Romanian dress refers to the traditional clothing worn by Romanians, who live primarily in Romania and Moldova, with smaller communities in Ukraine and Serbia. Today, a strong majority of Romanians wear Western-style dress on most occasions, and the garments described here largely fell out of use during the 20th century. However, they can still be seen in more remote areas, on special occasions, and at ethnographic and folk events. Each historical region has its own specific variety of costume.
The ițari are typical for Moldovans and represent a pair of long peasant trousers that were sewn from țigaie (a special breed of sheep wool) and had a length of 2 m, but being narrow, they were crimped on the leg from ankle to the knee. They were worn during the summer and the winter. Ițarii for summer wear are made of pânză de sac (bulky cotton).
The cioareci are very tight peasant pants of white woollen cloth (dimie or aba) woven in four threads, therefore thicker than the ițari. In Banat, the cioareci are known as canvas or baize stockings worn by women during the winter. In Moldavia can be found cioareci without creți that are worn in the working days. Here, they are also known as bernevici.
In the South and Moldavia, trousers are worn over boots or shoes whereas in Transylvania they are tucked into the tops of the boots.
The amount and style of decoration on cioareci depends on regional style. The majority of the decoration is on the upper parts of the trousers around the pockets, and front. Trousers worn with boots did not have any decoration on the lower part whereas those worn with spats had decoration down the legs accenting the cut of the trousers and round the hems or turn-ups.
The oldest type of footwear is peasant sandals (opinci) worn with woollen or felt foot wraps (obiele) or woollen socks (călțuni). Evidence for this style of footwear can be seen on a clay foot found in Turdaș, dating from around 2500 BC. Opinci were worn throughout Romania and over a wide area of south and east Europe being known as opanke (Serbia), tservuli (Bulgaria), opinci (Macedonia), etc. Opinci are made of a single rectangle of cow, ox or pig hide gathered round the foot in various ways.
The suman is a long peasant coat (knee-deep) made of brown, gray or black cloth and richly decorated with găitane. It is also known as țundră, zeghe or dulamă.
Căciulă are worn all over Romania and in most of the surrounding Balkan countries in winter. Fur hats are made by furriers and are most often black, although white căciulă are worn in parts of Banat and grey in central and north Moldavia. There are four types of căciulă found in Romania:
High conical cap – căciulă țuguiată, moțată – this is made of four pieces joined together lengthwise. It can be worn peaked, with top bent forward, back or sideways, or with top sunk inwards, depending on local fashion. It is worn in Moldavia, Muntenia, Oltenia and Banat, originally by the "free men". In Banat Mountains, the cap is sometimes worn with fur inside and a narrow white fur hem at base.
Round low cap known as cușmă rotilată in Maramureș, consisting of two parts: a long band forming a cylinder and a round top sewn to the upper edge of the cylinder.
Caps made of a single piece of fur are also found in Maramureș and Oaș. These are made by stretching the raw fur on a spherical wooden shaped block which makes it take the shape of the head. This simple "skull" cap was formally worn by serfs.
Căciulă joasă – cylindrical fur cap with the top larger than the base. This is called mocănească, rotată, retezată or turtită and is worn by shepherds on both sides of the southern Carpathians (in Mărginimea Sibiului, Oltenia, Muntenia and Vrancea) and also in Bărăgan Plain and Dobruja due to this area being used for summer pastures by the Carpathian shepherds, and also in Maramureș.
Hard felt hats are made by specialised craftsmen in workshops and are worn throughout the year. These hats are found centred on the Saxon regions around Sibiu and Bistrița and may have been introduced into Transylvania by the Saxons, whose craftsmen made them in workshops, from the 18th century. The style varies widely in shape and size of brim according to area. The wide brimmed hat appeared around 17th-19th centuries and felt hats with broad brims up to 60 cm were worn in 19th and early 20th centuries, and continued to be worn in Bistrița Valley[disambiguation needed], Moldavia until 1940s. Hats with 40 cm brims were worn in central Transylvania and Muntenia. Felt hats with hard upturned brims – cu găng – were worn in Crișana, Hunedoara and Bukovina following a fashion of the gentry. Wide brimmed felt hats with a large peacock feather (roată de păun) are still worn in Năsăud, further south the hats are much reduced in size, shepherds in Sibiu and along the southern Carpathians wear felt hats with very small brims, the present day fashion tending to do away with the brim altogether.
Green "trilby" style hats worn by Romanian border guards and mountain corps are still found in Pădureni[disambiguation needed] and other areas today. This style originated in the Austrian Tyrol, and reached Romania during Habsburg rule, and became international due to the Habsburg's preference for wearing Tyrolese costume for hunting throughout their Empire. This style is now widespread for everyday use.
Straw hats are worn by men (and women) throughout Romania in the summer. Straw hats vary in style from region to region although regional differences are now becoming less common as the straw version of the trilby takes over.
In Maramureș, traditional straw hats are very small, while in Satu Mare, Arad, Transylvanian Plain hats have a high crown. The tallest – around 30 cm – can be found in Codru. In Oltenia and Teleorman, along the Danube, flat brimmed straw hats with rounded crown are worn. In Maramureș and Oaș Country, men also often wear their clopuri in the winter.
Ie is the type of shirt of a typical gathered form of the collar, which exists since ancient times. It is also known as the "Carpathian shirt", similar to the Slavic (Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian, etc.) peoples. The three-part decor code of this pleated shirt is almost always the same: in addition to the underarm embroidery, the altiță, there is a single horizontal row on the sleeve, known as increț, and diagonal stripes below the armpit and shoulder, the râuri. The underarm embroidery characterizes the entire costume, it is traditionally seen as the culmination of embroidery and decoration.
The fotă is a richly-ornamented wrap-around skirt made out of a rectangular piece of woolen fabric worn at the waist. Alternately, it can be made of two pieces of woven material that cover the front of the body (like an apron) and the back. The fotă has several names, according to the ethnographic region: pestelcă (in Muntenia), opreg, vălnic and zăvelcă (in Oltenia), catrință or cretință (in Moldavia), păstură and zadie (in Transylvania), peștiman (in Bessarabia).
The fotă is made of woollen material or cotton mixed with wool, woven on four heddles. It fully covers the underskirt (poale) except for, in some areas, the hem. The oldest fote were made of black or greyish brown fabric using the natural colours of the wool. The earliest decoration was a red border (bete roșii) at the lower edge and on the front edge, which strengthen the fabric. This type of fotă is still found in north Moldavia where fote made of hemp or flax were formerly worn in some parts in summer. Fote with vertical stripes (vâstre) are also common in this area. The extent of the decoration becomes more elaborate as one moves south. The stripes change from simple woven decoration to alternately simple stripes and stripes of woven motifs (alesăture). In Muntenia, the stripes are replaced by compact woven decoration or heavy geometric embroidery, covering the whole surface except for the area which is overlapped in the front. The richest decoration is found in Argeș and Muscel[disambiguation needed] zones where the fotă itself is occasionally made from silk, and the woven decoration is in gold or silver thread.
Among the elements that should not miss in women's clothing are the "head coverings". They have a great aesthetic and social value for women. Young girls accustom to walk bareheaded, but after the wedding ritual – "bride's binders", "bride undressing" – the godmother puts her a beautiful basma or maramă.
The maramă is worn mainly in southern Romania, southern Moldavia and southern Transylvania. Marame possibly have an oriental origin and are decorated with white patterns woven onto a white background and often grouped toward the ends. In Argeș, the patterns can include coloured geometric motifs.
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