such as Royal visits, choirs, church attendees and fund raising events. The Welsh national dress was particularly worn at Eisteddfodau; a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance.

There is little evidence that traditional Welsh costumes existed before 1770. English visitors who toured Wales during the 18th and 19th centuries identified the costumes as being different from what the rural women of England would usually wear. Accounts regarding the costume were recorded in the texts and etchings of the time. The women in rural parts of Wales wore a more distinctive Welsh costume, varying from place to place, whereas in towns, women who lived near busy ports and the Welsh-English border were already wearing English fashions made of cotton.

During the 1830s Augusta Hall (later became Lady Llanover) wanted to preserve these Welsh traditions from the different parts of Wales.. She kept records through prints and drawings, promoting the Welsh language and culture. Some of Lady Llanover's prints were published in an article in 1951 but there is no evidence of her other prints being widely distributed. Her influence lives on today in her ideas of what an idealised Welsh costume should be and has become the basis of a recognised form of our National Costume.

Welsh national dress bonnett cockle style

The young women who wore the Welsh costume from the 1880s for notable occasions were seen with great pride and the spirit of the new Wales. The Welsh costume became associated with success since the Welsh ladies choir adorned the national dress, and went on to win a prize at the Eisteddfod World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. From then on they sang for Queen Victoria and performed at events throughout Britain.

The Welsh costume was considered special and sold at market even at the early date of 1832 with nearly every female member of the Royal family since Princess Victoria's visit being given a doll dressed in Welsh national dress when they visited Wales. Aproximately 80 of these 19th century dolls are still in existence with many gracing the oldest surviving Welsh costume fabrics of their kind.

The costume has been modernised over the years, made by mothers from old costumes and worn by girls on St David's Day and is now commercially available.

You'll find a fantastic range of Welsh costumes for men, women and children at Welsh Gifts. Choose from a collection of Welsh national dress costumes, traditional tweed hats for boys and bonnets for girls, as well as aprons and shawls. We also have a selection of brooches to help complete your outfit, including the daffodil and the leek to celebrate Saint David’s Day, as well as the famous Red Dragon. Order yours online today!

Shop for a traditional Welsh costume


Customer Testimonials

I am writing this email to praise the wonderful service I received from your company recently. I ordered a Welsh LoveSpoon in the early hours of Wednesday morning (00.13am) and I was kept informed on a regular basis on the status of my order throughout the day. I have received my package this morning and was amazed at just how fast, efficient and reassuring your delivery service is. The LoveSpoon I ordered is fantastic, and I know that my partner will love it. I will most certainly be using your website again, recommend you to friends, and if I am in the area I will definitely drop in to your shop. Thank you and I look forward to ordering from your website again.

J. L.

Just a quick note to say thank you for the beautiful clock I ordered from you last week. My brother is going to love it for Christmas (even though I want to keep it for myself now!) Your delivery service was very quick and the clock was very well packaged and so arrived in perfect order. Thanks again


Thank you very much for the items, I am delighted with them. Thanks for the speed of delivery - amazing


Many thanks for your speedy delivery service, item arived today, I look forward to doing more shopping with you


Thank you so much for the wonderful cufflinks which arrived today. My husband was over the moon with them. We moved from Wales 20 years ago and get very homesick, I am so glad I found welsh gifts, I shall certainly be recommending your shop?to my expat friends


Just went an got the mail, I am happy to report that the package is in one piece. Everything is wonderful and the items are beautiful. They are going to be Christmas gifts for my daughter. She was is Wales in 2003 when she was 15 yrs old. She was unable to get all the special 'Welsh' items that she wanted so I thought I could do that for her now. Thank you


Thank you very much for very quick next day delivery am very happy with the spoon will definetly buy from you again and will recommend.


Just a short note to say how very impressed I am by receiving my order less than twenty-four hours of placing it. The items are perfect also. Many are very quick to complain but how many take the time to offer praise. Well done Welsh Gifts and keep up your excellent service


Just wanted to say a big thank you for rushing me the Welsh hat in time for my daughter's themed day today at school, she was so pleased with her outfit. She even learned a couple of phrases in Welsh to surprise her teachers!