Sri Lanka: Garments

Figure 1.--Here we see Sri Lanka boys wearing traditional longyi, basically a skirt-like basic fabric held in place by folding fbric rather than a knot. This was a widely worn garment throughout southern Asia and Souutheast Asia. We also see Western shirts.

We have some limited information about boys' clothing in Sri Lanka. Climate and income levels are major factors affecting children clothes in Sri Lanka. The climate is tropical. As a result, usually only very light-weight clothing is needed. Income levels are relatively low. Thus most families can not afford exensive outlays for children's clothing. There is some information avilable on traditional clothing which share many similarities with southern India. A factor here is the Tamil population, anthnic group inhabiting southern Indua and northern Sri Lanka. Traditionally people generally went topless, both men and women. Here climate was factor. They might draped clothing over their chests and shoulders, but they mostly went topless. This changed with the arival of the Portuguese (16th century). European Christians, first the Portuguese and then the Dutch, were disturbed by the open display of women's breasts. Thus gradually women and girls began covering up. Thus traditional styles were influenced by the Europeans, although European sensibilities had less impact on trditional male clothing. And after the British seized control (19th century), Western clothing gradually became increasingly common--especially for children. While Western clothes became widely worn in the 20th century, colorful traditional styles remained very popular with women and girls when dressing up. Casual Western clothing is very widely worn. Many boys wear casual shirts and short pants. We note many Sri Lanka children go barefoot. Flip flops are also common.


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Created: 3:24 PM 12/30/2017
Last updated: 3:24 PM 12/30/2017