Þjóðbúningurinn - The national costume of Iceland - An image by Helgi Halldórsson

Þjóðbúningurinn - The national costume of Iceland - An image by Helgi Halldórsson

The traditional dress of Iceland is today somehow preserved in form of the national dress of Iceland which truly reflects the pure Icelandic heritage. The days are not gone too far, when the people of Iceland used to wear the dresses in the same pattern as they use today on the days of public importance and festive ocassions. The national dress is known as Þjóðbúningurinn and the women of Iceland wear the traditional costumes of many types.

Þjóðbúningurinn - The national costume of Iceland - An image by Helgi Halldórsson
Þjóðbúningurinn – The national costume of Iceland – An image by Helgi Halldórsson

The Faldbúningur is a common traditional dress worn by the Icelandic woman which is a classic costume in use since at least the 17th century. The Faldbúningur includes a hat decorated with a curved sheet-like ornament protruding into the air and exists in two variants. One of which is the krókfaldur and the other is the spaðafaldur. The Peysuföt are black woollen clothes commonly worn by women in the 18-19th century. They usually consisted of a twill skirt and a jacket of fine knitted woollen yearn with a black tail cap.

Faldbúningur - The traditional dress of Iceland
Faldbúningur – The traditional dress of Iceland

The upphlutur or bodice costume comprises a long black skirt, and a sleeveless bodice ornamented with silver filigree and laced together with a silver chain. Another traditional version is the kyrtill (kyrtle), usually white or blue. It is worn with the tall headdress. The skautbúningur is a richly-embroidered costume worn for special occasions, even as a wedding dress. It comprises a fitted long-sleeved black jacket and long skirt, with embroidery on the breast, cuffs and around the hem of the skirt.

The traditional Upphlutur from Iceland - An image by Awfulknitter on flickr
The traditional Upphlutur from Iceland – An image by Awfulknitter on flickr

The traditional men’s wear in Iceland is known as Búningur karla and from its all versions, the most popular is Þjóðbúningur karla which normally consists of consists of woollen breeches or trousers, a usually double buttoned vest and a double buttoned jacket called treyja. Although not a traditional costume, the hátíðarbúningur was conceived as a modernized version of the men’s traditional national costume and is frequently worn instead of a tuxedo to formal events.

Hátíðarbúningur karla -  Typical Iceland Male Dress
Hátíðarbúningur karla – Typical Iceland Male Dress

The footwear in the traditional dress of Iceland traditionally included the shoes made of either fish or sheep-skin, with woollen inlets, were worn with the costumes. Iceland has a magnificent heritage and history and the traditional dress is actually the pure descendant of the ancient dressing techniques.

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2 thoughts on “Traditional Dress of Iceland: A pure icelandic heritage

  1. Hi, there,
    I would like to if there is any shop/ studio/ association in Iceland offering rental service to tourist for photo-taking? My husband and I will travel to Iceland and we are interested in having a picture in Icelandic costume. If you know any relevant information, please kindly share with us. Thanks a lot in advance.

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