2Are they all the same? No, they aren`t! Even though they consist of the same main elements, the motifs embroided on the white cloth, and also the colours of the traditional patterns, scrupulously weaved in it are different, each according to the area they represent.
3The structure of the costume The structure of Romanian traditional clothing has remained unchanged throughout history and can be traced back to the earliest times. The basic garment for both men and women is a shirt or chemise, which is made from hemp, linen or woollen fabric. This was tied round the waist using a fabric belt, narrow for women and wider for men. The cut of this basic chemise is similar for men and women. In the past those worn by women usually reached to the ankles while men's shirts were shorter and worn over trousers or leggings made from strips of fabric. Women always wear an apron over the chemise. This was initially a single piece of cloth wrapped round the lower part of their bodies and secured by a belt at the waist, as is still seen in the east and south east of Romania. In Transylvania and the south west of Romania this became two separate aprons, one worn at the back and one at the front.
4Men`s traditional clothing Men's traditional clothing throughout Romania comprises a white shirt (cămasă), white trousers, hat, belt, waistcoat and or overcoat. Local differences are indicated by shirt length, type of embroidery, trouser cut, hat shape, or waistcoat decoration. In most areas shirts are worn outside trousers, which is the older style. This is a basic Balkan man's costume largely uninfluenced by fashions from west or east. Hungarian and Saxon men living in Romania wear trousers with a more modern cut often made of dark material rather than white. This reflects their closer ties, and more frequent communication, with the west.
5The garmentsThe outer garments worn by both men and women are similar, the main differences being in cut and decoration which depend mainly on the region of provenance. These garments are usually made of sheepskin, or felted woollen fabric, and decorated with leather appliqué and silk embroidery.
6Work days VS FestivalsTraditional clothing worn on workdays and festivals used to be similar, the main difference being that the festive dress, especially those worn for weddings was more richly embroidered. In the past the headwear worn by the bride was especially ornate with specific local styles. In poorer areas basic clothing with little or no embroidery has always been worn.
7Over the time…The various pieces of costume have gone out of use at different times during the 20th century. The first item to disappear in many areas were leather peasant sandals (opinci), although these could be seen in poorer villages again in the years just after the communist regime fell. In most rural areas men's traditional trousers were replaced by modern factory made trousers by mid century and in the post communism years jeans has become universally common. Traditional over garments became an expensive luxury, new garments only being purchased by people living in the very wealthy villages. More recently the traditional jacket makers in many areas have died with few new artisans being trainer to carry on their craft.
8NowadaysHowever if you look closely in the more remote areas some older people still wear items of traditional clothing. This can be for women a gathered black skirt or dark wraparound with a blouse of local cut either with or without a leather waistcoat. In Oaş and Maramureş even young girls often wear the local fashion costume on Sundays. This is normally made from brightly coloured material, in Oaş a dress, in Maramureş a skirt. Added to the local costume is the latest fashion in blouses and footwear such as white lacy blouses in Maramureş and platform shoes or stilettos, in both regions. Men usually have "western " trousers or jeans but may have a local shirt, or local shaped hat, although unfortunately the universal trilby is fast replacing these. Certain items of costume, specific to occupations, are still worn, for example men working in the forestry industry wear the wide leather belts (chimir), usually now over a T-shirt and jeans. Men's traditional fur hats (caliciulă) are still worn in winter in rural areas, and women usually wear a printed woollen scarf, and often a traditional straw hat over this when working in the fields in the summer.
9MARAMUREȘCostume can still be seen on Sundays and in the village dance groups of Maramures county. Along the Iza valley at Bogdan Voda, Dragomireşti and Bârsana the villagers sit outside their houses in the late afternoon. Valea Stejarului is along several miles of unmade road not far from the main town of Sighet. Certeze in Oas still holds the village Sunday dance late in the afternoon, but the numbers have greatly reduced since the early 1990's.
10Row of men wearing Pieptare from Iza valley, Maramureş, decorated with appliqué coloured leather and woollen embroidery, and felt trilby hats.Leather peasant sandals (opinci) worn with strips of material wrapped round legs (obiele).Cloth bag made from checked woollen fabric (traistă)Straw trilby hat
11Sleeveless fabric waistcoat made of black fleecy woollen material and edged with appliqué in black leather and black velvetStriped apron (zadie) made of a single width of woven wool with horizontal red and black stripes.Printed headscarf
12Small straw hat (clop) decorated with rows of small multicoloured beads. Short white linen shirt" (Cămaşă scurtă) with no collar, and sleeves were open at the wrists.Wide linen trousers (gaci)Sheepskin pieptar edged with appliqué leather decoration and decorated with embroidery in red, blue and green wool and inset with small pieces of mirrors and studs.Very wide leather belts (chimir)Heavy black leather boots (bocani)
13Chemise with yoke (cămaşă cu platcă) and square neck Chemise with yoke (cămaşă cu platcă) and square neck. Sleeves are gathered at the shoulders and wrists, with frilled cuffs and frills on yoke and shoulders. They are decorated with white embroidery and open work. Sheepskin pieptar edged with appliqué leather decoration and decorated with embroidery in red, blue and green wool and inset with small pieces of mirrors and studs.Striped aprons (zadii) made of a single width of woven wool with horizontal black and red or yellow and blue stripes.Printed headscarfLeather peasant sandals (opinci) worn with knitted socks (chiorapi)
14These younger ladies from Certeze, Oaş are wearing traditionally structured blouses, skirts and aprons made of brightly coloured factory produced material. The wide sleeved blouses(Cămaşă cu platcă), are decorated with heavy black braid piping and black wool embroidery around the yoke, and wide cuffs, with a horizontal band on the sleeves at elbow level.The wide gathered skirts (poale) has a wide waistband has black piping and embroidery on the wide waistband and round the hem.A gathered apron (şort) made of a coordinating coloured floral printed material is worn over the skirt. This again is edged with black braid.All these ladies are wearing factory made printed floral headscarves
15NORTHERN TRANSILVANIA Traditional costumes can still be seen in the sub-Carpathian valleys of north-east Transylvania. Bistrita was one of the Saxon towns of Transylvania consequently the immediate area has little costume, but the valleys into the Carpathians are predominantly Romanian. In the north Someşul Mare valley goes through Salva famous for the peacock feathered hats, Năsăud, Sângeorze-Bai and Maieru, with Leşu further up on the mountains. The pass from Maramureş goes through Coşbuc and joins at Salva. The Bârgăului valley is the main route east from Bistriţa to Moldavia. To the south of Bistrita are the Şieu and upper Mureş valleys. Monor is at the head of the Şieu, and Idecel is not far, across the Mureş.
16Woman's costumeGathered neck chemise (cămaşă încreţită) with wide frills (fodor) on sleeves, which open out from just below the elbow. It has a wide horizontal band of geometric embroidery above the elbow, this style of decoration being known as cămaşă cu şire peste cot.Sleeveless sheepskin flared waistcoat (pieptar) covered with brown velvet and edged with fur, and decorated with floral embroidery and beads.Narrow woven woollen front and back aprons (catrinţe) with horizontal woven stripes in red, brown and black and a row of coloured crochet lace motifs on the hem.Mauroon printed floral headscarfMan's costume Black felt hat (pălărie) with low crown and wide brim.White linen straight shirt with yoke (cămaşă cu umeraş), with white crochet lace on lower sleeves, hem and collarHip length sheepskin jacket (pieptar), decorated with appliqué red leather, red silk embroidery and multicoloured woollen tassels.Wide leather belt (chimir)Heavy boots (bocanci)
17Man's costume Black felt hat pălărie with low crown and wide brim, decorated with a wide row of coloured beads and a large peacock feather Roată de păunWhite linen straight shirt with yoke (cămaşă cu umeraş), with white crochet lace on lower sleeves, hem and collar, and rows of embroidery around neck opening, on hem and sleeve ends.Hip length sheepskin jacket (pieptar), decorated with appliqué red leather, red silk embroidery and multicoloured woollen tassels.Wide leather belt (chimir)Heavy boots (bocanci)
18Gathered neck chemise (cămaşă cu tablă), with sleeves gathered at wrists and black embroidery on front and sleeves in wide square shaped blocks.Black front and back aprons (catrinţe) made of a single width of black woven woollen material, edged with black crochet lace, and decorated on the lower part with motifs in silver and white thread.White linen underskirt (poale) decorated with rows of black embroidery above the hem.Black factory made head scarf printed with gold coloured floral patterns.
19SOUTHERN TRANSYLVANIA The Apuşeni mountains are in the west with Lupşa and Sălciua along the picturesque Arieş valley. South of the mountains are lowlands along the Mureş river in Hunedoara and Alba counties with villages such as Salistea. In the south of Transylvania are sub-Carpathian villages of Marginimea Sibiului such as Guru Râiului. Chipăr is in the Transylvanian heath to the south, in the the area once shared with Saxons, Ţopa is close to the Hungarian Szekely to the north-east, and Miheşu de Câmpie is further north in the area of mixed Hungarian and Romanian villages known as Mezõség by the Hungarians.
20Waist length pieptar edged with black velvet and a band of red leather, and decorated with isolated motifs of red and green embroidery, and woollen tassels on the front.Chemsie (Cămaşă cu mâneca din gât) made of white linen with gathered neck and wide frills (fodor) on sleeves, these opening out below a row of embroidery just under the elbow, with a wide row of white crochet lace attached at the wrists, this style of decoration being known ascămaşă cu şire peste cot. It has a narrow band of embroidery at the neck, in the same style as the necklaces (zgardane) worn further north in Maramureş. Gathered black silk apron (şort), decorated with embroidered ribbon on edges.Gathered neck chemise (Cămaşă cu mâneca din gât) with wide frills (fodor) on sleeves, which open out from just below the elbow. It has several vertical rows of embroidered motifs along the sleeves in black silk thread, and a wide horizontal band of geometric embroidery above the elbow, this style of decoration being known as cămaşă cu şire peste cot. A wide row of white crochet lace is attached at the wrists.Pleated black apron (şort), decorated with two vertical rows of multicoloured embroidery, and a narrow row of black lace on the hem.Waist length pieptar made of white leather and embroidery in dense black embroideryBlack fringed scarf called broboadăLeather peasant sandals (opinci)
21Women's costumeGathered neck blouse (cămaşă cu mâneca din gât) made of white cotton.Gathered coloured apron (şort) made of woven wool and decorated with two narrow vertical rows, and a wider horizontal row of multicoloured embroidery. Multicoloured fringes made of wool are attached to the hem and sides. Back apron (not visible) is a single width of black woollen material with horizontal stripes in gold thread.Waist length pieptar made of white leather and decorated with black appliqué leather and black embroidery.Black fringed scarf called broboadăMen's costumeBrown fabric waistcoat (laibăr)Gusseted shirt - Cămaşă cu barburiNarrow leather beltTight summer trousers (imene) made of cotton or linen fabricSheepskin hat (căciulă)
22Black felt shepherd's hat (pălărie din fetru) with a very narrow brim. Black fabric waistcoat (laibăr)Gusseted shirt - Cămaşă cu barburiNarrow leather beltTight summer trousers (izmene) made of cotton or linen fabric
23MUNTENIA & OLTENIACostume has continued mainly in the sub-Carpathian regions from Gorj, through Vâlcea and Argeş to Dâmboviţa counties. In Polovragi on the border of Gorj and Vâlcea the costume is the "black and white" found on the other side of the mountains in Marginimea Sibiului. Both double apron women's costumes and wrap-round fota are found in Argeş. Valea Danului, Arefu and Domneşti are in the north of Argeş on the edge of the Carpathians. Băbeni and Făgetelu are a little further south in the foothills.
24Woman's costumeGathered neck silk chemise (cămaşă încreţită) with traditional gathering (creţuri) using silk thread at the neck and with open sleeves. It has a wide horizontal band of turquoise blue embroidery just below the shoulders on the sleeves, and lozenge shaped motifs of embroidery on the front.Wrap round skirt (fotă) made of a single width of silk material in olive green with woven vertical strips in and motifs in gold and purple, and a matching band of motifs round the hem. This style of fotă was fashionable in the early 20th century,Modern straw hat!Man's costume White linen straight shirt (cămaşă dreapta) with no collar.Summer trousers (izmene) made of cotton or linen fabricWaistcoat (laibăr) made of black felted woollen fabric (postav).Felt trilby hat (Pălărie din fetru)
25White triangular cotton headscarves (testemele) edged with cotton fringes and sequins. Chemises with gathered neck (cămaşe încreţită), with traditional embroidered decoration - rectangular strip is embroidered across the top of the shoulder (altiţă), with a narrow strip below this (încreţ), and vertical stripes (râuri) on the front and sleeves. The underskirt (poale) has a row of co-ordinating embroidery on hem.Wrap round skirts (fote) made of a single width of black woven woollen material, with wide woven borders richly woven in gold and silver thread, with interleaved motifs.Narrow woven fabric belt (brâu)Peasant sandals (opinci)
26Silk marama decorated with woven silk motifs and worn with black velvet headband decorated with multi coloured beads.Chemise with gathered neck (cămaşă încreţită), heavily embroidered with blue wool and silk thread.Wrap around skirt (fotă) made of a single width of blue woven woollen material, with a wide border richly decorated in gold thread