Traditional Bulgarian Costumes


Along with language and folk song traditions, the national costumes are a specific cultural characteristic of the Bulgarian people.

Present both in everyday life and on various festive occasions, Bulgarian folk costumes were where the physical and the spiritual met; they were an essential element of the overall culture system  - from the cradle to the grave, from the baby's gown to the burial attire made up of brand new garments or one's wedding outfit.

The traditional Bulgarian costumes took shape during the feudal ages and kept developing over the following centuries.

The makeup of the traditional Bulgarian costume is elaborate, one depending on the specific conditions of work and the patriarchal way of life in the Bulgarian village.

Traditional costumes were entirely home-made. They were the product of women's efforts, taste and creativity. Men's involvement was only minor - in processes like tannery or sowing together of the different parts.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the traditional home manufacture of clothes went along with the differentiation of clothing crafts, as well as with the appearance of tailor-made outer and top pieces (of the men's costumes in particular).

Materials traditionally used in clothing textiles were flax, hemp, wool, silk, and cotton. Leather was employed on a narrow scale, mainly for making the typical Bulgarian footwear called tsarvouli (a kind of sandals), while furs were used for making kalpatsi (men's fur caps) - typical of men's costumes worn in the mountain areas.

The main types of women's clothes were: the two-apron costume, the one apron costume, the soukman, and  the saya.

Men's costumes were of the belodreshna (predominantly white), or the chernodreshna (predominantly black) style.