Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Þjóðbúningurinn, National costumes of Iceland, part 3, Peysuföt

Today I will continue my series on Icelandic costumes with description of the Peysuföt, or jacket costume. This was also  derived from the faldbúningur in the late 18th cent, as was the upphlutur. The peysuföt was the sunday dress costume. It discarded the bodice but kept a simplified form of the jacket. It also included a silk kerchief around the neck and the stocking cap, as well as a striped or plaid apron like the upphlutur. The peysuföt also underwent changes from the 19th to the 20th centuries similar to those of the upphlutur. Of the three images above, the woman seated in the third image is wearing a 20th cent. version, while the other three are wearing 19th cent. versions. The jacket may be knit. It originally had one row of buttons, but these were soon discarded. Here are two women wearing the 19th cent. version.

 This print was made by the Danish artist Frederik Christian Lund when Iceland was still part of the Danish Empire. Notice the Dannebrog flying from the building in the background. The jacket shown is made of woven material with a small peplum. The older form of the stocking cap with a smaller tassel is worn with this costume as well. The front of the jacket often had a gap.

The apron and skirt are the same as those worn with the upphlutur.

The changes made to this costume in the 20th cent. mirror those made to the upphlutur. Here is a schematic of the20th cent. version. This remains a popular costume which had never stopped being worn for special occasions.

Notice the hook on the back which holds the cap securely to the braids. The braiding sometimes became very elaborate.

The neck kerchief was replaced by a silk band around the collar with very large ties. This bow became the chief focus of ornament for this costume, often being embroidered or otherwise decorated. The cuffs have a semicircular extension over the back of the hand, the edge of which is often tatted.

The plastron which is visible under the opening of the jacket is often ornamented with lace or openwork.

The tie in front can be in many colors. It is usually held in place with a brooch.

The set in sleeves of the jacket are often peaked.

The apron may be the same quiet plaid or stripe worn with the upphlutur, or it may be dark and of a finer material.

This one appears to be a print, or perhaps even painted.

This one has lace applique.

Some seem to be embroidered, like this woman on the left. Her companion on the right is wearing an upphlutur with a dark blouse and apron.

I will close with a few more views of this costume.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have found this interesting.

Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals. I also choreograph and teach folk dance.
Roman K.


 A good article on the various types of buningur.


Here is the Heimilisiðnaðarsafnið textile museum website


The Iceland national costume website. I have relied heavily on this site for information.


Other sources:
Hildur Hermóðsdóttir, 'Icelandic National Costumes' Reykjavik, 2012
Elsa Gudjónsson, 'Traditional Icelandic Embroidery', Reykjavik, 1982
Charles Holme, 'Peasant art in Sweden, Lappland and Iceland', London, 1910

Roman K.


  1. Hi Roman, have just finished working my way through your recent posts, thank you so much for sharing your research. I never get tired of seeing the different costumes, fanciful headdresses and especially the beautiful embroidery.

  2. Hello Renee, thank you very much. It is something i enjoy doing. I am glad you appreciate it