Clothes worn by Zermatt Women

In the 19th century a Zermatt woman's wardrobe consisted of just 3 garments. The traditional costume was her most valued possession.

The huge portrait on the lift shaft next to the church bridge shows a woman in traditional Zermatt costume dating to the years between 1890 and 1910. In the 19th century, a middle-class Zermatt woman owned three garments: one for work in the stables or fields, one for everyday life and one for Sundays and holidays. And for sporting activities, whether it was tennis or skiing, ladies wore a skirt.

The traditional costumes worn by Zermatt women are available in red or black and include different stitching in 11 colours, symbolising the values of Zermatt. These are local alpine flowers, herbs or small figures. It took a dressmaker six months of meticulous work to make such a complex costume and was valued at 6,000 to 7,000 Swiss francs (around 5,500 to 6,500 euros). If a woman couldn't afford such an expensive garment, she could hire it for 150 Swiss francs (around 140 euros) a year.

Tourists from England also shaped fashion tastes in Zermatt. The Zermatt women gradually adopted the style of the elegant women from abroad.

Source: Ana-Lena Kronig, Eine vergessene Welt von Klaus Julen und Oswald Perren



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