Strange to say, the English do not have a particularly typical national dress. In Britain, the Scotsmen in the north, in Scotland, of course have the kilt (a tartan skirt), the sporran (a type of purse that hangs in front) the dirk (a dagger held in a calf-length sock, and a tartan hat, the ‘Tam-o’shanter’. Women have a similar dress, but without the sporran or dirk. Traditionally Scotsmen wear no underwear under the kilt – a source of much humour and innuendo about ‘what a Scot keeps under his kilt…’. The Welsh female also has a traditional dress – a full woolen calflength skirt, a cotton frilly top, a tassled shawl and a Welsh traditional hat that is a little like a witch’s traditional hat but without the pointed top – the hat being truncated into a flat top.

Sadly, however, the English do not have such well known traditional costumes. The nearest would be the Morris Man – a traditional (almost exclusively male) dance costume that consists of white shirt, white trousers (pants), black shoes, a boater-type hat and usually coloured sashes like those worn in beauty contests. The het is usually bedecked with flowers, and the ankles with bells that jingle as the dancer moves. Although appearing to a tourist as a little effeminate, it is considered quite a macho thing to belong to a group of Morris Men – who are renowned for dancing but also for drinking the many pupbs in England dry after they finish their stint at local fairs and May day celebrations.

The traditional wear of the English businessman has always been a pinstripe suit, and a bowler hat ( as worn by Laurel and Hardy) – and the accompaniment of a rolled up umberella (because of the changeable weather!) but sadly so few businessmen dress this way nowadays.


The traditional clothing of England lasted for hundreds of years and was based on colourful woollen designs of tunics for men, and long shifts for women. These were often heavily embroidered with finest wool thread and during the period from the 6th to the 11th century prior to the Norman destruction of the local culture,cloth made by the English weavers and embroidered by English women was highly sought after throughout Northern Europe. Much that was produced was used by the clergy and sadly was taken by invaders from Denmark and Normandy later on. Interestingly, freshly designed traditional clothing forms the new English national dress.