Traditional costumes

Men’s costumes: the herdsmen’s costumes in the Alpstein mountains are very colourful. The traditional dress in the two Appenzell cantons and in Toggenburg differs only in the motifs that are embroidered on the red waistcoat, called a “Brusttuch”. The everyday traditional dress for herdsmen consists of brown semi-linen trousers, but on special occasions they wear close-fitting, knee-length leather breeches called “Gääle”. In both cases, the trousers are complemented by a silver watch-chain bearing coins and medals, and braces featuring cow motifs on brass plaques. A similar motif adorns the silver buckles of the traditional black shoes. The knee-high stockings and shirt must be brilliant white. The shirt is embroidered with a design showing the cattle drive up to the alpine pastures, the “Chüelisteg”. The costume also includes the “Ohreschueffe”, an earring consisting of a miniature cream ladle attached to a short chain by a snake’s head. On their head, the men wear either a black leather cap, with cutwork round the edge and a coloured lining, or a black felt hat decorated with colourful flowers. To protect them from the cold, they wear a long-sleeved, lined “Fueterschlotte”, an embroidered yellow linen jacket. With both outfits, the herdsman wears a gilded collar stud or brooch.

The traditional Appenzell dress for Sundays is all in brown. It consists of a plain waistcoat with no embroidery, a smock and trousers made of semi-linen, a flat black hat and a black collar stud.

The typical pipe for everyday use is the “Lindauerli”, which has a silver lid.

Women’s costumes: towards the end of the 19th century, the traditional Ausserrhoden women’s costume almost entirely disappeared. In the wake of growing nationalism and pride in the home country in the early 20th century, societies for the preservation of cultural heritage and traditional dress began to create timeless “homeland dress”. In 1925, the artist Paul Tanner (1882-1934) from Herisau designed the everyday and Sunday costumes that are still worn in Ausserrhoden today. The traditional Sunday dress for the women of Ausserrhoden consists of a white blouse worn with a black lace fichu or kerchief, embroidered with chain stitch, and a low-cut silk bodice with decorative shoulder pieces. The outfit is completed by a woollen skirt with vertical stripes, called a “Jupe”, a shiny silk and taffeta apron and a black silk bonnet with fan-shaped lacy side wings and a white lace trim. A discreet filigree brooch indicates the wearer’s marital status: silver for unmarried women and gold for the married. The everyday costumes, a flared skirt with a white blouse, are generally very similar throughout Switzerland. In Ausserrhoden, the skirt often features a striped or polka-dot pattern, the "Nollen", woven in satin stitch. From the 1830s until the middle of the 20th century, this type of weaving, with embroidery-like patterns, was produced in Appenzell's Hinterland and central regions by women working at home, and it was then exported all over the world.


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