Latgale is a culturally and historically distinct province in Eastern Latvia. In earlier times, these lands were populated by the ancient Latgalians living in extensive contact with neighbouring Slavs, as well as Balto-Finnic peoples. Over the centuries, it has been an ethnically and religiously mixed area. There are two distinct types of traditional clothing here, as seen in the counties of Northern and Southern Latgale.
Northern Latgale includes the former district of Abrene (which was partially incorporated into the Russian Federation), the northern part of Ludza, and the earlier parishes of Balvi, Baltinava, Viļaka, Rugāji, and Šķilbēni. The traditional clothing of this area shows the persistence of centuries old characteristics, which was facilitated by the mutual connections between Latgalian and Balto-Finnic communities.
Southern Latgale comprises most of the former districts of Daugavpils, Rēzekne, and Ludza. The boundary between the two counties is formed by the earlier parishes of Kārsava, Mērdzene, and Nautrēni. The traditional clothing from the western part of the district of Daugavpils belongs with the Krustpils type and is therefore considered part of the Vidzeme tradition.
Women’s clothing of the Northern Latgale district was characterized by a straight cut, mid-calf length linen fabric shirt, made of separate, rectangular fabric segments or a tunic-type shirt where the front and back are made of one contiguous piece of fabric folded over at the shoulders. The body of the shirt was woven in a diamond twill pattern, differing from the plain weave of the rest of the shirt. The shirt has stitched-on shoulder straps and red embroidery on the turnover collar, shoulder straps, and cuffs. The red embellishment on the shoulder straps was woven. The shirt was fastened with a small to medium sized silver annular brooch (sakta) or fabric ribbon.