Fashionista in Rus': from caftan to kokoshnik

Fashionista in Russia: from caftan to kokoshnik

Our ancestors were still fashionistas, and a modern trendsetter would have respected some of their preferences: in Rus' they respected a free cut (“oversized” in Zoomer), used natural materials and paid attention to accessories, wearing intricate belts and hats. Read more about the most common outfits in the primordially thorough review of Subtleties.

1. Boots

Warm felt boots were successfully used (and still are used, even how) for walking on dry snow. In Rus', they became widespread during the Golden Horde through the Mongol and Turkic tribes. For a long time they were considered expensive and accessible only to wealthy people, and their mass production began only at the beginning of the 19th century. Until the end of the 1990s, felt boots were part of the winter uniform of policemen on guard duty, and since 2001, the Russian felt boots museum has been operating in Moscow.

2. Sundress

This is a traditional women's dress without sleeves, which differed in cut and fabrics. The first mention of a sarafan is found in the Nikon chronicle of 1376. These outfits consisted of many details, which made them very heavy. During the time of Peter the Great, sundresses lost a lot of status: they began to be considered the outfit of merchants' daughters and commoners. Surprisingly, but true: in Russia there are 7 cheap cosmetics that are torn off with hands abroad.

3. Kosovorot

Shirt with a slanting collar, a slit in the middle and a belt. The first mention of this men's clothing dates back to the 15th century. Kosovorotkas were widely used in civilian life, as well as underwear for soldiers. Depending on the richness of the finish, the ancestors of modern shirts could be both casual and festive. Academician Likhachev believes that the cut on the kosovorotka was on the side, and not in the middle, so that the pectoral cross would not fall out. Kosovorotkas were of different types and could have different names depending on the purpose. So, in the first days of the harvest, men put on a braid, and before the wedding, the girls had to wear a killer for a week, in which they were supposed to mourn their youth and prepare for adulthood.

4. Sheepskin coat

This long and unclothed fur coat was made, as a rule, from sheepskin, but sometimes from raccoon, fox or ferret. This is the most common winter clothing in Rus', which was recognized first by the poor, and then by the nobility. Its popularity is due to the availability of sheepskin. In some regions, sheepskin coats were called casings.

5. Bast shoes

Light low shoes woven from birch bark or bast, which were popular until the 30s of the 20th century. Bast shoes were extremely cheap due to the availability of material, ease of manufacture and fragility, and one of the first mentions of the progenitor of modern ballet shoes is found in The Tale of Bygone Years. They were worn at home or outside in warm, dry weather. Weaving depended on the region and could be either straight or oblique. During the Civil War, most of the Red Army was shod in bast shoes.

6. Kaftan

Long upper men's dress, which appeared, according to written sources, in the 15th century. The attire was a swing dress of a free or fitted cut, tied with ribbons or fastened with buttons. The standard length of the caftan is up to the ankles, and if the clothes ended at the knees, it was already a semi-caftan. The word “caftan” is of Turkic origin and comes from “kaptau”, which means “to cover”.

As a rule, caftans were blue or gray and were sewn from linen or cotton fabric. More expensive varieties were made from satin, cloth, velvet and taffeta. f550x700/34/6g/346gv559d6g4owkgko0cs8ocw.jpg” media=”(max-width: 549px)”>

Fashionista in Russia: from caftan to kokoshnik


7. Undershirt

Despite the name, it is an independent combat unit of outerwear. The undershirt is similar to a modern coat: it is long, with gathers on the back and with a stand-up or turn-down collar. It was sewn from dark cloth and worn by both women and men. It is also interesting: foreigners told what Russian speech is like.

8. Kokoshnik

An ancient headdress and a symbol of traditional Russian costume. A kokoshnik is a light fan sewn onto a hat. By design, there are 4 main types of this accessory:

  1. One-horned. Usually has a pearl or beaded mesh that covers the forehead almost to the eyebrows.
  2. Two-comb. Has a saddle-shaped top with a raised top and a higher rear ridge.
  3. In the form of a cylindrical hat with a flat bottom.
  4. With a flat oval top, a protrusion above the forehead, lobes above the ears – and a rectangular cuff sewn on the back!

Over the kokoshnik often wore woolen or silk scarves, embroidered with gold and silver threads.

9. Vyshyvanka

Traditional Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian shirt, whose history goes deep into the pre-Christian period and up to the era of primitive culture. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the vyshyvanka broke away from the traditional costume and moved into the category of an independent item that can be worn in combination with European clothing. The peak of fashion for this type of shirt fell on the 20s and 30s of the 20th century, when ordinary people and prominent party figures wore embroidered shirts as a solemn attire.

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