Cypriot cotton and silk are used to make traditional clothes. White Alatzia has red, blue, yellow, orange, and green stripes.
“Vraka” pants are comprised of white fabric colored black and tufted. Hand-weaving silk shirts take unique equipment and ability. Simple or ornate waist constellations are usually dark. Men traditionally wear a wedding waistcoat, knee-high socks, boots, and a cashmere or straw hat.
Cypriot women wear “saya,” a formal attire, and “the urban,” a wide silk shirt, short-sleeved jacket, and fez or shawl. Urban Cypriot ladies wear urban wedding dresses, whereas rural women wear traditional ones.
In this article, we will be discussing the traditional clothes of Cypriot men and women.
Typical Attire for Ladies
The traditional attire of female Cypriots consists of an outer garment, chemise, and pantaloons that fall to the ankles. The open-front ‘saya’ dress was widely worn in both urban and rural areas of Cyprus up until the 19th century. Karpasia and Paphos residents sported local variations into the early 1900s.
The ‘foustani,’ a one-piece, waisted and pleated dress, was the most prevalent outer garment in rural Cyprus until the 1950s. Daily foustanis wore plain aprons, festivals embellished.
Paphos preferred the saya over the fousta’ni. The saya and foustani have a big oval opening for breastfeeding.
Second-century Nicosia and other Greek cities used Amalia dresses. Some of this clothing went to Cyprus’s rural areas. Wide silk skirt, sarka, fez, and kerchief. Karpasia and other rural plains women tuck their saya’ or fousta’ni into their waist. Some women wore chemises with diagonally-folded zomas.
Typically, a foutas is a rectangle that has been folded on the diagonal and secured at the front. Like a cummerbund, it encircled the chemise. In towns, women bathed in foutas. The pa’nna was commonly worn in the mountainous regions of Cyprus especially during special celebrations.
The red, bordeaux, dark green, and brown kouroukla was wardrobe staple for women. Mandila’rides create rugs with flower-shaped wooden stamps. The best kerchiefs are adorned with crochet pipilla (yasemoudin, foulin, kamaroudin, etc.).
The kerchief was folded diagonally, triangle behind, and tied high at the side. The bow had a silver kerchief pin, a hand-crocheted silk flower, or a real flower.
Chamiloskoufomenes were “shamed” in a Cypriot rhyming couplet. Long braids were made from middle-parted hair. Elderly ladies, widows, and mourners wore the kouroukla over a black kerchief.
Silk handkerchiefs with embroidery have given way to imprinted handkerchiefs. According to a 19th-century traveler to Cyprus, upper-class Nicosian women wore a diaphanous white silk veil, in contrast to the dazzling blue, yellow, and buff scarves used in other towns.
Dressed in koilaniotika silk kerchiefs, upper-class ladies showed off their wealth. Vermilion, kraseti, gold, and green natural dyes were used for tie-dyeing. These rare and expensive kerchiefs were made in Koilani and transported to Kastellorizo.
Women wore tsemberi, or krossia, in the villages of the Troodos Mountains. Embroidered in one corner of the festival or bridal kerchief was a bird, generically dubbed peacock, pagoni, or a flower, which could be seen on the triangle behind.
Yellow leather boots and slippers were fashionable with city women in the 19th century whereas black court shoes were all the rage in the 20th. The same skarparides shoemakers who made men’s podines also crafted women’s short hob-nailed footwear. Socks made from lambswool were popular among female fashionistas.
Women in Cyprus hardly ever sported stockings, opting instead for long pantaloons that hid their bare legs. Gold jewelry was a status symbol for affluent city women. Festival-goers typically wore silver and gilded ornaments, while locals wore silvered bronze.
Accessories included pins, splidzies worn in the headscarf or on the chest, rows of chains on the chest, mirmidia from which tiny Turkish coins, pparaoudkia, and coral or glass gems hung, necklaces (kertanedes and skalettes), crosses (including the trifourenos with tiny filigree spheres and coral), earrings, bracelets, and finger rings.
Attire For Men
It was fashioned of thick “thimito,” a handwoven cotton material; they sewed and employed enough pieces to make it tufted. Specialized dyers would color the white trousers black. The pants had folds (prosiasti) at the top, where the lace could be threaded. A form of wick lace known as vrakozoni (fitili).
Dark silk was woven and then hand-stitched by seamstresses to make shirts. Shirts were crafted using more affordable materials. Shirts did not initially have collars, but over time they began to be incorporated.
Similar to the women’s outer garment, the waistcoat or “zimbouni” comes in a few different styles. Unlike regular waistcoats, which were boring gray, this one was adorned with brightly colored needlework. In the city, people wore waistcoats fashioned from wool, velvet, and metal.
The groom wore a black velvet waistcoat with embroidered lions and birds. They wore cotton during the week and silk on the weekend under the waistcoat.
Men wore fezs and side-tied shawls.
Belt or “Zostra”
A woolen belt, typically 8-10 feet in height with woven tassels, and typically black with red stripes. The belt covered the cover and looked fantastic.
A knitted purse or a separate pocketbook was concealed on the belt or girdle (zostra). Although some men wore black knee-high socks year-round, this was the exception rather than the rule.
Wearing underwear that looks like the traditional Cypriot pant style (vraka), but is white and made of cotton or kapok. The legs of the knee-length briefs were lacy. Pants (“vraka”) were 1-2 cm longer if a person opted to reveal their undergarments.
The boots worn by farmers and shepherds were made by shoemakers. A pair of sturdy boots with sharp nails. Some people wore the bulky, laceless “skarpes,” while others did not. The wealthy wore “frangopodines.” Leather, dyeable. Dancers wear this footwear today.
The English once exported thick jackets to Cyprus. Kapottous was the name for these kinds of coats. Caps and hats called “kasketo” were common attire for men. Cashmere hats with linings. Residents of the village covered themselves with black blankets and topped their heads with straw hats. The “rempoublica” or “casque” was the traditional headwear for males.
Men’s finery consisted of a watch, a chain, and a ring, worn only by the rich.
Folk dress is an essential component of Cypriot culture. Its appearance illustrates Cyprus’s historical, trade-economic, and cultural linkages to neighboring and faraway states. Traditional Cypriot attire reflects local qualities and symbolism and borrows from other civilizations.
Casual clothes were usually darker than formal wear. So now you can choose something perfect for your occasion in Cyprus.
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