Friday, December 21, 2012

Men's Costume of Gorenjska, Slovenia

Hello all,
Today I will continue speaking about the costume of Gorenjsko, talking somewhat about the men's outfit.

This is at least as much in the Alpine Tradition as the woman's. It is only very slightly different from that worn in parts of Austria. 

The base is a linen shirt with full sleeves, as is true for almost all folk costumes.
 The cut is very similar to that of the woman's costume, with a shoulder inset on the sides of the body.

 Long linen under-trousers are worn with these, reminiscent of those worn in Spain and similar to those of Croatia.

Over the long linen pants are worn leather knickers, these are knee-length, and are ornamented with green stitching, much like those which are found in Austria. Cloth trousers are worn as well, but leather are preferred. These in the image above are rather short, and are not leather. You will occasionally see men wearing short Bavarian-length lederhosen, but these are not correct. Traditionally they are made of leather from the Red Deer, but in practice, they are made of many types of leather. 

 I see images on Slovenian websites of suspenders attached to these knickers, but I wonder if they are in fact worn because they are never visible in images of men who are dressed. I suspect that they are simply bought that way from Austria. This garment is very practical in the mountains.

 The men wear a silk shawl over their shoulders which are highly ornamented, and very similar to those worn by the women, although often smaller.


Over the shawl they wear a vest. The cut varies slightly, but in general it is made of either a solid color or a material with a small ornament repeated across its surface. It is closed by many silver buttons which crowd the front opening.

 Usually the bottom is cut straight across, but occasionally you see the two points which are typical of western vests.

A few more examples. The vest is the main object of ornament which distinguishes one man from another. Since the shawl is only visible on the upper sleeves under the vest, sometimes they cheat and simply sew a corner or piece of shawl to the vest.

 Very similar vests are worn by the Bunjevci of Vojvodina.

Boots are worn with this costume. They almost always leave the linen undertrousers visible between the boot top and the leather knickers. The boots may be ordinary, or they may have a cuff at the top, which may be ornamented, or occasionally they may be very tall, extending above the knee.

An Alpine style felt hat and pocket-watch on a chain and fob complete the costume.
Oh, and the red umbrella, can't forget that.

 Just a couple more images of this costume.
Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this interesting.

A Slovenian Museum showing individual costume pieces. 

Another site with much good information

A slide show from a children's group in Toronto 

The Croatian National Ensemble performing wedding dances from this region. 

A dance concert in Ljubljana, showing dances from this region. Both the music and the dances are typically Alpine. This group is wearing costumes from the area of Rateče, which is distinct in some details. 

Here is a website, in Slovenian, that has many images of individual costume pieces. These mostly seem to be of recent make, and are sometimes simplified.I believe that you can order costumes and costume pieces made at this website. 

There are many facebook pages devoted to Folk Costume these days.
They are becoming a valuable resource. 

Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals. I also choreograph and teach folk dance.
Roman K.


Source Material:
Marija Makarovic, 'Narodna Nosnja Gorenjsko - Ratece', Zagreb, 1988
Nikola Pantelic, 'Traditional Arts and Crafts in Yugoslavia', Belgrade, 1984
Leposava Zunic-Bas, "Yugoslavia - Ten Voyages', Beograd
Vladimir Salopek, 'Folk Costumes and Dances of Yugoslavia', Zagreb,   1989


  1. Hello Roman,

    I have just discovered your blog this morning and have had a delightful time browsing your posts.

    You might be just the man I have been looking for. I have a beautiful sewing machine that is decorated with designs reminiscent of folk embroidery. Could I ask you to visit my blog, Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing, and look at the post of 25th July? The machine was made in Altenburg, just south of Leipzig, in the mid 1930s. If the design rings bells for you, please let me know.

    Lots of Poles and Ukrainians where I grew up in the Midlands in England. I used to love seeing the Polish dance troupes at garden fetes in the summer.

    Happy New Year,

  2. Hello Muv,

    A beautiful machine. It does not really resemble embroidery of the area, rather it shows a strong resemblance to ceramic tile ornament from Uzbekistan and neighboring areas. Especially the large blue 'flower'. I imagine it was made during the Arts and Crafts period, when Chinoiserie was all the rage.
    I like your blog. It is good to see people who appreciate items of beauty from the past.

  3. The architecture and creating methods and of costumes are really getting astonishment for me.such a wonderful creation.Really nice.
    Buy T shirts

  4. I would like to place an order. My husband plays traditional Slovenian music on the accordion and I would like to get him some authentic clothing. This looks perfect! How can I place an order? Thank you

  5. Renee, there are a few seamstresses and cobblers that still do sew these types of costumes in Slovenia. I will gladly share who they are, if you are interested.

    1. I would like to find sources for some of the Slovenian (Gorenjski) costume pieces that would be difficult to make or purchase in the US. Also, do you know of a source for the red umbrellas with stripes that are so common in Gorenjski folklore? - Lederhudler.

    2. Hello,
      thank you for reading.
      As for the men's costume pieces, the easiest thing is to order them from Austria.
      They are very similar to southern Austrian men's costumes, and in Austria they can be bought off the rack or online at websites like these.
      i would recommend getting the leather knickers and vests from them.
      There likely are costume makers in Ljubljana, but I have no contacts for them.

      As for the red Umbrella, they are also part of the costume of Zagreb
      and here is a web page for them.

      Roman K

  6. What is the traditional outfit worn by the men in the villages in Padilla valley and where I can get hold one of these outfits.

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  8. Where can I buy a Slovenian vest for my husband? We could not find a place when we were in Slovenia. We live in California (United States).

    Lucille Mlakar