A mountain famer of Portugal (Nowadays on the spots of tourist attraction many locals fascinate the foreigners by wearing traditional dress of Portugal ) Image: Ricardo Liberato

A mountain famer of Portugal (Nowadays on the spots of tourist attraction many locals fascinate the foreigners by wearing traditional dress of Portugal ) Image: Ricardo Liberato


The Portuguese Republic, commonly known as Portugal is located in South-Western Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula and which is named after its second largest city, Porto. Historically, Portugal is the longest-lived of the modern European colonial empires spanning almost 600 years,  spread throughout a vast number of territories of the lovely planet that are now part of 53 different sovereign states, leaving a legacy of over 250 million Portuguese speakers today. Portugal is a developed country with an advanced economy, high living standards and high-quality infrastructures.

Performance of traditional songs and dances of the folk groups of Lisbon. Traditional Outfits. Image by Viaggiatore Fantasma
Performance of traditional songs and dances of the folk groups of Lisbon. Traditional Outfits. Image by Viaggiatore Fantasma

The cultural heritage of Portugal is a blend of complex civilizations as the country possesses a very long history. The Portuguese people are very well-known for the festive and cultural celebrations and participations in carnivals, art performances, music and dances. There are around 10.2 million native Portuguese in Portugal, out of a total population of 10.75 million.

Participants of a carnival in Portugal in traditional dresses - Image: muffinn
Participants of a carnival in Portugal in traditional dresses – Image: muffinn

We must remember also that in the whole lovely planet, there are easily more than one hundred million people with recognizable Portuguese ancestors, due to the colonial expansion and worldwide immigration of Portuguese people.

Traditional costumes from Viana do Castelo, Portugal. Image  by martapiqs
Traditional costumes from Viana do Castelo, Portugal. Image by martapiqs

Modern Portuguese society is quite fashionable, although the Portuguese are particularly known very traditional and conservative. The young people are commonly seen in modern outfits like jeans and T-shirts but still the Portuguese keenly concentrate on their appearances. They are truly fabric conscious and try to choose the best clothing for their use. As far as the traditional dresses are concerned, there are some particular places in the country where the locals still prefer to dress up in their traditional outfits.

Casual and modern clothing is common in Portugal - Image: pedrosimoes7
Casual and modern clothing is common in Portugal – Image: pedrosimoes7

For a cultural-lover, Portugal is a land of fascination and cultural diversity. Traditional dress of Portugal is truly a gift of centuries old civilization and in every region; you’ll find slight variations in the traditional costumes. For men, the traditional dress may commonly include berets, stocking caps, baggy shirts and trousers while for women, long dresses, skirts, scarves and shawls may be the traditional stuff.

A dancer wearing traditional red outfit from Funchal, Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira. Image by Ivy Dawned
A dancer wearing traditional red outfit from Funchal, Portugal’s Autonomous Region of Madeira. Image by Ivy Dawned

You might see the typical traditional Portuguese woman with puffy skirt and kerchief along with loose and white blouse. She’ll love to wear such skirt with lace-trimmed neckline and cuffs with several petticoats. This skirt is normally made of heavy wool or linen. If of wool, it has a background color of either red or blue/green, with narrow stripes of other colors widely spaced. Headscarf is also a particular choice of a Portuguese woman. In winter, the women also use dark-colored shawls. Colorful embroidery and magnificent patterns on the bodice are significant factors in the traditional outfits of Portuguese women.

You might see the typical traditional Portuguese woman with puffy skirt  - Image by donald judge
You might see the typical traditional Portuguese woman with puffy skirt – Image by donald judge

The traditional red outfits are generally considered to be worn by younger women. The blue or green versions are worn in times of semi-mourning or other sadness, such as the absence of a loved one, and by older women. Some women still wear the black-mourning dresses in memory of their loved-ones for a period of two years. It is also normal to wear gloves that are made of fine cloth or leather.

Traditional outfits of Portugal - Image by Rosino
Traditional outfits of Portugal – Image by Rosino

The lavradeira folk costume of Portugal is typically associated with the Portuguese culture and people. Viana do Castelo in Portugal is known for the traditional Nossa Senhora da Agonia festivals where the women normally dress up in the colorful lavradeira dresses. Elaborate embroidery and gold necklaces are particular features of these dresses.

The lavradeira folk costume of Portugal is typically associated with the Portuguese culture and people. Image by Rosa Pomar
The lavradeira folk costume of Portugal is typically associated with the Portuguese culture and people. Image by Rosa Pomar

The traditional Filigree or filigree ornaments are so popular among the Portuguese women. These ornaments usually consist of gold and silver jewelry prepared with spectacular and delicate art-work. This art may include in sophisticated curling, twisting and plaiting fine pliable threads of metal, and uniting them at their points of contact with each other, and with the ground, by means of flux such as borax, by the help of the blowpipe.

Typical traditional Portuguese costumes with Filigree jewellery from the historic province Minho - Image  by Porto Convention and Visitors Bureau
Typical traditional Portuguese costumes with Filigree jewellery from the historic province Minho – Image by Porto Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Portuguese men traditionally wear dresses including white and collarless shirts along with jackets and adorned waistcoats. The closing at the top of the shirt is decorative with double collar links. The front of the shirt is often decorated with pleats or lace. The Portuguese jacket is like a tailcoat that has been cropped at the waist, with vertical pockets and a row of buttons on the sleeves. The waistcoat is normally having a V-neck that allows the shirt to be seen. The trousers are normally black and normally are cut straight, without cuffs, and end just above the ankle. The Portuguese men also prefer to wear the wide-brimmed and flat-topped black hats.

A Portuguse man in traditional riding outfit - Image by Hugo M Pereira
A Portuguse man in traditional riding outfit – Image by Hugo M Pereira

One should not forget that the traditional Portuguese riding outfit is also important part of the country’s heritage which is also known as Traje Português de Equitação. It is thought that the Portuguese started to wear the dress in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as formal attire. The dress is even worn by the Portuguese men and women during horse races, fairs and other major festivities.Nowadays on the spots of tourist attraction many locals fascinate the foreigners by wearing traditional dress of Portugal which is a gift of centuries old civilization.

A mountain famer of Portugal (Nowadays on the spots of tourist attraction many locals fascinate the foreigners by wearing traditional dress of Portugal ) Image:  Ricardo Liberato
A mountain famer of Portugal (Nowadays on the spots of tourist attraction many locals fascinate the foreigners by wearing traditional dress of Portugal ) Image: Ricardo Liberato

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3 thoughts on “Traditional dress of Portugal: A gift of centuries old civilization

  1. It’s very fascinating! I never seen Portugal’s traditional dresses before and they’re all beautiful and elegantly woven. I’ve actually Googled for a lot more images about this. I Appreciate that you wrote this article. Thanks!

  2. The Portuguese traditional dresses looks like an amalgamation of Chinese, Spanish and Western European influence to it. But of course, it’s impressive also.

  3. I would love to wear one of those Portugal’s traditional outfits! They sport a multiwoven/multicoloured garment which looks really good.

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