Canadian National Costume
Canada culture has been vastly influenced by British and French. Canadian history shows that their clothing material principally used were the skin of animals that can be with the fur or without it. Initially the skin were scrapped off all the flesh and then textured into hide and given color by smoking over smoldering fire. Canadian costume gradually developed later and was made on their own from materials which were grown in their own fields and farms. Women wove their own cloth which inducted in them importance of national costume. In 1837, it resulted in their revolt against British bureaucracy and also economic domination. The traditional costume well suited the Canadian environment and the weather conditions. The costume included a double breast coat which was long till the knees. It also had a hood which covered their head during stormy weather. The feet was covered by high boots with moccasin shaped feet in which used to be tucked the thick cloth breeches. The boots were soaked in oil to make it pliable. They also used to wear bright colored woolen caps and sash around their shoulder or the waist. The sash was made from stout linen threads which used to be of varied colors like yellow, red, blue, white. These threads were closely woven in a pattern of arrow, zigzag with ends terminating in fringe. These costumes were woven by young women at home for the habitants as well as students of the seminary. Later, somewhere around 1666, it has been seen that Canadian wore rough blue coats and tuques of the militia in courcelles’s expedition against Iroquois, some engravings have shown Canadian wearing snow shoes and long skirted coat.
The British reign brought about many other changes in the costume of the Canadian while Scottish immigrant brought along with them certain other garments which included the plaid, bonnet and the kilt and were worn in provinces which were widely separated. However, the tough weather in Canada made it hard to continue with this and was soon discarded. In 1830 -40 some of the immigrants to Canada brought with them costume which can be used in a cold weather such as leather and corduroy breeches, and coarse linen stitched smock frocks. During British rule, the Canadian costume made a switch from blue and white color of the French to red coats and breeches of white, gray or black color.
For women the traditional dress is skirt, top and legging. The cloth used was wool as Canada has a very cold weather and the most commonly used color is red, blue, light blue and scarlet. A scarf is also used to cover the bosom below the neckline. The scarf used is generally of a contrasting color it give it a beautiful look. The pattern of the costume is a front bodice, a back bodice, two gussets and a waist band. The legging covered their legs. A scarf was used to cover their head.
Costumes in Canada were affected by the changes in the fashion trends in Europe. However, the climate, environment, occupation, immigrants, British and French also tailored their costumes.
The features of Canadian National Dress:
- Knee length double waist coat
- Waist Band or sash
- High boots with Moccasin feet
- Skirt and top made of woolen cloth