Russia is not only a landmass giant, but also unique in its geographical location and hence, the way of life of its people and their homogeneous dress and food.
Russia is a vast nation, and hence, the kind of clothing that one would notice in the dedicated stores of Moscow would naturally be quite different to that found in Siberia. Leather is a fetish in Russia. Lined with fur, the look has become synonymous with Russian clothing. In general, traditional Russian men like to flaunt leather a lot. In fact, till today, no matter what the time of the year is, a leather jacket is a cool thing to have! Russian women wear dresses or long skirts and blouses and love to flaunt high heels.
There is a distinct difference in the color and theme preference of the Russian men and women; while the men do not usually like flaunting bright colors in clothing, the women do. The men prefer sober, earthy tones and prefer to keep the look ‘calm’. Many Russians find black and white being very elegant.
Russians pick dark colors mainly due to the amount of dust and mud around and this is a practical choice that runs down the generations. The Russians wear different colors on occasions too; however the colors they choose seem to tell of their lifestyle! There is no hiding the fact that the Russians work very hard and their down-to-earth demeanor is seen in their clothing too.
The colors often seen on Russian men and women tell of their occupation and lifestyle. The colors are from a different scale. The rest of the world is used to people wearing blue, red, yellow and even pink. However, when it comes to shocking and deep shades, only the Russians know how to flaunt them. And the beauty of these people lies in the fact that the shades of colors look different on them and even more natural! The normal fabrics they choose are also to complement the climatic conditions. They use a lot of wool and linen during winter, furs are reasonably a natural choice.
A shirt like long-sleeved garment that is mid-thigh long, known as a kosovorotka is the traditional Russian shirt. Unlike a normal shirt, it has buttons at the collar, slightly off-center, which are unfastened and the shirt is worn by pulling it over the head. The word kosovorotka is used to denote just any kind of shirt. Though there are separate shirts for children and women, kosovorotka are considered to be men’s shirts. Widely worn by peasants and townsfolk till the early 20th century, today it has become the mainstay in Russian song dance and folk music ensembles and as souvenirs.
The traditional dress for women folk is called sarafan, it is a plain jumper-like long dress much like a pinafore. This dress is of single piece and has no sleeves but thin straps at the shoulders which were decorated with ribbons, gold or silver thread and made stiffer. and were decorated with ribbons, gold or silver thread or buttons. Usually it is worn over a traditional off white or bright-colored Russian blouse. A typical sarafan had a woven belt at the waist that had beads or bells and was either of printed or plain material. It is still popular as a summer-time light dress, though worn without the blouse. For festivities or special occasions silk or fine linen was used for the sarafan.
Utter the name Russia and the image of snow, fur coat, and fur cap springs to one’s mind. The most popular headgear that keeps Russians warm during the cold, snowy days is known as the ushanka. They are fur caps with ear flaps, that can be tied on the top of the cap or worn down over the ears. An ushanka is the best protective headgear in the harsh Russian winter and testament to it is the fact that they became a part of winter uniform for military and police not only in Russia but many other western countries, such as Canada and the United States, as well. The massively popular modern-type ushanka are generally made from rabbit fur or sheepskin.
Till the beginning of the 20th century, the traditional footwear of Russian peasants were shoes made from the bark of the linden tree or birch tree. These shoes known as Bast shoes, were hand-woven that fitted according to the shape of a foot and were primarily worn during the summer. Today, bast shoes are seen only as part of ethnic costumes or dance troupe costumes and are majorly sold as souvenirs. Valenki, or felt boots, are the traditional Russian winter footwear and are associated with traditional rustic style. They are primarily worn during severe frost or when other shoes don’t keep out the cold. Valenki boots worn with galoshes (overshoes) are popular in urban areas and are usually worn by little kids.
Symbolism of Russian Clothing
Russian clothing is a show of the traditional folk art and the spirit of the culture of Russia. Traditional Russian clothing is designed to highlight the inner dignity and emotional restraint of every woman. The traditional Russian costumes are not only beautiful, but also very convenient, being specially created for work. The variety of colors used in the traditional costumes display ethnic diversity and it is interesting to note that the Russian word for “beautiful” comes from “krasny”, which is Russian for “red”!
The fashion trends followed in the capital city of Moscow are quite close to those observed in Europe or New York though they are lagging behind maybe by about 10 years. An aspect frequently observed by foreigners is that Russians are dazzling and each dress that they wear seems to be prepared for going out. Russians are fast developing their own fashion culture and regard casual style as wearing bright unusual clothes to show their personality, it is the way of feeling comfortable for lots of Muscovites.
Russian fashion is distinctively different. There are a number of authentic and dedicated online and offline resources that make designer Russian clothing available. In fact, the easiest way to learn more about Russian clothing and purchase authentic apparel is just a click away! Most of the apparel found in other parts of the world, claiming to be Russian, is usually decorated with traditional Russian motifs.