THIS 1926 photograph taken in Dobrá Niva, close to the town of Zvolen, captures children with a parish priest during their first sacrament of confession. As this was an important event, the children donned festive traditional folk costumes. In the 1920s, such traditional folk outfits were still commonly worn in villages.

However, people in bigger towns and cities were by then dressing in a completely different way, and folk costumes started to become associated exclusively with rural society. But in villages a more urban and modern style of dress also gradually prevailed.

The change first impacted men who worked at construction sites or factories, or who served in the military, and who travelled more frequently into town. But women also began venturing outside the villages, taking on work in bigger towns as labourers or maids. And most importantly, just like today, they enjoyed going into the clothing shops.

The widely held belief that during the first Czecho-slovak Republic village inhabitants wore only folk costumes starts to break down when we consider that places like Čičmany, Heľpa and Detva were shown to foreign tourists as archetypal traditional Slovak towns. For this reason, inhabitants of such towns were effectively encouraged to maintain their rural traditions, while people living in less visible villages shed the traditional garb and moved on with the times.