County of Vlașca, known today as Giurgiu County, is located in the southern part of the historical region of Muntenia, with its capital in the city of Giurgiu. The county’s territory largely encompassed the current area of Giurgiu County, extending into small areas that now belong to Teleorman County. Situated at the country’s border, Vlașca County was a frontier region, bordering Bulgaria (formerly part of the Ottoman Empire) and the Romanian counties of Teleorman, Argeș, Dâmbovița, and Ilfov.
Each ethnographic region of the country presented distinct characteristics in the names and structure of traditional folk costumes. The morphology and functionality of the components of the traditional costume were influenced by various factors, such as geography, economy, and history. The climate played a crucial role in selecting materials for crafting the costume, while local occupations imposed certain types of clothing.
The diversity of the Romanian folk costume was remarkable, with specific pieces for different age groups, genders, seasons, and social statuses. This contributed to an extremely interesting folk creation, expressed through various costume components, rich colors, and ornamentation.
The women’s costume from Vlașca was part of the traditional dress typology of the Danube Plain. The main components were the “ștergar” (headscarf), “cămașa” (shirt), “peșteman” (vest), “catrința” (skirt), and “betele” (belt). The headpieces and the hair styles varied depending on age and social status. For example, girls wore their hair uncovered, but on holidays, they adorned it with “dârdâeci” – artificial fabric flowers. After getting married, the bride transitioned into the married women’s group and wore her hair in a bun at the top of the head, decorated with “chemeleț” or “chemelan”.
The women’s shirt was pleated and had a tight or slightly wider collar. The ornaments were of the “altiță” type, with geometric motifs sewn in rows, and the sleeves and shirt hems were decorated in the same style. Over the shirt, women wore the “peșteman” and “catrința,” both made of black or navy blue wool, sewn with colored borders or horizontal stripes. The “peșteman” had very fine pleats, while the “catrința” was decorated with geometric patterns.
As for man’s costume, during the summer, they wore straw or felt hats, white shirts, “izmene” (trousers), and belts, while in winter, they preferred caps, shirts, “dimie” trousers, “poturi” (coats), “mintean” (a type of waistcoat), and “ipingea” (a large coat with a hood and sleeves, sewn from 4-5 horizontal pieces of fabric). The men’s shirt was of the “cămașa bătrânească” type, straight, with straight sleeves or cuffs. The “izmena” was simple, with two lengths of fabric for each leg, and the “poturi” had a black silk decorative strip called “găitan.”
One notable piece in the men’s costume was the “ipingea,” a spacious and functional garment made of several horizontal pieces of fabric sewn together, with a hood and sleeves. It was especially worn in cold weather or on long journeys and was also used by “surugiii” (cart drivers) in the southern part of the country as a distinctive clothing symbol of their profession.
In conclusion, the popular costume from Vlașca was rich and varied, reflecting the geographical, economic, and cultural characteristics of the region. Each piece had historical and social significance, contributing to a vibrant tableau of traditions and rural identity in this part of Romania. Folk costumes, interior textiles, wooden, and ceramic objects comprised a rich cultural heritage, proudly preserved and passed down from generation to generation.