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How do we integrate pieces from the Romanian folk costume into modern outfits?

Whether we are talking about ii and catrințe , belts and breastplates , ilice and scarves, the pieces of the folk costume represent essential aspects of the Romanian cultural heritage and are a way to express your identity, belonging, family traditions.

Their beauty and originality belong , equally, to the simple design of the cuts, to the vibrant or natural colors , to the symbolism of the embroideries . The same elements suggest that they are a type of clothing that should be worn rarely, kept for special events or just left as a legacy.

In reality, we should not limit the wearing of pieces inspired by traditional Romanian clothing to special occasions, culturally specific events or religious holidays. Personal preferences are more important than trends these days, and dress codes are permissive enough to include any style, even stylistic experiments! To all this, I also add the need for versatility and sustainability of the pieces in your wardrobe: each of them (and as many as possible) should be able to be matched with as many other pieces and accessories as you have, to be able to be styled in multiple ways ways (from classic and modern to romantic or sporty) and, just as importantly, to be worn frequently and long after purchase.

So how do you integrate pieces inspired by folk wear into modern outfits? How do you create an outfit that has both a harmonious, contemporary and elegant presence while showing respect for our cultural heritage?

Choose the right piece

The styling of this type of traditional clothing always begins with the choice based on quality and authenticity criteria. In addition to checking the quality of the fabric itself, the occasion of purchase can be a time when you explore your family history (choose embroideries from your family's area of ​​origin), look for recommendations about local artisans or designers recognized for reinterpreting folk costume and, not at all neglected, you decide what kind of coat you want to choose and how versatile you want it to be. The more versatile it is, the easier it will be for you to accessorize it modernly and wear it more often.

For example, a blouse can be worn with jeans or wide trousers ,

and a pleated skirt goes well with a short t-shirt (crop top),

and with an elegant blouse . An embroidered vest also fits over a knitted dress, and with some loose jeans, a leggings and necklaces of different sizes.

Regardless of your style or the chosen piece, another quality criterion is choosing the right size for you and a cut that benefits your body.

Last but not least, because above we mentioned the respect shown to the cultural heritage, look for models that remain faithful to traditional clothing . The further a piece departs from the classic design, the less believable and the more tacky the reinterpretation becomes.

Pair a traditional piece with another modern piece (or accessory).

This stage requires, on the one hand, a minimum familiarity with the fashion of recent years and, on the other, an open attitude towards stylistic experimentation .

For example: the combination of a dress-shirt with embroidery taken from Romanian folklore motifs and sports shoes or the overlay of a catrina over fabric cigarette pants. This balance between a traditional-popular style and a modern design gives originality to your outfits, without losing the appreciation given to the Romanian port.

You can add very modern accessories and jewelry to these outfits: large and visible earrings, multiple rings and minimalist bracelets, envelope bags with contemporary design, colorful footwear, masculine or from the sports register. Be careful that what you add to the outfit is not ostentatious, opulent or cheap-looking (plastic , too glossy or shiny finish, poor quality materials)

Accessorize in moderation

It is the styling gesture that not only completes and completes the outfit, but can radically change its level of good taste, degree of update and stylistic register. When you decide to wear an outfit that includes original or reinterpreted pieces of popular wear, it's important that the accessorizing is simple, effective and contemporary (without being avant-garde or "trendy").

It is equally important that the accessories do not burden the outfit - neither visually nor quantitatively -, nor overshadow it. My recommendation is to choose only one spectacular or special accessory, and the rest to be discreet or neutral.

A counterexample (negative, obviously) is that, starting from a richly embroidered blouse and matched with a long black skirt , you add to the outfit a crown with large and multi-colored flowers, and visible earrings, and an embroidered belt, and colorful shoes and , at the end, to add a strongly contoured make-up. Do you still know the expression with "sorcova"? To such outfits it refers.

Pay attention to fit and fit

In fact, it is a universally valid recommendation, which I have already mentioned. Any clothes you bring to your wardrobe should respect your current size (not the one you wanted, nor the one you had a long time ago), and the cut line should harmonize with your body shape and proportions. Otherwise, no matter how beautiful the piece you bought is, it will either put you at a disadvantage or make you uncomfortable.

For example, a dress with shoulders decorated with bows or ribbons and with a belt gathered in the middle is feminine, elegant and suitable for all silhouettes. And it will sit beautifully on your body... as long as it fits you properly across the bust, doesn't cinch in at the waist, and doesn't require you to constantly adjust the bows! The noble design of a garment needs to be balanced by its comfort, and its beauty to be equal to the freedom felt by the body that wears it.

Play with layering

The modernity of an outfit can also be achieved by using this styling technique in layers, not only through accessories.

For example, you can add a long velvet or fabric vest over a blouse with wide sleeves , and under a dress with an embroidered chest you can wear a lace bodysuit , a denim shirt or fine leggings. The result is outfits that impress aesthetically, but are also practical (especially in the cold season, when we care about thermal comfort). You can also layer a delicate frock over an oversized masculine jacket, or an embroidered belt over an elegant jumpsuit that, in turn, has been layered over a blouse ie.

The play of overlays brings another dimension to the outfit, can emphasize the differences in textures and surfaces (when the outfit is not colored) and helps to make the outfit adaptable according to the occasion and/or weather conditions.

Experiment with designs, prints, embroidery and colors

The folk inspired pieces are known for the simplicity of the design, but also for the uniqueness of the colors and shapes in the embroidery. If your style isn't necessarily open to a diverse color palette or spectacular prints, the visual elements of these clothes can help you bring character to the outfits you want.

A white blouse , embroidered with black motifs, can be very easily worn with black trousers. It's a safe combination...and commonplace. It won't say much about its wearer. The same blouse is completely transformed when paired with a black skirt with white polka dots (or a black and white geometric pattern). The colors and style of the outfit remain the same, the outfit has gained dynamism, creativity, courage. My invitation is not to exaggerate at any cost, but to express your authentic style in new ways than you have done before.

To remember:

The noble design of a garment needs to be balanced by its comfort, and its beauty to be equal to the freedom felt by the body that wears it.

Article written by our dear:
Irina Markovits
Clothing Consultant
Personal Stylist

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