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The traditional folk costumes embrace traits of the various cultures represented in this part of the Balkan. They convey the skill and inventiveness of native designers - Macedonian women, who manufactured themselves their outfits of homespun thread (usually wool, linen, cotton, hemp), using traditional tools. Until the early decades of the 20th century, when folk costumes reached their peak and were still widely worn and adorned, there were over 70 different kinds of richly decorated costumes on the territory of Macedonia. Every region had its distinctive attire, which differed from the clothing of the adjacent region in its stylistic, aesthetic and functional features. The reason for the appearance of so many different costumes, particularly for women, is the geographic isolation of the ethic areas, as well as frequent migrations and ethnic diversity of the population. The features that make traditional costumes magnificent are the embroidery (in rich geometric and geometricized floral patterns), appliqués, woven ornaments, adornment with fringes, fine metal thread - srma, and braids, as well as jewelry, made of metal, beads and fruits of the nature. Two main types of costumes western Macedonian and eastern Macedonian. The western Macedonian type includes the Upper Vardar Valley, the Debar-Miyak and Brsyak ethnographic areas. Traditional costumes in these parts of Macedonia are characterized by the numerous pieces of clothing, made mostly of white klashna, as well as the various headdresses and rich prevailing red colors. The versatile application of numerous old embroidery techniques (in woolen, silk or metal thread), the embellishment with braids, filigree ornaments and numerous pieces with beads and precious jewelry, made mostly of metal, give an extraordinary structure and visual effect. The eastern Macedonia type includes: the Middle Vardar Valley, and the Shop ethnographic area. The costumes from these regions are generally lighter and rather plain, without massive jewelry, exquisite decoration and lively colors. Red is the prevalent color, and other decoration includes variegated cords, braids, bands and srma.1


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Skopska Blatija
bride, turn of the 20th century           

Crnetica (long dress), Saja (upper garment with rudimentary sleeves), Pojas (sash, not visible), Praena vuta (apron), Uzkuknici & Krpčinja so pari (scarves with a decorative and apotropaic function), Kjurdija (sleeveless coat made of klašna), Fes (shallow hat trimmed with coins, not visible), Krpa (headscarf) held in place with a Remen (a band trimmed with coins), Pafti, (buckle), Ledenik, Pirišan, Piskuli Krst (Jewellery)

Sela pod Suva Gora
young bride, turn of the 20th century               

Venčajnca (bridal dress) with a stomacher underneath (not visible); Elek (bodice); Saja r’kae (a sleeveless top made of cotton or hemp); Pojas (sash, not visible); Skutina (apron); Šamii (scarves); Čapragje (small buckle); Monistren kjustek (plaited strings ornamented with beads); Gornik (bridal coat made of white klašna); Kolan (silver belt); Sokaj (long head cover) attached to a Glaina so pobranik (strap, not visible); Čevre (white cotton scarf embroidered with silk and silver threads), held in place by a Topka igla (silver hair pin). The hair is plaited and interwoven with a Prcle (bunch of tiny plaits of hair); Šutarki (leggings, not visible); Kalčini golemi sitni (socks); Opinci (sandals)

Gorna Reka
young bride, turn of the 20th century 

            

Košula so kindoi (pleated bridal dress), over which is a Mintan (waist-length garment of thin felt, not visible) and a Džamadan (sleeveless undergarment, not visible); Dolama (embroidered jacket); Skender pojas (woollen sash, not visible); Poš (silk sash); Kolan so pari (belt with coins); Gerdan (jewellery worn across the bust); Pešterka (apron); Šamija (scarf); Šamija (scarf); Fes so trepetulka (hat trimmed with gold coins, not visible); Tas (oval metal cap) upon which are attached Veški (cotton strips covered in coins); Marama (headscarf with small beads). Entwined in the hair are Kitki (tassels of cotton threads and beads); on the feet and legs are Tozluci, Čulki (not visible) and Kalčini (socks)

Debarsko Pole
young bride, turn of the 20th century        

Košula so vezeni r’kai (bridal dress with embroidered sleeves), over which are a Pregrlak (front piece, not visible), Elek (bodice, not visible) Zobanče (short-sleeved jacket); Dizgija (sash, not visible) Lepa bovča (apron) Kalemkjari za pred sebe (silk scarves) Pafti (large silver buckle) Džube so nafe (sleeveless felt coat lined with fox fur) Kapa (oval, shallow hat), covered with a Darpna klabodanlija (white cotton scarf embroidered with gold and other coloured threads)

Ohridsko Pole
young bride, beginning of the 20th century             

Golema košula (bridal dress), over which is a Elek (short-sleeved jacket) and Klašenik (waistcoat, not visible); Pomaniki (lower-arm sleeves); Grlinka and Grljuvče (front pieces, not visible); Pojas (sash, not visible); Skutina so bufki ( apron); Pridulnici (woollen scarves); Struško šamivče (sash); Belo džube (white sleeveless felt coat); Mangura, Gerdan, Čaprag (jewellery worn across the chest); Igla Igla raskrstena, Ubetki (bridal jewellery worn on the head); Sokaj (long head cover), over which is Marama so vezba (white cotton scarf, finely embroidered with fringes); Alski čorabi so vetka (hand-knitted socks with floral motifs).

Gorna Prespa
young woman in festive costume, beginning of the 20th century          

Košula (dress) over which is a Grlinka (a small front piece); Mintani (lower arm sleeves); Šegun (short sleeved top garment made of klašna); Eleče (short bodice); Pojas (sash, not visible); Pretcemnik (silk apron); Pafti (large silver buckle); Džube (sleeveless coat made of felt and trimmed with fur). The hair is plaited in Kocak (plaits) and the head is covered with a Čkepe (silk scarf)

Gorni Bitolski sela
young woman dressed for a festive occasion, turn of the 20th century        

Košula alska (dress); Alski šaak (bodice made of klašna); Pojas (sash); Alska futa (apron); Pafti kubelii (large silver buckle) and Skopec (strings of coins); Darkma (white cotton scarf embroidered in one corner with red silk threads called Gugan

Železnik, Kičevija
bride, turn of the 20th century       

Golema košula (bridal dress); Klašenik (sleeveless bodice, not visible); Pojas (sash, not visible) Alen skutnik (apron) Skopec (strings of coins) Pafti (buckle) Golema kjurdija (sleeveless coat) Bečka šamija (woollen scarf). On her wedding day the bride covered her head with a Prevez (a red cotton cloth)

Radoviško Pole
young woman dressed for a festive occasion, beginning of the 20th century       

Košula (dress) Ečel’k (silk shirt) Saja (white short-sleeved outer garment); Pojas (sash, not visible). On special occasions Skutač - dipla alova (two aprons, one of which is folded and tucked into the sash) Eleče (short bodice), decorated with Gorni i dolni kopčijna (two pieces of silver jewellery worn on the bust); The head is covered with Šam (white cotton headscarf)

young bride, beginning of the 20th century           

Gašti (long breeches); Košula (dress, not visible); Dulamka (waist-length garment, not visible); Anterija (long-sleeved overdress of woven cotton/silk); Pojas (sash); Krstaklija dipla (apron); Rizi (woven cloths); Puloi (large silver buckle); Eleče (short bodice); Fes (shallow hat, not visible), to which are attached Tepel’k (silver jewellery worn on the head) and (artificial flowers); the fes is covered with a Mumija (silk scarf) and Zadni obečki (decorative chains); Kolbi (large silver bracelets)

young bride, turn of the 20th century         

Košula (dress), over which are a Interija (long upper garment, not visible) and a Saja šarena (plain-weave woollen jacket); Pojas (sash, not visible); Futa (apron) Pafti (buckle) Trijačka sos trkala (cotton cloth) Džube (sleeveless coat) Kopče and Lanec (jewellery worn across the chest) Duale (silk scarf)

Duračka Reka
young bride, turn of 20th century          

Kenarna košula (dress with lace at the hemline), over which is a Alov elek (bodice, not visible); Širitlija so uzbojki (bodice); Poes-kemer (sash, not visible); Peškir - skutača so tri pretkavi (apron with a horizontal striped pattern at the bottom); Peperuglija skutača (apron with diamond-shaped patterns); Monistreno kolanče so pafti (beaded belt with buckle), around which are two Krpi (pieces of material) Fermene (short jacket edged with fox fur) Džube (sleeveless coat) Jašmak (two white cotton scarfs, on the head, and over the shoulders); Kolalii (knitted wool socks)

Woman's costume. Macedonia. Mid-19th century

The traditional Macedonian women's costume included a shirt, apron, belt, headdress and klashnik, a white sleeveless knee-length caftan. The belt was an obligatory part of the costume and was considered to protect women, especially those of pregnant ones, from outer danger. The caftan was usually pulled up at the front and hung over the belt forming a kind of a pocket used for keeping various things. On their heads Macedonian women wore long and wide linen headgears falling down up to the knees on the back. Its lower part was decorated with fringe. 2


The Russian Museum of Ethnography

The Mariovo Men's Dress The Mariovo Men's Dress is made of white linen similar to the Valley Dress of the Prilep valley, and makes a unit with it. It is made of hand-woven linen, white or black broadcloth, richly decorated with embroidery and various other decorations. Some elements of the old Slav costume have been preserved in it, for example the "aba", smock, leggings, valanka, etc. The costume is composed of: "Aba", an undershirt made of hand-woven folk weave woolen material called "aba". Smock of thick hand-woven linen, embroidered on the front, sleeves, and skirt. False cuffs, woolen knitted sleeves worn on the arms below the elbow. The wristbands are decorated with "sopci" i.e. half hexagons or octagons. Breeces of white broadcloth which have a special cut. "Kemer", a griddle of twilled flame - colored wool with strips and "eyelashes". Black broadcloth waistcoat, ornamented with flame colored trimmings. The front is embroidered and decorated with multicolored buttons. Socks, knitted from white wool, decorated with natural patterns, net, ribbing, pearl stitch, and amulet, a triangular shape with spots in it. Garters, folk weave and stripped, decorated with "eyelashes". These fasten the socks. Slippers with straps, made of cowhide by a shoemaker. Cap of black astrakhan and velvet, made by a tailor. Knife, called "zhrenche", with a chain and a sheath of horn, made by cutler.

West Macedonian national costumes Macedonian national costume from Mavrovo Region


private collection, a lovely antique c.1850's Ethnic Macedonian tablecloth/placemat with hand-embroidered flowers.

from an outstanding private collection, a rare antique 19c.Ethnic Macedonian Men's folk costume woolen trousers ankle length pants 'Benevrek'. Made of heavy woven wool; decorated with black wool embroidery.

Macedonian linen pillow with intricate folk motifs hand-embroidery and tassels.

private collection, a rare antique ca.19th century ethnic Macedonian linen pillowcase with wonderful hand-embroidery.

private folk ethnic collection, an ultra rare antique c.1880`s Debar Macedonian ladies folk costume dress skirt with stunning colorful folk motives and great pattern.

Macedonian Folk Costume hand-woven wool child's jacket. Lovely hand-embroidered flowers.

Ethnic Macedonian Kiystendil Area Folk Costume Ladies Winter Sleeveless Dress 'Soukman' with stunning hand-worked gold embroidery on breast.

private collection, an antique ca.1900's Ethnic Macedonian ladies' purse/handbag. Made of wool.

an amazing and rare 1900s Antique Macedonian art folk belt. Made of beads embroidery! Handmade!

Vintage Macedonian wall decor crocheted cover in beautiful art folk motif!

private collection, an wonderful and ultra rare Museum Piece ca.1850-1890s / 19 century Antique Original Macedonian Ethnic Folk Woman Woolen Dress / Costume with beautiful golden embroidery on it. The Sleeves are made of Velveteen! This is a Macedonian woolen dress for its early age.

Here are two pictures taken by Albert Kahn’s photographers in Macedonia. The pictures are from 1912 and is one of the first in the world taken in color.

Taken from the BBC documentary series "Edwardians In Color. The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn" episode 3 "Europe on the Brink".