Traditional Ukrainian Clothing – This Is What Ukrainians Used To Wear

Some of the pieces are making a come-back…

Aviavlad (CC0), Pixabay

Each nation has its traditional clothing, which possesses inherent features received from its ancestors. This is not just clothing, but an invaluable heritage of the country, an integral part of its rich history, customs, and traditions. The spiritual symbol of the Ukrainian people from time immemorial was a beautiful vyshyvanka. It is an individual attribute of Ukrainians, regardless of where they are from the corner of our Motherland.

Ukrainian ancestors treated the embroidered clothing with great respect. Mothers and women decorate shirts by sewing patterns for their husbands and children, giving attention to each symbol because they all have a definite meaning. Relatives endowed embroidery with extraordinary power, believing that this sacrament fulfills the destiny of a man.


Embroidery fills its owner with health, spiritual and physical beauty, light and love. After all, each embroidered element that adorns a Ukrainian shirt carries a magic value and gives its master a particular force, protects it. Viburnum means beauty and continuation of the genus, oak – strength and life, roses – passionate love, colorfulness – fidelity, poppy – youth and protection from evil, and sunflower – a symbol of the sun, light, and labor. The shirt is embroidered with colored threads provides the owner with healing power. As for the arrangement of patterns on a shirt, they should be better focused on collars, sleeves, and cuffs, that is, in places where clothing is most closely adjacent to the body.

A prerequisite for embroidering a shirt is the bright and clean thoughts of the master. With each stitch or cross, embroidery embraces a piece of human soul. Good and sincere thoughts are expressed in an embroidered shirt, creating a magic amulet for the one to whom it is assigned. The embroidered shirt is something sacred, spiritual, and secretive. The first embroidery played not so much the function of clothing, as, according to beliefs, protected their owners from evil. In embroidery, Ukrainian ancestors of various colors and patterns learned to encrypt a kind fate, happiness, joy, love, wealth.

Mothers embroidered shirts for children so that their future was bright and carefree. Each girl should have stitched a shirt for her future husband.
Embroidery clothes were worn both on weekdays and on holidays. The best shirts were dressed, of course, “to the exit”, during the weekends or holidays. Talented embroiderers crossed the ornaments from grandmothers’ chests, often competing with each other – who would do better until the next holiday, and then proudly boasted with their unique masterpieces at the festive temple liturgies.  Grandmothers knew a lot of secrets of ancient crafts. There are about hundreds of “embroidery techniques” in Ukraine!

Today, many well-known Ukrainian designers are very successful in playing with traditional clothes, presenting beautiful examples of their creativity in a country and in the whole world. The national technicolor continues to inspire and foreign designers who create more and more variants of interpretations.
In the wardrobe of a modern Ukrainian, there is also an embroidered vest, not even one. Appearing to the public in embroidered clothes is also very popular in our time. Of course, the majority will choose the embroidered shirt on Independence Day. But is everyone, wearing embroidery, understands the meaning of this garment?

So, embroidery – is what connects Ukrainians with ancestors. Vyshyvanka – not just an element of the wardrobe, is the genetic code of each Ukrainian. And it is precious that the culture is rich in such different ornaments and decorations. Of course, the wearing of such a shirt binds to a specific behavior. It is hard to imagine that a person swears in embroidery, or is rude to somebody. On the contrary – a man is spiritually elevated, a festive appearance is modest and friendly. Because his clothing is a successor of the traditions, customs, historical and cultural continuity of the people. Embroidery is a strong sign, one of the brightest manifestations of Ukrainian uniqueness in the world. That is why it is so popular now in all parts of Ukraine.

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