With Turkey’s long history of Eastern and Western influences, it makes sense that the variation of styles, fabrics and colours found in the clothing here is as diverse as its culture. In the ‘sight’ edition of our 5 Senses of Turkey line-up, we take a closer look at how traditional dress in this fascinating region has developed over time.
The outfits of the Ottoman Empire
Intricate embroidery, multi-coloured fabrics and long, dramatic robes – the styles that defined the days of the Ottoman Empire are arguably the most recognisable in Turkey’s history. During this period, dress depending mostly on a person’s way of living (settled or nomadic), their wealth and their marital status.
Women’s clothing could be anything from ferace (grey and black dresses that covered most of the body) to brightly coloured, extravagantly patterned dresses that were seen as exotic and fashionable. Both men and women would wear decorated headwear and jewellery and the styling of the hair was a very important part of the outfit. For example, in the Yokur and Türkoman villages, woman’s hairstyle would tell whether she was engaged, married or widowed.
Fabrics and colours
To keep cool in the heat of a Turkish summer, clothes would usually be made from cotton, wool and silk. The spectacular motives that were often weaved into the clothes with intricate gold and silver threads were influenced by the early Byzantine Empire along with luxurious jewelled embroidery and gold cloth.
The Evil Eye
The evil eye remains one of the most recognisable symbols in the world and is used across a number of nations and cultures. The widespread use of the evil eye is as a stone bead which protects its owner from evil look and can be seen on Turkish clothing and jewellery throughout the ages worn by men, women and children.
The Turkish wedding dress
Before marriage, young girls in Turkey would have to wear plain dresses in muted colours. So when their wedding day finally arrived they would have free reign to be as decadent and brightly coloured as they wished. Up until the 1870s, bridal gowns would be red, purple, blue or pink – red for the especially wealthy daughters or sisters of the sultans. However, under the European influence, the colours changed to pastels and later to white only. The dresses were still heavily embroidery for such a special occasion, but would vary in different regions.
Read for about the 5 senses of Turkey below:-