This is my national dress. In more proper terms it's in the group of ancient dresses, built after grave finds. However, the Aino - yes, this dress' name is Aino - was never really an ancient dress, it was the first of them and meant as a fantasy outfit. The first time it was seen was on a theatre stage in 1892. However, people fell in love with it with such passion that the popularity alone cemented the Aino dress' status!
Besides that there are two series of ancient dresses, the old and the new series, and the new one is the more accurate one: since the making of the old series it has been found out that viking era clothes had a completely different cut. However, the dresses have stabilized their position as official national dresses, and can therefore be worn wherever one would wear a national dress. So if f.ex. the president invited me over to celebrate the independence day this dress could potentially be an option. But only potentially, since it's not on the list of officially acceptable festive wear.
The dress is often chosen by the wearer's home area, but you don't necessarily have to get your own area dress. I have another one besides this, a Sääksmäki basic (as opposed to the more elaborate and ornamental Sääksmäki celebratory) that I inherited from an old relative of mine. Buying a dress is not usually an option anyway - they're expensive as FAN and I was merely lucky to find this one for an affordable price. Bought new, the Aino costs 1730€ and as national dresses go its price ranks in the middle.
Lookie it's a tiny knife! This is how you know it's a Finnish woman's dress: it has a blade by default.
The rules to wearing one of these dresses are ridiculously strict, but here are a couple of important points:
- The dress has to be complete with all parts that go with it, jewellery, headgear, dress, possibly apron and so on. With Aino this is challenging: due to its high popularity people used to re-create the dress for themselves, sometimes opting for different headwear etc. Nowadays you hardly see the original version with the red, bronze-decorated apron and white headdress.
- A grown woman IOW me really ought to wear that headdress. The silk ribbons are for maidens. I'm planning to make myself one.
- My shoes are WRONG. The only suitable ones are either black or brown buckle shoes or a specifically-made national dress shoes. However, I didn't have a suitable pair so I had to make do with the ones I had. -.-
- My socks are also wrong. They're not allowed to be made out of anything else than cotton or wool.
- Talking about other things that are wrong, I was also wearing colourful underwear with flower pattern and lace. This was particularly unacceptable (I told you, the rules of the national dress are ridiculously strict)! :D
- Hair must be combed away from the forehead and fastened to the side. Otherwise the hairstyle must go according to the outfit. No sidehawks, baw.
If you can guess what I'm attempting to do in this photo you're either a Finn or know a lot about the country! :D