Romanian dress refers to the traditional clothing worn by Romanians, who live primarily in Romania and Moldova, with smaller communities in Ukraine and Serbia. Today, a strong majority of Romanians wear Western-style dress on most occasions, and the garments described here largely fell out of use during the 20th century. However, they can still be seen in more remote areas, on special occasions, and at ethnographic and folk events. Each historical region has its own specific variety of costume.
Romanian traditional clothing can be classified according to seven traditional regions.These can be further subdivided by ethnographic zones, which may range between 40 and 120, depending on the criteria used:
The western plains: Câmpia Mureșului Inferior ; Câmpia Crișurilor (Crișul Negru, Crișul Alb, Crișul Repede); Câmpia Someșului inferior (Țara Oașului)
Banat, including Lunca Timișului and Caraș-Severin.
Valahia, including Oltenia și Muntenia.
The lower Danube, including Bărăgan, Dobrogea and southern Moldova.
Moldova, including Basarabia, Bucovina and Transnistria.
Balcans or Romanians of the Balcanic peninsula, which can be further subdivided into four areas
The Daco-Romanians along the borders: Cadrilater (Bulgaria),Timoc (north-western Bulgaria and eastern Serbia), Voivodina/Serbian Banat and in Ukraine (especially around Cernăuți and Odesa)
Istroromanians in Istria, Croatia
Macedoromanians (or “aromanians”) in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia.
Meglenoromanians in Greece and Macedonia.
The structure of Romanian traditional clothing has remained unchanged throughout history and can be traced back to the earliest times. The basic garment for both men and women is a shirt or chemise (ie). This was tied round the waist using a fabric belt, narrow for women and wider for men. The cut of this basic chemise is similar for men and women. In the past those worn by women usually reached to the ankles while men’s shirts were shorter and worn over trousers or leggings made from strips of fabric. Women always wear an apron over the chemise (fotă). This was initially a single piece of cloth wrapped round the lower part of their bodies and secured by a belt at the waist, as is still seen in the east and south east of Romania. In Transylvania and the south west of Romania this became two separate aprons, one worn at the back and one at the front.
Men’s traditional clothing throughout Romania comprises a white shirt (cămasă), white trousers, hat, belt, waistcoat and or overcoat. Local differences are indicated by shirt length, type of embroidery, trouser cut, hat shape, or waistcoat decoration. In most areas shirts are worn outside trousers, which is the older style. This is a basic Balkan man’s costume largely uninfluenced by fashions from west or east. Hungarian and Saxon men living in Romania wear trousers with a more modern cut often made of dark material rather than white. This reflects their closer ties, and more frequent communication, with the west.