Men’s hats

Sheepskin hats – căciulă (pl. căciuli)

Sheepskin hat

Căciulă are worn all over Romania and in most of the surrounding Balkan countries in winter. Fur hats are made by furriers and are most often black, although white căciulă are worn in parts of Banat and grey in central and north Moldavia.

There are four types of căciulă found in Romania.

  1. High conical cap căciulă țuguiată, moțată. This is made of four pieces joined together lengthwise. It can be worn peaked, with top bent forward, back or sideways, or with top sunk inwards, depending on local fashion. It is worn in Moldavia, Muntenia, Oltenia and Banat, originally by the “free men”. In the Banat Mountains the cap is sometimes worn with fur inside and a narrow white fur hem at base.
  2. Round low cap known as cușmă rotilată in Maramureș, consisting of two parts, a long band forming a cylinder and a round top sewn to the upper edge of the cylinder.
  3. Caps made of a single piece of fur are also found in Maramureș and Oaș. These are made by stretching the raw fur on a spherical wooden shaped block which makes it take the shape of the head. This simple “skull” cap was formally worn by serfs.
  4. Căciulă joasă cylindrical fur cap with the top larger than the base. This is called “mocănească, rotată, retezată, or turtită and is worn by shepherds on both sides of the southern Carpathians (in Mărginimea Sibiului, Oltenia, Muntenia, and Vrancea, and also in Câmpia Bărăganului and Dobrogea due to this area being used for summer pastures by the Carpathian shepherds), and also in Maramureș.

Felt hats – pălărie (pl. pălăriidin fetru

Felt hat

Hard felt hats are made by specialised craftsmen in workshops and are worn throughout the year. These hats are found centred on the Saxon regions around Sibiu and Bistrița and may have been introduced into Transylvania, by the Saxons, whose craftsmen made them in workshops.

The style varies widely in shape and size of brim according to area. The wide brimmed hat appeared around 17th-19th Century and felt hats with broad brims up to 60cm were worn in the 19th & early 20th century, and continued to be worn in Valea Bistriței, Moldavia until the 1940s. Hats with 40cm brims were worn in central Transylvania and Muntenia. Felt hats with hard upturned brims – cu găng – were worn in Crișana, Hunedoara and Bucovina following a fashion of the gentry. Wide brimmed felt hats with a large peacock feather (Roată de păun) are still worn in Năsăud .

Small brim felt hat

Further south the hats are much reduced in size, shepherds in Sibiu and along the southern Carpathians wear felt hats with very small brims, the present day fashion tending to do away with the brim altogether.

Green “trilby” style hats worn by Romanian border guards and mountain corps are still found in Pădureni and other areas today. This style originated in the Austrian Tyrol, and reached Romania during Habsburg rule, and became international due to the Habsburg’s preference for wearing Tyrolese costume for hunting throughout their Empire. This style is now widespread for everyday use.

Straw hats – pălărie de paie

Maramureș straw hat

Straw hats are worn by men (and women) throughout Romania in the summer.  Straw hats vary in style from region to region although regional differences are now becoming less common as the straw version of the trilby takes over.

In Maramureş traditional straw hats (clop, pl. clopuri) are very small, while in Satu Mare, Arad, Câmpia Transylvania hats have a high crown, the tallest, around 30cm, are found in Codru. In Oltenia and Teleorman along the Danube, flat brimmed straw hats with rounded crown are worn. In Maramureș and Țara Oașului men also often wear their clopuri in the winter.


Oaș region straw hat

Felt and straw hats are decorated for holidays and festive occasions with flowers, strings of beads (Moldavia, Năsăud), large woollen tassels (Făgăraș), gold thread cord (Apuseni mountains), small copper chains (Transylvania plain), peacock or peasant feathers (Moldavia, Muntenia, Transylvania), ribbons and peacock or ostrich feather (Țara Oașului). The most spectacular hats worn by young men in Năsăud are decorated with a semicircle of peacock feathers up to 60cm in diameter.

Region Summary
Banat White căciulă
Crișana Black felt hats with turned up brims
Maramureș Small brimmed black felt or straw hat worn called clop
Oaș Clop made of felt or straw decorated with necklaces (zgărdane) and ostrich or peacock feather
Codru Very high straw hats
North Transylvania
Năsăud Wide brimmed black felt hats with Roată de păun – a semicircle of peacock feathers up to 65cm in diameter
South Transylvania
Sibiu and southern Carpathian shepherds Black felt hats with very small brim, or shepherds căliculă particular to sheep breeders, wider at top than bottom
Țara Hațegului, Munții Apuseni Wide brimmed hat with brim tuned under
Hunedoara Black felt hats with turned up brims
Hațeg Tall căliculă
Oltenia Căciulă or black felt hat.
Gorj and Dolj Older style căciulă is cylindical, more recently conical căciulă are worn.
Vâlcea Cylindrical căciulă worn with top turned in.
Muntenia Căciulă or black felt hat.
Dobrogea  Cylidrical or circular căciulă or felt hat with raised brim
Moldavia – North
Bucovina Black felt hat with turned up brims
Iași Older style  very wide brimmed black felt hat
Suceava, Valea Bistriței Wide brimmed hat with brim tuned under
Moldavia – Central & South
Central Moldavia Wide brimmed black felts hat
Central and north Moldavia Grey căciulă
Published on 1st December 2017, last modified on 25th February 2018