StampNews.com hurries to let all philately enthusiasts know that Faroe Islands Post has prepared for releasing the second stamp issue of the popular stamp series “Faroese national Costumes”.
These two bright stamps show such items of Faroese female and male national wardrobe as skirt, apron, pants, socks and shoes. Let’s appreciate this original philatelic release together!
The Female Dress stamp
Nowadays the traditional skirt is black with red stripes. The material used was the so-called “linsey”, i.e. originally homespun flax with wool, but now machine-woven cotton with wool is being used. In recent years traditionalists have levelled some criticism at this trend. Young women especially have chosen other colours, for example black with green stripes or black with yellow stripes.
The apron, of course, is a remnant of the old everyday dress and served the purpose of protecting the skirt from dirt and wear. It’s easier to wash an apron than a skirt – and the apron can be replaced in a trice. Folklore researcher J. C. Svabo (1746-1824) stated that the aprons were made of blue-striped canvas, while H. M. Debes, a few centuries later, stated that they were made of muslin, silk or some similar fabric. In the past aprons were shorter than nowadays when they are worn exclusively for decorative purposes. Much attention is often paid to the apron’s embellishment, usually by using embroideries which, incidentally, have to match the scarf.
Socks and Shoes
Underneath the skirt girls and women wore black or gray socks, most likely knitted with Faroese yarn. Since then socks have become daintier, made of silk and nylon, and nowadays black nylon stockings or panty hoses are used. The shoes were originally of traditional Faroese cowhide or sheepskin shoes, or clogs and galoshes. Besides, shoes of foreign origin have undoubtedly been used as well.
The Male Dress stamp
One of the most distinctive features of the men’s traditional costume are the black breeches. J. C. Svabo gives quite a humorous description of Faroese trousers used in his own times. He writes that they are black and wide, open below the knee and fastened about the leg with drawstrings. The fly was in front without any buttons, always open and extra visible because of the white undergarment. The modern breeches are tighter, made of black homespun cloth and they are also fitted with buttons in the seams just below the knees.
The socks, or rather the stockings, are long, reaching up above the knee and held in place with a so-called garter, preferably woven in coloured patterns. The stockings date back to ancient times, most often brown or grey in colour. On festive occasions men often used blue or white stockings - which is also the case today. The stockings are usually blue, but they can be white or brown as well.
Traditionally, cowhide or sheepskin shoes with long laces wrapped up around the legs were used almost exclusively. For festive occasions some men may have worn shoes of foreign make, but this would have been very rare. As the national costume became distinct from everyday clothing in the late 1800’s, people started using “Danish shoes” which were more refined leather or patent leather shoes with a wide silver buckles, often decorated with shaded ornaments.