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Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:09 am
by sofiya
Serbian folk costumes, like any traditional dress of a nation or culture, has been lost to the advent of urbanization, industrialization, and the growing market of international clothing trends. The wide range of regional folk costumes show influence from historical Austrian, Hungarian, German, Italian, and Ottoman Turkish presence. Nonetheless, the costumes are still a pinnacle part of Serbian folk culture and, fitting with the attempts to preserve this folk culture, it was not uncommon to see rural women in traditional working costumes all the way up until the end of President Josip Broz Tito's term. Today, these traditional costumes are only worn by some elderly in rural areas, on national holidays, and as part of celebrations, tourist attractions, and in museums. From the 19th century on, Serbs have adopted the usual European way of dressing.

Overall traditional wear include:
  • the Opanci peasant shoes; a construction of leather, lack of laces, durable, and have horn-like ending on toes. The design of the horn-like ending indicates the region of Serbia the shoes are from. Until 50 years ago, they were usually worn in rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia.
    the Šubara shepherd hat (Шубара, fur hat), during harsher and colder times (winter). It is in a conical or cylindrical shape predominantly of Black colour, because of the black lamb/sheep fur (woolen). It was used in the World War I by the Serbian soldiers and by the Chetniks in World War II and again during the Yugoslav Wars, usually with a cockade (kokarda) of the Serbian eagle or cross. Today, it is part of the folk attires of east and southeast Serbia.
Central Serbia

The traditional folk attire of Šumadija has become the modernized regional dress for Central Serbia. Characteristic of the dress is the:

Šajkača cap, easily recognisable by its design; the top looks like the letter V or like the bottom of a boat (viewed from above). It was derived from the 18th-century military cap part of the uniform worn by the Šajkaši, river troops guarding Belgrade, Danube and Sava against the Ottoman Empire, during the 16th- to 19th centuries. It subsequently spread throughout the civilian population of central Serbia, and in the 19th century it became an official part of the Serbian military uniform, first worn only by soldiers, then after 1903 it replaced the officer's French-style Kepis and Peaked caps. It would continue to be used by the Royal Yugoslav Army. It continued its use by the Chetniks in World War II, but also Serbs of the Yugoslav Partisans until it was replaced by "Titovka" cap (named after Josep Broz Tito) for soldiers and Peaked cap for officers' parade uniform. During the Bosnian war, the hat was worn by Bosnian Serb military commanders and many volunteer units in the 1990s. It is seen as a Serbian symbol. Today it is commonly seen in rural villages across Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, often worn by elderly men.

East Serbia

Traditional shepherd attire. As part of a cultural zone with Romania, the attire has likeness to those in adjacent Romanian provinces. Typical for the attire is woolen vests and capes (from sheep), walking sticks, etc. They wear the opanci.

Ivanjica region (southwest)

The inhabitants of this region are mainly migrants from the so-called Dinara region. In its basic characteristics the costume is similar to that of the Dinara region with additions imposed through time, by the new environment, and later influences from outside.

Regardless of the relative isolation and lack of connection in communication between the investigated territories and other regions, change penetrated even this area and was reflected not only in daily life but also in the adoption of new, or abandoned old, pieces of dress for practical or functional reasons. Some dress pieces, particularly from the older costume at end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, are recognisable in the dress of Montenegro, Herzegovina and early Bosnia from where the greater number of the inhabitants originate.

The oldest pieces of costume are very similar to those in the place of origin e.g. male and female shirts, female waistcoats, gunj, aljina, red cap, Mali fez with shawl, zubun, pelengiri, kabanica. After World War I, the so-called Sumadija costume (anterija, fermen) became the national costume of this region.

The facts indicate that this national costume, in villages of the Ivanjica region, had practically disappeared in the nineties of the 20th century, “Old” dress disappeared under the pressure of industrial, uncontrolled production.

Leskovac region

The male costume consists of dark trousers, cloth, white shirt, dark jelek (a small dark-red sleeveless embroidered jacket) and black subara (characteristic high shaggy fur cap). Women wear weaved skirts (fute), colorful aprons, white embroidered dresses, dark jelek and white kerchiefs around their heads. They wear opanci.

The costumes of Pirot are richly decorated, male costume consists of natural-white zobun, black-red belt, black or red trousers and subara on the head. Women wear white dresses under black zobun, which has gold stripes on borders, decorated aprons and white kerchiefs around their heads. They were opanci and red socks.

The traditional urban dress of Vranje is a mix of local tradition and oriental influences. The male costume consists of dark trousers and gunj with red stripes at the end of its sleeves, red silk belt and the black shoes. Women wear black plush skirts, white blouses and highly decorated libada embroidered with gold srma, pafta around waist and tepeluk on the head.


The folk costumes of Vojvodina are usually of plain black and white colors with western influence. The ethnic groups of Srem, Bačka and Banat all have their distinctive costumes. Srem has elements of central Balkan and Dinaric attire, Bačka has central European influences and styles, especially from the Baroque.

Kosovo and Metohija

The traditional attires of Kosovo and Metohia are known for their rich styling and ornamentation.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

The dresses of Bosnia are divided into two groups; the Dinaric and Pannonian styles. In Eastern Herzegovina, the folk costumes are more like the Montenegrin.


Bosanska Krajina

Sarajevo region

Traditional peasant attire. Women wear dzecerma (home-made relief linen shirts), curdia (richly embroidered vests) and long white dresses. Their heads are covered with cenar (colorful kerchiefs). Men have slightly different type of shirts and vests, black trousers made of heavy cloth and embroidered cap, called krmez. They wear the opanci


Traditional peasant attire. Women wear home-made linen dresses with darker embroidery around sleeves, weaved fringed apron, dark-blue zobun made of heavy cloth hemmed with dark-red narrow stripes and a cap on the head. Men’s costume consists of white trousers, long gunj, dark-red weaved belt and also a cap on the head. They wear the opanci.

The ceremonial costume that became a symbol of the Montenegrin ethnic community was created by Prince-Bishop Petar II Petrović-Njegoš, who also liked to wear it himself. When worn by Njegoš, the costume was described in elaborate detail: "He wore a red waistcoat, hemmed with gold; the shirt sleeves which could be seen under the sleeveless jacket were of the finest linen...; he had the weapon belt tied around his waist and the brown girdle with two guns and the long dagger stuck into it. The wide blue panes and knee socks...the fine socks and black leather shoes completed his attire". The red waistcoat, the blue panes, and the white knee socks symbolised the Serbian tricolour flag by which the Montenegro had identified itself with since 1876.

Montenegrin cap. It is originally in the shape of a flat cylinder, having a red fabric at the upper surface (called tepelak), and a black rim around it (called derevija), not dissimilar to the Herzegovina-, Šibenik- and Lika caps. It was introduced by Prince Petar II, as to mark a Serbian identity, he gave it as a gift to some of the clan leaders. Andrija Jovicevic noted the symbolic meaning of Nikola I's personal cap back in 1903: the black wrapper was sign of grief for the Battle of Kosovo, the golden unbound part of the cap (at the forehead) expresses the doomed Serbs who shed blood and are still shedding it; the portion bound by the golden braid expresses Montenegro, the hearth of the Serbian freedom which soaked in the blood of its people and of their enemies, but still stands upright; the small star... (within the braid) expresses the sun that shines upon and warms the cold hearts of the dead brothers. The eyelets with the cross within the braid (since the cap with the sun symbol was worn only by the ruler) designate Montenegro, the land of the free, under the rule of bishops, i.e. the dynasty of the homeland. The national telling recorded the most often version of the cap as following: the black wrapper was sign of grief for their once great Empire, the red the bloody defeat at the Battle of Kosovo and the five small stripes on the top represent the remaining remains of the once greater Serbian realm, which became increasingly popular amongst the common folk during the reign of Prince Danilo I Petrović-Njegoš. Within the stripes is angled a six star, representing the last free part, Montenegro, shining upon the fallen and conquered.


The traditional Serb costume of Lika is much like the traditional Montenegrin folk attire. The footwear is Opanci.

Different Serbian national costumes:
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Re: Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:41 pm
by sofiya
Serbian traditional female costume. The clothing is richly embroidered and decorated with coins and shells.

The photo was provided by our partner Balkanmiddleeastern (
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Re: Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:52 pm
by sofiya
Serbian female folk costumes from Bukovica region (it is Croatia today). The women on the photo are from Bukovica, but they live in Stanišić village now (northern part of Serbia). They are the participants of a folk dance band “Izvor”. The woman at the left is wearing the outfit of an unmarried girl, the female in the center has a traditional wedding dress of a bride on, and the woman at the right is wearing the attire of a married woman (bride’s mother or groom’s mother). As you can see, a married female traditionally uses a kerchief when an unmarried girl wears her hair braided and covered with ornate headdresses. All three of the costumes are richly embroidered with the traditional patterns.

The photo was taken at the Festival of folk clothing "Biserna grana", Futog, Novi Sad, Serbia.
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Re: Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:21 pm
by sofiya
Serbian people in the folk costumes from Žagubica (village in the Braničevo District of the eastern Serbia).

The photo was taken at the Festival of folk clothing "Biserna grana", Futog, Novi Sad, Serbia
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Re: Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:22 am
by sofiya
Serbian folk costumes. The female outfit is from Knjaževac (town in the Zaječar District of the eastern Serbia). It is a costume of a married woman. Her headdress is called “krpa”. Under the krpa she has an interesting hairdo called “trvelj” (the hair is braided, 2 braids are twisted around the ears and embellished with coins). The male outfit is from Kumanovo (city in the Republic of Macedonia). Part of Macedonia is called “Old Serbia” because this territory used to belong to Serbia once. The photo was taken at the Festival of folk clothing "Biserna grana", Futog, Novi Sad, Serbia
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Re: Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Wed May 03, 2017 6:26 pm
by sofiya
Embroidered male traditional clothes and beautiful flask. It is an attire of a man who invites people to the wedding in Serbia. The costume is from Gradiška (town in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of the Republika Srpska entity), the area is called “Lijevče polje”. The photo was taken at the Festival of folk clothing "Biserna grana", Futog, Novi Sad, Serbia
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Re: Serbian folk costumes

Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:14 am
by sofiya
Serbian female folk clothing from Imljani (village in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Entity of Republika Srpska) and Kozara area (mountain in western Bosnia and Herzegovina). The photo was taken at the Festival of folk clothing "Biserna grana", Futog, Novi Sad, Serbia
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