Today in Bulgaria we distinguish 7 separate cultural areas - Dobrudzha, Rhodope, Pirin, Northern, Strandzha, Thracian and Shopska. Each of them has unique originality and specific characteristics. In the formation of their distinctive features in the past, along with customs, musical instruments, songs, proverbs and linguistic features, traditional costumes in various folklore areas are emerging as a significant ethnic determinant and social distinctive factor. Folk clothing was considered not only a symbol of belonging to a religion and language, but also as a kind of identity document of the individual and a testimony to the cultural history of the settlement. The following lines will be devoted to what we now call "fashion", but the native historical time will be remembered as "folk costume".
Dobrudja men's and women's folk costumes
The wheat region is said to give an ethnographic picture of half of Bulgaria and that along with its advantage to be among the richest in material terms, the region has a thriving spiritual and cultural life. This leaves its mark on the Dobrudzha costume, whose species diversity today we attribute to the diversity of ethnic groups, each of which manages to preserve its specific features. However, there are common elements in folk clothing - form, decoration and method of manufacture, which could be united under the name of all-Bulgarian ethnic style.
Some outerwear of Dobrudzha men and women are similar in cut, color and name and the difference can often be found only in the richer decoration of women's clothing. They are usually a red dress with embroidery or a skirt with a bodice; a long white cotton shirt; woolen apron, most often black and embroidered; yellow towel or hat, i.e. a hood that resembles a rooster's crest.
The men's costume is from the so-called type " whitish", which is determined by the light pattern of clothing. It is light and close to the body. It consists of a white shirt; narrow legs of white woolen cloth; a red wool belt; moccasins and a black hat.
Pirin men's and women's folk costumes
Many define Pirin as the scariest mountain in Bulgaria. This majestic image, which has been preserved for centuries in the image of the Pirin region, comes to life in the production and decoration of the Pirin costume. The natural tale that the valleys of the rivers Struma and Mesta depict, enhances even more the beauty of the Pirin woman. Her clothes consist of a shirt; an outwear of white cotton cloth with short sleeves, called a "klashnik"; a red or striped wool belt; a long and narrow apron embroidered with colorful motifs; a towel tied under the hair; colorful socks and an abundance of jewelry - earrings, belt buckles, pendars and belts.
White and red are the colors that predominate in the costumes of men from this region. Dressed in the so-called "Benevretsi" or "cheshiri" - pants with narrow legs and tight-fitting to the top, allowing higher jumps and flexible moves, Pirin heroes are famous for the elegance of their movements in the art of dance. The light and tight costume is complemented by an upper part with a wider cut than the other clothes, which goes down below the belt and in some cases reaches the knees. The red wool belt is tightly fastened and the black hat completes the look of the costume.
Rhodope men's and women's folk costumes
Rhodopes - the mother mountain enchants with its rounded ridges, whose soft and harmonious forms lie deep in the folklore elements and motifs. The Rhodope costume is of Slavic origin and this is evident in the technique, cut and outlines of embroidered and woven ornaments. The production and use of folk costumes in the Rhodope region have existed for a long time and its disappearance is associated with the withdrawal from the craft of the last tailors. Due to the cool mountain climate and the highly developed sheep breeding in the region, the clothes are made mainly of woolen fabric.
The costume of the Rhodope woman belongs to the so-called sukman type. Characteristic of it is that on the shirt of white cloth is worn a long garment of black or dark blue shayak, called "valnik". The waist belt is variegated, usually with a predominant red color, corresponding to that of the towel and apron, and the width of a span. The apron is belted above the waist and its pattern is always almost the same - yellow, orange, brick red colors predominate. The Rhodope women wear a wine-red towel on their head, which covers half of the forehead and almost the entire hair. Their feet are wearing colorful woolen socks and slippers embroidered with leather hoops and tinsel.
The clothes of the men from the Rhodope region are in a darker pattern and belong to the "black-cloth" type. Shaky and gray in color, the pots are tucked into the body, and their bottoms are medium deep or shallow, with pockets bordered with braided embroidery. The shirt is made of white canvas, without embroidery, and only the narrow rectangular collar is trimmed with a colored braid. Black braids wrap around the seams, back and front of the vest. A wide tile-red belt overlaps the vest and the poturi, and on top there is an outer garment with narrow sleeves, called "dolanma". The so-called "Thread" - a white canvas, which is fastened with black fur cords, establishing certain figures. The moccasins of the Rhodopes are made of raw cowhide, and the hat, also made of leather, is called "gugla".