There is something about the simplicity of Hmoob Dlub (Black Hmong) clothes that is so beautiful. Traditional Black Hmong clothes does not call for elaborate cross-stitch designs or print fabrics, instead much of the outfit is made of black cloth. Hmong people who belong to clans that dress in this type of clothing is referred to as the Black Hmong.
There are three main parts to a Hmong outfit: the a shirt, sev (pronounced shay), and skirt.
For a Black Hmong outfit, the shirt can be made of various types of black material and lined with various blue material with a full length-opening at the front. The only cross-stitch that can usually be found on a Black Hmong shirt is on the laug (pronounced lau), which is a small rectangular shaped, applique piece that starts at the nape of the neck and lays flat on the back yoke. Applique work can also be found on the front of the shirt along either side of the front opening. Some women wear their shirts with this portion of the shirt folded over so that instead of the applique work you see the blue lining and the detailed needlework that resulted from the applique. The cuff of the shirt is blue, and is usually the same fabric and/or color of the shirt lining.
The sev is usually made of the same black fabric that is used for the shirt. Bright pink or red fabric can be sewn into the top of the sev to serve as a sash to fasten the sev onto the wearer. The sash, which oftentimes is a separate piece altogether, serves as a cummerbund. Sevs can come in varying lengths, some like it long while others like to wear theirs short. It is also common to see Black Hmong wear two sevs, one right on top of the other.
The skirt is just as simple as the rest of the outfit. The batik portion of the skirt can vary in color and range from bright blue, to variations of indigo, to gray, and black. The most cross-stitching you will find on a Black Hmong outfit is on the Taab Tab, which is the beautiful red/pink, orange, and white design you see at the bottom of the skirt.
Finally, my favorite part of this outfit are the leg wraps. I feel like no outfit is complete without the leg wraps.
Special thanks to May for these beautiful pictures!