Ottoman Clothing

I wrote a line last week in The Sultan’s Enchanter: ”

“The man’s beard was long and tangled, cap and shoes missing, without vest or sash over his stained shirt and breeches.”

Oh. My. Blob, but that sentence took a lot of research. What would a disheveled 1520s Bulgarian merchant look like? What would he be wearing or not wearing? How would I translate those words from the perspective of another Bulgarian-speaker? How would I translate those words from the perspective of a Turkish speaker? I spent the last two weeks on the problem, and this is what I got:

Bulgarian Ottoman-era clothing (early 1500s, Thracian region)

Elek (from Turkish yelek) = a vest (sleeveless, woolen, usually red or green, worn over a riza)

Kalpak (from Turkish kalpak) = a cap (conical, sheepskin, usually black)

Pafti (from Turkish pafta)= belt buckles (palm-sized, circular or comma-shaped, metal. Always in pairs.)

Poturi (from Turkish potur) = breeches (usually black, woolen homespun, held up by a drawstring, baggy and gathered in at the knees)

Poyas (from Russian poyasok, a belt)= a sash (wool, usually black)

Prestilka (lit. “shrink-feminine”) = an apron (woolen, usually red, tied behind the back, extending from waist to ankles, worn over a sukman)

Riza (from Greek chreiázo, “I need it”) = a shirt (cotton, white, long sleeved, extending from neck to waist, worn under a woman’s sukman or a man’s elek)

Sukman = a dress (sleeveless, woolen homespun, usually red, low cut, extending to ankles, worn over shirt)

Tsarvuli (from Greek tsaroúchia)= sandals (mocassin-like, made of calf-leather)

Zabradka (lit. “for-chin-feminine”)= a headscarf (worn by both Muslim and Christian women)

Turkish Ottoman-Era clothing (1520s, Istanbul region)

Başörtüsü (lit. “head-cover”)= a headscarf (worn by both Muslim and Christian women)

Börk = a janissary hat (black velvet band topped by a green wool broadcloth band, with a rectangle of white felt rising above the head and folded in a “tail” down the back to the neck)

Çizme = boots (knee high, leather)

Entari = a caftan (rather like a gown with sleeves down to the elbow or wrist, ankle-length, fitted at the waist, worn by men and women over gömlek. Longer than a zıbın.)

Ferace = an over-coat (worn outside by women over hırka or entari. Unfitted, hanging from throat to ankles)

Gömlek = a shirt (sheer silk, cotton, or linen. Flowing, long, full sleeves, draping from shoulders to to mid-calf or ankle like a shift or chemise. Worn by men and women under entari, hırka, or zıbın)

Hırka = a coat (light, worn by women, knee-length, buttoned from bust to waist, leaving skirts open)

Kalpak = a cap (conical, felt, often red)

Kaşıklık = a spoon-holder (a half-pipe of wood rounded at one end and plated in metal, worn in janissaries’ hats, symbolizes solidarity, may also hold feathers for ceremonial occasions)

Kuşak = a belt (worn by men and women, buckled around the waist)

Mintan = a short jacket (long sleeves, covering only the ribs, worn by men over a gömlek)

Pafta (from Persian bāfte) = a buckle

Potur = breeches (baggy, gathered at the knees)

Şalvar = pants (baggy, gathered at the ankles. The term in the 16th century was probably çakşır or don, but şalvar is the modern term for this kind garment.)

Sarık = a turban

Yelek = a vest (hip-length, worn by the poor)

Yemeni = a shoe (leather, light weight)

Zıbın = a jacket (hip-length, fitted, worn by men or women over a gömlek. Shorter than an entari.)

Most of this information comes from for Bulgarians (Thracian region) and for Ottomans. If I’ve made any mistakes, please let me know.


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