Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Lithuanian Folk Costume Calendar 2012-2013

Back cover
Front cover
The Lithuanian Folk Costume Calendar that I had ordered from arrived late last week.  It  was packed loosely rolled up with bubble wrap in a box.  Our local mail carrier thoughtfully set the box right squarely in the middle of the doormat, where I involuntarily stepped on it as I was leaving my house  that afternoon. (Fortunately, I didn't place my full weight on the box, and it seems to have lost any disfiguring creases after hanging on the wall awhile.)

This calendar follows a similar format to the calendar of recreations of early Lithuanian costume that the Lithuanian Folk Costume Center published for 2010-2011, which I wrote about here. Each month of the new calendar has a large, full-length photograph of one or more people in costume along with the actual calendar portion (on the bottom tenth of the page), and the back of each page contains explanatory text in English and Lithuanian along with smaller photographs of particular portions of the costumes.

When most people (including me) think of European "folk costume" they think of garments that look more or less like the clothing on this page; colorful, charming, festive, but impractical looking and hard for the untrained eye to distinguish from folk costume of any other nation in Europe. The costumes in this calendar are equally festive, but they also show garments that look comfortable, and could have been worn on a daily basis instead of just being festival wear. They also show headwear that bears a distinctive resemblance to some of the recreations of early period Lithuanian costume (though that might just mean that the reconstructors assumed that some of the draped veils of folk costume were early period survivals).

Some of the costumes show clear influence from fashionable European costume from one or more periods during the Victorian era. This is particularly obvious in the frock-coat-style garments worn by the few men featured in the calendar. The women's clothing also show such influence, however.  For example, some of the women's costumes have the very high waists that were popular during the first decade of the 19th century CE, while others sport the bold plaids that were fashionable in mid-Victorian costume.

Space and intellectual property considerations keep me from photographing the entire calendar front and back, and I'm not much of a photographer anyway, but even these poor photographs should give you an idea of whether this calendar is worth your money. (If you click on them, you will be rewarded with a much larger and clearer view of the image.) is charging $25.00 USD for the calendar, and if you are located in the continental United States shipping is $3.95 USD; I don't know what the shipping rates are for other locations.

I am very pleased with the calendar, despite my relative lack of interest in 19th century costume, because the images are so large and beautiful. I have never before seen so many different and flattering styles of coats in one place! My only regret is that I didn't know about this amazing calendar at the beginning of 2012.  If anyone who reads this has other questions about this calendar and the information it contains, please ask.

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