Styles and models of dresses

What is unusual about the Russian sarafan?

What is unusual about the Russian sarafan?
  1. Peculiarities
  2. A bit of history
  3. Who is it for?
  4. Varieties
  5. Popular colors
  6. Modern tendencies
  7. What to wear with?
  8. Shoes
  9. Accessories

Every nation has traditional national dress. For Russian women, such clothing is a shirt with a sundress. Simultaneously with an increase in interest in the ethnic style and history of their country, Russian sundresses have become the object of attention of fashion designers these days. Let's find out more about such clothing and its use in the past and in modern wardrobe.


The traditional sundress is characterized by a straight, free cut. Great freedom of movement in such clothes was provided by inserts between the details of the product. The contour of the Russian sarafan can be called smooth and very soft. This was especially noticeable on the move.

Traditional Russian sarafan

In addition, the characteristic features of the sundress are:

  • Considerable length of the skirt.
  • Long sleeves.
  • Layering of the outfit.
  • The original decor in the form of complex bright ornaments.
  • Large weight of the outfit.

A bit of history

Until the 16th century, a sundress was called a long clothing for men, and only later this name passed to women's clothing, which was either worn over the head or buttoned in the front.

Russian men's sundress

Since the 18th century, the Russian sarafan has changed, which is associated with the reforms of Peter I, introducing a European-style costume into Russian society. Sundresses continued to be worn only by the bourgeoisie, merchants and peasants.

Such traditional clothes lasted the longest among the peasants, therefore it was the peasant version of the sundress that concentrated all the typical features of this element of the Russian costume.

 Russian modern sarafan in ethnic style

Who is it for?

In a Russian sundress, a woman of any size and any age will look attractive and original. Due to the free cut, such clothing does not restrict movement and completely hides any flaws in the figure.


Sundresses in Russian folk costume were represented by the following main types:

  1. Tunic-like sundress with no middle seam. Such an outfit was also called deaf, since it was sewn from a single piece of cloth and side inserts. This type of sundress is the most ancient. The front cutout was usually small, rectangular or round. It also often had a small slit that had ties or a button fastening. Cloth, canvas and other homespun cloths were used to sew deaf sundresses. Along the hem, armholes and neckline, the items were trimmed with red paper, painted canvas, applique or embroidery in the form of narrow stripes.
  2. The oblique model. For sewing such a sundress, one solid back cloth, two straight front cloths and oblique side wedges were used. The front canvases could be sewn or fastened with lace loops or metal buttons. For such sundresses, both homespun linens and factory fabrics were used. They were sewn from brocade, taffeta, Chinese fabric, velvet, canvas fabrics, silk, kumach, wool and other materials. Some of these sundresses had a dense lining, sometimes quilted. Textile ribbons or strips of kumach were used to decorate everyday versions of the kosoklinny sarafan, and festive outfits were trimmed with braid, braid, silk ribbons, fringe or metal lace.
  3. Direct model. This sundress, which was also called Moscow or round, became the most common model in the 19th century. In the manufacture of such a sundress, straight panels were used, which were collected in small folds in the upper part. Straight sundresses were made mainly from factory fabrics. For the straps, the same fabric was used as for the skirt, or it was replaced with braid. The hem of such an outfit was decorated with ribbons or lace.
  4. Model with a bodice. Such a sundress had a fitted bodice, to which straight panels were sewn to create a voluminous skirt. Such clothing was common in the central part of the country. Also singled out separately were sundresses, in which the bodice was on a yoke.

The main and derived types of Russian sundresses are presented in the following figure.

Types of Russian sundresses

Popular colors

The characteristic features of the female Russian costume are multicolor and a kind of ornament. The favorite color for sundresses was red. This is the color that wedding sundresses had.

Wedding red Russian sundress

White sundresses with golden patterns looked gorgeous.

 Russian white sundress with gold patterns

Also in the colors of the sundress there were shades of blue, brown, black, orange, brown and yellow. Older women were more likely to wear a blue or black sundress.

Modern tendencies

Designers now quite often use Russian folk costume as a creative basis for their collections. They add elements of the Russian sundress to modern clothing.

Traditional models of sundresses are also gaining popularity, which are bought for thematic events, children's matinees or festivals.

Nowadays, Russian sundresses correspond to the constructive forms that were used for sewing such clothes in the past. Modern costumes are trimmed with folk embroidery, presented in different quantities. It can only serve as an accent and an interesting decor, or it can abundantly decorate a product.

White Russian sundress in ethnic style

What to wear with?

In the past, a sundress was worn with a long shirt, which was most often white. Now, under a sundress, they also wear mainly a shirt with long sleeves decorated with embroidery, but sometimes it is replaced with a white blouse. In winter, the Russian sarafan is worn with a fur coat or a warm jacket.


Summer models of the Russian sundress are worn with braided sandals. In cool weather, boots are ideal for such an outfit.


All jewelry and other accessories are selected taking into account the event in connection with which the Russian sundress is worn.

Accessories and jewelry for the Russian sundress

Both short and long beads, bright metal or plastic bracelets and earrings, ribbons, as well as knitted bags made in ethnic style are suitable for such clothes. A stylish addition to the Russian sundress is a lace kokoshnik.

1 comment

I want a red Russian sundress for a photo shoot. There are such beautiful models!


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