Today I would like to talk about the traditional clothing of the Tibetan people. By Tibetan I mean those people who speak a language which is derived from Classical Tibetan, which was standardized in the 13th cent. but has since divided into over 2 dozen mutually unintelligible languages, but most of whom still use Classical Tibetan as a Liturgical, and to some extent, Literary Language, and also use the Tibetan alphabet to write their own languages. Most of these are spoken by small numbers of people, and I will only cover the costumes of the best known. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetic_languages
Tibetans call their county Bod, and themselves Bod Pa, བོད་པ་. Many of those who live in the southern nations use some form of this term to refer to themselves.
This area is in south Central Tibet. This is the center of Tibetan Culture and Religion. It has had a profound influence on all other Tibetan areas. This region may be divided into two: Ü,
དབུས་, which is the area around Lhasa, the eastern part of Central Tibet, which in Chinese sources is called "Front Tibet", and Tsang, གཙང་, which extends from Gyantse to the west, and in Chinese sources is called "Back Tibet"
Starting in Lhasa, and spreading to other parts of Tibet, are modern versions of Tibetan costume. We have already seen the Lhasa Dress. This is often made in commercial brocade and striped fabric by townswomen.
Here are a few more modern variants on Tibetan Dress. On the left a blouse and chuba made of thin commercial fabric, then a variation of the Lhasa dress with sleeves included, not using a blouse, but the skirt still wraps around and ties. Then on the right two examples of blouse and wrap skirt. This is equivalent to the bottom half of the Lhasa dress; some have fake sleeves which hang from the waist, in imitation of the chuba, but others have dispensed with them.
Men dress up to participate in horse races and other equestrian events.
The people of Lhoka, in the southeast, have some distinctive features to their dress.
A video of a dance from Lhoka.
In Shigatse, part of Tsang, there are also some distinctive features of the dress. This area borders Nepal.
A video of a dance from Shigatse area.
These two girls are from southwestern Tibet, near the Nepali border, from the area around Mt. Chomolungma, which the British call Everest. Note the back aprons worn over the chuba and front apron.
Here are some images of the nomads from further west, around Phala. The nomads also live further north, in the Changtang. Nomadic herding is the only type of human settlement which this land can support. They have to move to provide enough grazing for their herds of sheep, goats, yaks, and horses. Most of the time they live in tents woven of yak hair, although some build storage buildings and even houses at their winter camps.
A few designated valleys are left ungrazed, so they can come to cut hay to feed their horses, which otherwise would find it difficult to survive.
This lies in the west of Tibet, and borders Kashmir and other parts of Himalayan India west of Nepal. The local language, while still of the Tibetan group, resembles that of Ladakh.
An extremely complex and impressive festive costume has been preserved here, with square mantles, and horned headpieces and shoulder ornaments encrusted with turquoise and other gems.
Here is a video of dances from Ngari done in simplified stage costume.
Ladakh is part of Indian held Kashmir. It borders Chinese held Tibet on the east. The Aksai Chin is a mostly unpopulated area which is disputed between India and China. The Ladakhi people, as well as the Balti, are of Tibetan origin, unlike the Kashmiri. They maintain a separate identity, as well as a Tibetan language and the Buddhist faith.
Ladakhi traditional attire is unique, although it has obvious similarities to that of Ngari.
Video of a Lakakhi dance
Nepal is an independent nation which was long a buffer state between British India and the Chinese Empire. The southern part consists of lowlands inhabited by people of Indic origin. The northern part, however, lies in the Himalayas, in which many of the people are of Tibetan origin. These people form various tribes, Bhotia, Thakali, Lopa, Dolpo, etc. but the most famous are the Sherpa. This name means "Eastern People" in Tibetan. The first man to climb Mt. Chomolungma, [Everest] was a Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, although he was apparently accompanied by some Englishman.
The dress of the Sherpa is clearly the same as that of the Tibetans which live north of the border, some of the women wear the same sort of back apron as they do around Mt. Chomolungma to the north.
This image is of a bride and groom.
Sikkim - Bhutia འབྲས་ལྗོངས་པ་
Sikkim is a small territory which lies between Nepal and Bhutan. It was an independent nation untill the 1970's when it was annexed to India. The main population of the north of Sikkim are the Lepcha, who are related to the Tibetans, and the Bhutia, who are Tibetan, reportedly originally from Kham. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhutia
Video of a Bhutia dance.
Bhutan - Dzongkha རྫོང་ཁ་
The Dzongkha are the majority people in northwestern Bhutan. Most of the people of Bhutan are related to the Tibetans, but of a sister branch. The Dzongkha speak a Tibetan language, and are part of the Tibetan people.
The Bhutanese Dzongkha costume consists of a chuba like garment called kera or kira. The men wear it without pants and folded above the knee [except for the King]. The woman's kira is wrapped much like the Lhasa dress. A short jacket is worn with it. Bhutan lies near Lhoka, and like them, have developed the art of weaving, although to a greater extent. The traditional garments of the Dzonkha are made of extraordinary examples of weaving.
The King and Queen of Bhutan.
There is much more that could be written but I believe this is enough for today.
Besides many online sources
Dalai Lama et al, 'My Tibet', Berkely, 1989
Melvyn Goldstein et al, 'Nomads of Western Tibet', Berkely, 1990
Zhao Qizheng et al, 'Tibetan Costume and Ornaments', PRC, 2000
Gina Corrigan, 'Tibetan Dress in Amdo and Kham', London, 2017
George Schaller, 'Tibet's Hidden Wilderness', New York, 1997
Eleanor Olson, 'Tibetan Art', Newark, 1963
Persjis Muiznieks, 'National Costumes of Nepal', Oxnard, 2011
Jaya Jaitly et al, 'Crafts of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh', New York, 1990
Poonam Rajya Laxmi Rana 'Nepalese Costumes and Ornaments', Kathmandu, 2016