Last Updated on July 22, 2022 by Oscar O. Paquin
When you think of gypsies, you might envision them in colorful skirts, vests, and turbans. The true meaning of a gypsy is to wander; these travelers have been doing that for hundreds of years. Their nomadic lifestyle, and traditional clothes, help them keep moving, explore new places, and survive even the harshest climates. While there’s no denying that traditional gypsy clothes look great and give you a certain feeling of travel and adventure. There are also many benefits to wearing modern-day gypsy attire.
What is Gypsy Clothing?
Gypsy clothing is a traditional garb worn by Romani people, known as Gypsies. Gypsy clothes refer to the traditional dress worn by these people when they are on the move or at campsites.
The word ‘Gipsy’ originates from the Hungarian word ‘gypsies,’ which means a member of a nomadic population that belongs to a different ethnic group than those settled in an area—later transferred to England, Scotland, and Ireland through the British colonization of Europe. Most Gypsies identify as Romani or Sinti and wear clothing reflecting this difference.
Significance of Traditional Gypsy Clothing
Traditional Gypsy clothing is a significant part of the culture because it symbolizes wealth and power. In some regions, traditional gypsy clothes are still worn today as fashion items for everyday wear or as costumes for Gypsy festivals.
These clothes are often made from beautiful materials, such as silk and fur. Gypsies often wear their traditional clothing to signify their status in society. The fact that these clothes are tailored specifically for their nomadic lifestyle is an indication that they are well-off and have the means to take care of themselves while traveling.
Gypsy Clothes for Travelers
Gypsies live off the land, relying on their resources to survive. The Gypsy lifestyle is a joyful one, free from the constraints of modern society.
Its makes sense when you think about how gypsies historically escaped poverty and oppression by traveling from place to place. As humans, we’re all inspired by wanderlust. It’s in our DNA. After all, it led our ancestors to explore continents and even the Milky Way.
Today’s travelers are also inspired, but they travel by car, train, and plane rather than on foot. When you’re interested in exploring the world by car, you might be wondering what gypsy clothes to wear while traveling like a gypsy.
There’s no set rule as it relies on the time you’re exploring. In the 1920s, for example, car travel was prevalent. Many people in the Southwest and West wore cowboy hats, chaps, boots, and denim. In the East, travelers were more likely to wear vests, collared shirts, and ties.
Different Types of Gypsies’ Traditional clothing
There are several gypsies, depending on the specific region and the period you’re exploring. Depending on their region and history, these different Gypsies wear different traditional clothes.
Here below are the different Gypsies grouped according to their region. Their traditional clothes are also explored:
1. The Western Gypsies
As the name suggests, the western Gypsies are primarily found in the Western world. They have a rich clothing tradition and mainly consist of men wearing vests, hats, denim, and boots.
2. The Eastern Gypsies
Eastern Gypsies, also known as Romani people, travel primarily by foot, foot, bicycle, car, train, horse, and truck. Gypsy transportation is done without a license. They wear colorful, loose clothing, including scarves, vests, and scarlet hats.
The Eastern Gypsies are proud of their clothing culture in that they have maintained their identity for an extended period.
3. The Southern Gypsies
If you are searching for the oldest Gypsies, search no further than the Southern Gypsies. They are the oldest Gypsy culture, scattered in a few European and American countries. You may find the Southern Gypsies in Eastern Europe; they are also found in the West, mostly seen today in Spain, Italy, and the United States.
The Southern Gypsies are synonymous with scarlet hats that signify their culture. Their women enjoy wearing golden necklaces, bracelets, and headscarves.
The General Traditional Clothing for Gypsies
Gypsies traditionally wear loose, colorful clothing that reflects their nomadic lifestyle. Colors range from blues, greens, reds to oranges, yellows, and browns. The clothing typically includes scarves, vests, skirts, tunics, and hats.
Romani people wear scarlet hats to signify their heritage. They traditionally wear colorful, loose clothing, including scarves, vests, tunics, and skirts. You can often spot a Romani person by their red hair, typically unbraided and kept long.
What to Wear as a Modern Gypsy?
If you are a modern Gypsy wishing to explore the world on foot, you should wear modern clothes. You can run into cowboys in jeans, chaps, and denim. In the East, though, you’re more likely to find people in vests, collared shirts, and ties.
It is not a must you dress up in a suit every time you travel. While you may feel more dressed up in denim and a cowboy hat, you’ll also get more stares and comments if you wear a suit every time you travel. What to wear depends on the period you’re exploring.
What Not to Wear as a Modern Gypsy
Gypsies are known for their colorful clothing. But not everything will help you travel like a gypsy.
Avoid wearing Jeans: They’re a modern invention, and while they’re often associated with gypsies, they’re more commonly worn today by middle/upper-class members.
Avoid dress shoes if you’re traveling like a gypsy: They’re a symbol of authority, and while gypsies are known for being unruly, they aren’t unruly enough to go around in dress shoes without asking permission first.
Avoid Hats: Gypsies don’t typically wear hats while traveling, and they certainly don’t wear fedoras.
Benefits of Wearing Traditional Gypsy Clothes
Traditional gypsy clothes are great for traveling as a modern gypsy, especially if you want to keep some of the old gypsy ways alive. The following are some of the main benefits of wearing traditional gypsy clothes:
- They’re free – Traditional gypsy clothes are free. You don’t need to pay for them, and you can use them again and again. You can even pass them down to your children if you choose.
- They’re comfortable – Probably the most crucial benefit of traditional gypsy clothes is that they’re comfortable to wear. You can’t have to spend time and energy worrying about what you’ll wear every day.
- They’re easy to clean – Gypsies traditionally live on the road, hence always prepared for anything. They’re used to washing clothes in the rain, so they make sure they are easy to clean and won’t cause a problem.
- They’re easy to travel with – Gypsies often travel by foot and bicycle, so they need clothes that are easy to carry around and can be easily folded and put away. Traditional clothes are usually lightweight and compact when not in use.
- They’re functional yet fashionable – Traditional gypsy clothes are not just for functionality but also fashionable. They’re always in style and never outdated.
If wanderlust inspires you and you want to explore the world on foot. You can wear modern clothes like a gypsy and keep traveling on foot. Traditional clothes are free, easy to clean, easy to travel with, and fashionable. They’re also functional.