Latgale ir kultūrvēsturisks apgabals Latvijas austrumdaļā. Tās ir seno latgaļu apdzīvotās teritorijas, kur vērojama aktīva mijiedarbība ar kaimiņos esošajiem slāvu un daļēji arī Baltijas somu etnosiem. Daudzu gadsimtu garumā tā bijusi etniski un reliģiski jaukta teritorija. Latgalē izšķir divus tautastērpu novadus: Ziemeļlatgale un Dienvidlatgale.Dienvidlatgales tērpu novads aptver kādreizējo Daugavpils, Rēzeknes un Ludzas apriņķa lielāko daļu, par robežšķirtni aptuveni uzskatot senāko Kārsavas, Mērdzenes un Nautrēnu pagastu teritoriju. Kādreizējā Daugavpils apriņķa rietumdaļa, kas veido Krustpils tautastērpa novadu, pieskaitāms Vidzemes tautastērpiem.
Men's everyday costume consisted of a linen shirt, woolen trousers, a jacket, leg bindings and a hat. These garments appeared to be free of ethnic variations in style since the clothing was practical and without special decorations. The footwear consisted of leather ankle boots. Outer garments were fastened with a leather belt, which was sometimes decorated with metal bindings. Adornments were used more for practical purposes – pinning up shirts and jackets. They were used in small numbers – sometimes men put on armbands and rings on their fingers. Only members of society with high ranking social status wore a larger number of adornments.
In the 14th century, Latgallian costumes underwent a great change. The dark blue woolen shawls with the interwoven bronze ring pattern were replaced by shoulder blankets made of wool and linen – either checkered or patterned. The shapes and ornaments of the armbands worn also changed. Small yellow glass paste beads, tiny bronze spirals and tin-lead rosettes were used for decoration of both shoulder shawls and headdresses (vainags).
Livs made their men's costume reservedly. Only in some cases special decorations have been found. Decorations highlighted the edge of the neckline of their jackets, which were bordered with rows of tin-lead rosettes. The lower part of the jacket neckline was pinned up with a brooch, but a leather belt with a knife hung in an ornamented leather holster that was worn around the waist. There were few adornments for men – only one brooch for fastening the clothing, one or two armbands and a finger-ring.
The ancient tradition of creating and assembling national costumes was preserved throughout Curonian women's clothing over the ages. We can see how they were applied in the North-western Courland in the 15th century, for example. Beautiful Curonian woolen shawls were decorated along the edges with thousands of interwoven bronze spirals that collectively formed geometric patterns. Typical Curonian women’s adornments included armbands that were worn on both hands. These metal armbands were decorated by patterns shaped into the metal itself, the style of which changed over time. Metal neck-ring that were twisted or braided in style were worn around the neck, at the ends of which hung pendants. Crowns made of twisted bronze metal were used as head ornaments.
The arrangement and the decoration of the Vends (a group of the Baltic Finnish population, referred to in the 13th century Chronicle of Henry of Livonia who lived in the North-western part of Kurzeme, but as a result of the Curonian expansion moved closer to Riga. They later settled within the territory populated by the Latgallians near Cesis) costume shares similarities to those of the Livs. In the 13th century the traditional decorations of the woolen shawls were complimented by yellow glass paste beads. They, together with small rings and rosettes, were used to border the edges of the fabric. Depending on the width of the decorative bands that bordered the fabric, tassels were formed along the edges and corners of the garment. The metal crown (vainags) was replaced by narrow decorated hair bands that tied behind the head. Metal decorations were included on the ends of belts, however the adornments in general, were simpler and used in smaller numbers at this time. Typically found adornments from this period consisted of a special decorative pin and bead necklaces – the beads threaded onto metal wires.
Information about the Semigallian costumes used in ancient times is limited as those textiles barely survived over the centuries. We do know that metal decorations were seldom used in their costumes but that one of the recognizable elements in Semigallian woolen shawls were the small metal spiral pendants. The way these spiral pendants were made, where they came from or how they were attached to the garments is undetermined. The most characteristic adornment of a Semigallian woman was the cruciform pin, which was used to fasten the skirt where it folds over below the shoulders.
The costume of the 11th and 12th century Latgallian woman is characterized by an ornate woolen shawl and a rich range of ornaments, which showed the garment wearer's special position in society. The dark blue woolen shawl is entirely covered by bronze decorations and pinned at the chest with a brooch. A metal crown and neck rings were the most luxurious adornments and were worn in large numbers along with decorations made of chain. The hands were adorned by spiral armbands and many finger-rings.
Selonian women’s festive clothing and adornments resembled Latgallian costumes. The Selonian women's shawls were richly decorated by interwoven bronze ornaments, often covering the entire length of the cloth. Along with these decorated shawls, simpler shoulder blankets made of plain wool cloth were used- embellished only by colorful threads woven along the garment's edge for decoration.