Welsh National costume evolved in Wales in the late 18th century as a development of costume worn in town and country. The popular image of Welsh "national" dress, of a woman in a red cloak and tall black hat, is one which has developed as a result of various influences which arose in the nineteenth century.
Lady Llanover, the wife of an ironmaster in Gwent, was very influential in encouraging the wearing of "national dress", both in her own home and at eisteddfodau. She felt it was important to encourage the use of the Welsh language and the wearing of an identifiable Welsh costume. She succeeded in developing the Welsh "national dress" because people felt that their national identity was under threat and the wearing of a national costume was one way to declare that identity.
The garments are made of Welsh flannel. The costume regarded as national dress is based on clothing worn by Welsh countrywomen during the early nineteenth century. The tall "chimney" hat did not appear until the late 1840's and seems to be based on an amalgamation of men's top hats and a form of high hat worn during the 1790 - 1820 period in country areas.
Today the costume is usually worn by young girls throughout Wales on St David's Day. The typical female costume, as designed and made popular by Lady Llanover, was made up of the following:
Land of culture - Wales