Men’s trousers

Trousers worn with belodreshnik

The style of trousers worn with the older style white dress (belodreshnik) depends on the season. The oldest style of winter trousers were two separate leggings made of pieces of cloth tied on round the waist called nogavitsi or novoushta. These developed into long, narrow tight fitting woollen trousers called benevretsi which were made of fulled white homespun woollen cloth (aba). These were ankle length and in some areas of the northwest were decorated with black braiding.

Shorter winter trousers called dimii were found in central north Bulgaria. Dimii reached just below the knee and had wide legs, which were decorated at the lower edge with binding, appliqué work, and embroidery. The lower leg was covered with leg wraps (known in this area as dizove or kaltsi).

Summer trousers worn with belodreshnik were made of hemp, linen or later cotton, and were wider than winter trousers. These were also known as benevretsi, or dimii, or cheshiri, or bechvi. In the northwest, these had short wide legs cut above boot level.

Trousers worn with chernodreshnik

The dark woollen trousers (poturi) worn with black dress (chernodreshnik) were baggy at the hips and tight from the knee. These trousers were very wide at the waist, with many folds gathered in at the waist using a cord, the more pleats and fuller the poturi, the richer the man. The cut of these trousers narrowed towards the knees, then was tight below the knees. They were made from thick woollen fabric produced in craft workshops in urban centres, In the north east this style of trousers were originally made of white woollen cloth, although elsewhere the natural beige-brown colour of wool was preserved, or the fabric was dyed back dark blue or brown.

Poturi can be richly decorated with braid along the seams and around the pockets. Local differences occur in the techniques of decoration. Similar shaped trousers were found both further east in the Ottoman Empire and across the Danube in south east Romania.

Very wide baggy trousers worn by richer men were called shalvari. These were made of woollen material and were braided around the seams, edges and pocket openings. Muslim women also wore shalvari made from thinner material. In certain villages in the north east women wear ankle length trousers of different cut to shalvari which are considered to have Proto-Bulgar origins.

In some areas trousers styles represented a transitional phase between the white and dark trousers. White trousers were still found in some western parts of Bulgaria and in the far south east (Sakar mountains) in 1910 or even later. Trousers called dimii in Svishtov region, or burdentsi in Pavlikeni, were made of natural colour, dark blue or black woollen cloth, and were decorated with braid along legs, and around pockets.

Published on 7th June 2018