Ukraine

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Shoes avaUkrainian authentic shoes may look a bit weird but that’s what people wore 100 years ago. This footwear was not as comfortable as modern high-tech shoes, but these pieces fit their time. And, as you see, our ancestors used to put a lot of effort, taste, and time into making every small clothing article, including shoes – they often are adorned with embroidery, beading, cutting, and stamping on leather, even the buckles were decorative. Such vintage footwear is now displayed in museums and kept in private collections, but looking at these shoes, you can easily imagine people wearing them in daily life.

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Crib avaThere are many specific clothing traditions regarding children in Ukraine. In the past, people used to pay a lot of attention to kid’s costumes. Most of the old customs originated from ancient beliefs that only amulets and protective patterns can keep a child safe – several hundred years ago mothers didn’t know much about viruses, bacteria, immunity, etc., so they protected their babies with sacred knowledge they had. Let’s find out more about the authentic clothing of Ukrainian kids.

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Gorgeous avaThese very elegant, ornate, and colorful wedding costumes are traditional bride&groom’s outfits used in Ukraine 100 years ago. The wedding clothes had to be bright and eye-catching so that each guest could distinguish the bride from the crowd. The costumes in this collection are complemented with modern bridal wreaths and jewelry – wonderful pieces that are replicas of authentic Ukrainian accessories or unique products of artisans’ imagination. Enjoy the bright colors and lovely wedding dresses!

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Sample avaThese are a collection of striking embroidery samples from Ukraine. They are beautiful, very delicate, and seem simple but are charming when you pay attention to details. And it doesn’t matter the embroideries are machine-made. Most of these embroidery patterns are whitework, which is typical for Central Ukraine. Some designs have teeny-tiny spots of red or blue intertwined with white. Some even are created with several different colors and shades. But isn’t whitework the most noble-looking and sophisticated needlework ever?

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Western2 avaTraditional male garments from the 19th – early 20th century seldom get to museum exhibitions because they are too worn and can’t be preserved in good enough condition. Also, men had fewer clothing articles than women – 100 years ago or today, it’s all the same! So these costumes are that much more valuable. Welcome here to view several beautiful men’s handmade and hand-embellished outfits from Ternopil region of Ukraine.

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Embroidery avaIn the past, when most clothing pieces in Ukraine were handmade (woven, sewn, and decorated by hand), there was a comparatively little assortment of thread dyes available. The most popular were read&black colors of embroidery, but in some areas, people preferred white threads, indigo-dyed threads, or colorful patterns (yellow, brown, green, blue, orange, etc.). If a 17th-18th-century woman saw modern mouline threads with hundreds of colors and shades, they would be wonderstruck.

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Tools avaWe’ve already published lots of photos of vintage spinning & weaving tools (Vintage wooden spinning and weaving tools, Old Ukrainian spinning and weaving tools. 5,000-year-old loom, etc.), but there’s never enough because every piece is handmade, thus unique and special. This collection of female craft tools (usually, women did the spinning, weaving, embroidering, etc.) is exhibited in Reshetylivka museum, Poltava region of Ukraine. They are wooden, they are hand-produced, and they are worn – remember that they’re at least 100 years old.

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Western avaThe national clothing of Ukraine can be so ornate and beautiful that foreigners find themselves captivated or even taken aback by the view. We’ve prepared for our readers a number of photos which show Ukrainian folk dress in detail – headdresses, embroidery patterns, accessories, jewels, etc. The costumes are from western (Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi) and central (Poltava) regions of the country. Let’s admire these showpieces together.

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Spin weave avaThe traditional spinning and weaving tools are similar around the world: weaving looms, spinning wheels, spindles, combs, flying shuttles, etc. But because these items are handmade, each and every one of them is unique and original. Some of these tools are roughly and crudely made, others are delicate and decorated with intricately carved patterns. Here are images of vintage – appr. 100-year-old – spinning and weaving tools from Ukraine. Really charming stuff!

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Couple avaAt the beginning of the 20th century, people in Ukraine still wore folk clothes in day-to-day life, especially women. Mostly, the outfits were handmade, but fabrics were already industrially-made. And the embroidery designs on costumes changed in the 20th century – floral patterns replaced geometric, cross-stitch replaced more authentic stitches. At the same time, Ukrainian men started to wear military uniforms after World War I, which they’d brought from the battlefields. Such outfits were more affordable and cheaper than to produce clothing by yourself. Here are a few photos of authentic costumes and replicas from that era.

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Doll avaThis is a fine collection of motanka dolls from Reshetylivka museum, Poltava region of Ukraine. Motanka doll is a traditional Ukrainian toy made from yarn and fabric. It is a little bit similar to the famous American rag doll, but motanka is usually produced without any sewing. These particular dolls are dressed in folk costumes of Ukraine. All the woven and embroidered garments are real but tiny, just like jewelry pieces, headwear, and other accessories. It’s a great tradition to make such motanka dolls for kids.

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Fashion avaBrides in Ukraine traditionally wore very large, ornate, and beautiful wreaths for their wedding. Today, women prefer veils or hats as bridal headwear, but in the 17th-19th century, all of them used wreaths, which showed their marital status. We’d like to show you a nice collection of such headdresses of various shapes, designs, made from different materials, using different techniques. These pieces are modern but very accurate replicas of authentic bridal wreaths from the 19th century.

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Wreath avaIn Ukraine, there was a tradition for young girls who were ready for marriage and for brides to wear a wreath – female headdress made from fresh or artificial flowers, fabric, straw, or wood and embellished with beads, sequins, flowers, coins, pom-pons, metal adornments, etc. The wreath was a symbol that showed a woman’s marital status. It could be round or horseshoe-shaped. And the bridal wreaths were really ornate and exquisite. Here are some examples of such festive and wedding wreaths from the 19th – the beginning of the 20th century.

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Weaving avaIn the old days, fabrics were handmade only and people invented different tools that helped them make the cloth. For instance, various spinning and weaving tools. On the territory of Ukraine, the first evidence of woven fabric date back to the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (appr. 4800-3000 B.C.). Although Ukrainians usually use industrially-produced fabrics today, there are still many vintage spinning&weaving tools in local museums, private collections, and in possession of artisans who still produce hand-woven cloth.

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ukrainian wreath avaHeadwear is among those most informative accessories ever. They can give info about gender, age, marital status, social class, financial well-being of a person, etc. And Ukrainian folk headdresses are no exception. Today, we’d like to show you the best, most unusual, and even bizarre headgear that occurs in this rich European culture. While day-to-day headpieces were very alike throughout the country, the bridal and festive headdresses often varied in different regions. So, let’s have a look at all those coifs, kerchiefs, headbands, wreaths, bonnets, and other female headdresses used in Ukraine since ancient times till now.

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Boots avaRecently, we’ve got a rare opportunity to dive into a museum storage and make photos of exhibits that are seldom seen by ordinary visitors. Usually, you’re able to observe such vintage pieces only through glass, and even then, only some of them are exhibited. So, this is your chance to see authentic Ukrainian shoes from the 19th-20th century in detail. This footwear is from different regions of the country, made from various materials, decorated with various embellishments, and produced by skillful artisans. The shoes in this collection are male, female, and – more often than you would think – unisex.

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Hutsul avaThe Hutsul clothing tradition is interesting because of its peculiarities and uniquity. Local craftsmen were (and still are) especially skilled in working with leather and metal. We’ve already written about Ukrainian traditional jewelry made from brass. And now, we’d like to talk about folk clothing accessories used in the Carpathian region – ornate leather shoes, belts, and bags. These pieces are so very beautiful and remarkable that we can’t miss the opportunity to show them to you.

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Jewelry avaThe tradition of using jewelry in Ukraine is old and developed. For centuries, Ukrainian men – but mostly women – have been wearing jewels made from metal, glass, stones, and other natural and artificial materials. The most widespread pieces are coral necklaces, Venetian glass beaded necklaces, and metal pendants (dukaches and crosses made from gold, silver, copper, or brass). Here, we’d like to share with you several photos of beautiful, ornate, and intricately made jewelry items worn by Ukrainian women during the last 200 years.

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Dukach avaOne of the most popular traditional jewelry pieces in Ukraine is called a “dukach”. It is a pendant of sorts and it is usually made from a coin (gold, silver, or even copper) or a religious icon. This jewelry item is often pretty massive and intricately decorated. It can be hung on a chain or ribbon as a self-sufficient piece or be a part of a necklace. Here, we’d like to show you some photos of dukach jewels from a great exhibition held in one of Ukrainian museums.

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Polissia avaUkraine is one of those countries in Europe that have diverse climate and relief. Therefore, the old clothing traditions are also rather different for various regions. Today, we’d like to talk about one of the most curious Ukrainian areas – a so-called “Polissia”. It is a region of dense forests and swamps, that’s why the clothing customs here are a little bit extraordinary. The vintage sets of folk clothing from Polissia are preserved in Ukrainian museums and in a pretty good shape. So, we’d like to show you 7 full sets of absolutely beautiful women’s costumes from Ukrainian Polissia.

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Underwear avaIf you think that 19th-century fashion in Europe was reduced to corsets, crinolines, and bustles, you’re wrong. Just look at the folk underwear used in Ukraine in the same time period – it’s the opposite fashion trend. It’s all about natural lines, minimum of undergarments, and beautiful embellishments on the visible parts of the clothing. But let’s find out the most curious facts about Ukrainian traditional underwear worn in the 19th century. We may surprise you.

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Vyshyvanka avaUkrainian authentic embroidered shirts made a 100 or more years ago, are adorned with beautiful and diverse patterns. The symbols were chosen on purpose and every craftswoman knew their meaning. Also, there was a large variety of embroidery stitches and techniques, used to make the shirts. Today though, modern embroidered shirts or so-called “vyshyvanka” are much more simple and look similar. Ukrainians almost forgot the hidden meaning of ancient embroidery designs. But this knowledge is returning to these people little by little.

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Vira Nakonechny avaUkrainians even in the 21st century take great pride in their embroidery. These are considered high art and filled with themes that are deeply symbolic and meaningful. One of the famous Ukrainian artisans is Vira Nakonechny. She is skilled in many folk crafts, including embroidery, weaving, beading, folk costume reconstruction, etc. She is a woman that doesn’t even live in Ukraine, wasn’t born in Ukraine, and visited Ukraine for the first time at a rather mature age, but she’s Ukrainian by descent. And, living in the US, she teaches people how to do Ukrainian handicrafts.

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Cradle avaIn Ukraine, children traditionally wore embroidered shirts from a very young age. The patterns served as the protection from evil. Most of the time, children were dressed in a shirt and nothing more – only at the age of 3, 10, or even 15 (depends on a region of the country), they added skirts, trousers, belts, and other garments. We’d like to show you some of the embroidered pieces of clothing used by Ukrainian kids at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Male costume avaVintage men’s clothing in Ukraine is rather hard to find. Most of such garments didn’t survive till these days, unlike female costumes (of which there are plenty). We would like to show you 12 authentic male outfits from the end of the 19th – the first half of the 20th century. The garments are stored in The Ukrainian national center of folk culture “Ivan Honchar Museum” and in private collections. You can find some pretty interesting and opulent pieces here. Also, there are several typically masculine accessories to supplement the costumes. Enjoy!

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Ukraine avaUkrainian traditional costumes from western, northern, and north-western regions of Ukraine are very colorful, bright, and sophisticated. In this areas, proud-spirited and honorable people traditionally lived, and their costumes are like that as well. We are glad to share with you several photos of female folk outfits from the mentioned Ukrainian regions. You will also find out how different garments and jewelry pieces are named.