Albanian Traditional Costumes

Albanian Traditional Costumes are the traditional clothing worn by the Albanians. Like the other Balkan countries, Albania has its own branch of clothing. There are more than 200 different kinds of traditional costumes in Albania, which is due to the division the Albanian principals in Ancient Times and the Middle Ages. Almost every region in Albania has its own way of traditional dressing.

The fustanella, or Albanian kilt, was common dress for men until the 1400s. Fustanella was a significant component of traditional Greek and Albanian dress, originated in this region and the ancestors of the Arvanites – an Orthodox Christian Albanian-speaking Greek-identifying community in Greece migrated from this region to present-day Greece in the Middle Ages. Common villagers and rural people of Albania wore a fustanella made from coarse linen or wool; more affluent men wore silk. Fustanella is part of traditional Albanian, Greek and Macedonian dress, adopted by the Royal Guard of Albania (1924–1939). Fustanella is very heavy, dagger-proof, and practical for scrambling over rocky terrains of Albania.

When Albania was ruled by the Ottoman Empire (1468-1912), many aspects of Turkish culture were adopted by Albanians. In rural areas of Albania, men may still wear the fez, a traditional Turkish cap, and a colorful cloth belt. Women may wear embroidered blouses in the Turkish style, with loose pants /shalvaras/. A man’s costume from Malesia (Malcija Vogel area) consists of close-fitting woolen trousers with black cord trim, an apron of wool with a leather belt buckled over it, and a silk jacket with long dull red sleeves with white stripes. A long sleeveless coat may be worn over the jacket along with an outer, short-sleeved jacket (dzurdin). The head and neck may be covered with a white cloth.

Traditional women costume of southern Albania features a blouse with wide cuffs in fabric to match an embroidered vest. A pleated petticoat is worn under a full skirt, and an elaborately embroidered apron and sash complete the outfit. Gold chains cascade from the neckline, are gathered into the sash, and are tucked into a pocket at the right side of the skirt. A kerchief covers the woman’s hair.

In the north of Albania, the sleeves of the blouse are wide, with lace embroidery along the edges. Embroidery on the apron is elaborate, but distinct from the style of southern Albanian women. Gold coins are worn on a headband and on several strands of necklace that adorn the bodice (upper part) of the dress.

In cities of Albania conservative Western-style dress is more common. Albanians are modest, however. Neither men nor women of Albania wear shorts or other revealing clothing. Traditional clothing is seen mostly at theatrical or folk dance performances in Albanian cities.