Belgium traditional clothing is nowadays only worn on special occasions at festivals and special celebrations. Today an example is The Shrove Tuesday Carnival in Binche, where men dress in brightly coloured padded costumes with large white collars and wooden shoes. This event is the closest demonstration to the style of ethnic clothing worn and imitates the Wallonia traditional costume.
The diverse ethnic groups and times all have their own versions of a national costume. Belgium as a country consists of people from different nations, including Flemish from Flanders, French speaking Walloons, the local Dutch and Germans that have all given colour and character to the traditional clothing of Belgium in the past. In farmland areas of Belgium you can still see some women wearing the traditional dark clothes with white aprons a style that was once worn by the Dutch and Flemish.
In the past Belgium had a history of making use of special gowns for ladies that were elaborate and unique. The gown that the country is most famous for, and is still really popular and used for wedding dresses is the Huntress. This dress design had a lot of significance and character with Celtic trimming on the edges of the sleeves and bias edging, and ties with trimmings of colouful beads. The dress is worn with a white chemise and is still designed in its masses today.
The Eponin is among one of the most attractive women’s traditional dresses and also known as a slimming dress with a square neck. It has a unique shape around the neck and has a matching trim, and each side is laced up with grommets. This allowed for women of different sizes to wear it, which was its distinctive advantage for women. The dress also has a slim waist which defined it femininity.
A lot of traditional clothing in Belgium was influenced by the French style. The French occupation left a hug impact on dress sense of Belgians, in particular French speaking areas. A lot of the national costumes for boys are modeled on French designs. The love of berets and smocks among Belgian men originated from the French rule, and up until the 20th century boys wore dresses and tunics.
Smocks and berets are extremely popular amongst the Belgian men. This trend was picked up from the French during their reign over the locals. Young boys could actually be seen wearing dresses with pantalettes (an undergarment for girls and boys) all the way up to the 20th century. School children also wore smocks. Knee length pants were common among boys in the early 1900’s and by the 1950’s the beret and smock had became a fashionable style.The late 19th century began to see a new fashion in the form of a new trend of tailored suits in Belgium. Now like many cultures Belgium traditional clothing is only worn for special events.