Loose shirts and wide trousers were the standard
dress for Kyrgyz men in the 19 th century. The unfastened shirt - djegde
- is made from white coarse calico or matt. The
design of the shirt is tunic-like. Two slightly inclined gores are sewn
on the edges of the shirt. The shirt was lower than the level of the
knees, and the sleeves covered the wrists. It was popular to sew
gussets on it. A lath was sown around an open neck; the lath was
narrower on the bosom and was fastened with laces or buttons. Djegde
was worn from the age of six or seven. The form
of djegde did not change till the end of one's
life. The shirt, belted, was worn on the top of wide trousers. These
wide trousers were made from coarse homemade calico, although sheepskin
or goatskin were also used. Suede wide trousers were considered an
indication of prosperity.
There was a wide variety of chapan or ton
- men's dressing gowns. They all were wrapped
over the right side, which is typical for the clothes of ancient Turkic
nomads. A chapan had a tunic-like design, tight
sleeves, and dense through stitching. Green lace was sewn on the edges
of the flap, sleeves and hem.
A chepken , a dressing gown made from woolen
homemade fabric, was also worn over the rest of the clothes. Thus it
was made to be wide, long-flapped, with long and wide sleeves. It was
made without lining, which was different from the analogous clothes of
the northern Kyrgyz, whose dressing gown had a lining.
The winter type of clothes included a fur coat ( ton, postun
) made from sheepskin. Rich peasants made it
from the fur of an otter, fox, or wolf. One fur coat was made from six
to eight skins. The design was of one type. The shoulders were slightly
canted; sleeves were wide; the flap became wider at the bottom; and the
wrapover was deep. It also had side vents. Southern Kyrgyz dyed the
coat in two colors: white or orange.
The most ancient form of fur coat is without a collar. A border of
black fur (4-5cm width) was sewn on the edges of the coat. Sometimes
the border was double, i.e., both black and white fur. Not only fur but
also strips of black velvet or satin were also sewn on.
Felt clothes such as kementay (raincoat) were
usual amongst cattle-breeders of northern Kyrgyzstan.
The single-breasted light dressing gown - jelek
- made from cotton fabric was usual amongst Kyrgyz men of the older
generation during the warm season.
It was compulsory to wear a sash, a wide leather or velvet belt,
decorated with silver plates.
The shoes of Kyrgyz were of different kinds: chokoy,
paychek, charik .
The first two were worn by the poor. Chokoy had
a stocking-like shape; it was made from one piece of skin up to the
Paychek had no top. It was a piece
of skin with a narrow leather strip which was tied around the ankle. Charik
was made from the tanned skin of a horse or ox.
There was a big variety of head gowns as well. These were kulla,
tyubeteyka, chalma , and felt cap - kalpak .
The latter is an essential part of the national costume.
Women's costumes. The main features of women's costumes are the dress
and wide trousers. Red is typical for a young woman's dress, whereas
old people wear clothes of darker colors. Dresses were made long,
almost down to the feet, with sleeves much lower than the wrist. For
many years women's dress as well as men's remained tunic-like. Gores
with small double-sided inclination are inserted on both sides.
Straight or a little bit tightened sleeves are sewn on at a straight
angle. The most ancient dress with a horizontally cut neck from
shoulder to shoulder is the tuura jaka . A
border was sewn on its neck. Girls and women wore this type of dress. A
dress with horizontal-vertical cut neck was called uzun jaka
. Finally, there was a dress with vertical cut
neck and stiff standing collar, which probably appeared as a result of
the influence of neighboring Kashgar.
Women's wide trousers were made from multicolored, bright fabrics. The
design was the same as that of men's trousers, with a rhomb-like
insertion. They were made long. An ornamental border (bought from
Uzbeks) was sewn on the bottom edges of trousers down to the level of
A skirt - beldemchi - worn on the hips, with a
front vent, is very original, and organically connected to the Kyrgyz
women's clothes. It was worn on top of a dress or a dressing gown. A
felt girdle, covered by black fabric, usually velvet, was an essential
part of the beldemchi . The skirt - etek
- had a vent and a thin wool or cotton padded
lining. It was stitched together to the belt. Married women wore beldemchi
, usually after the birth of the first child. It
was a necessity in nomadic conditions. It allowed free movement while
protecting one from cold when riding a horse or doing housework in the
open air or in a cold yurt.
The shoes of the 19 th century were mainly made from leather. Red or
green boots with heels were worn by the young; soft boots - ichigi
- which could be turned inside out, by the old.
Also many wore leather galoshes with heels. Shoes were decorated with
silver coins, tassels, and pearl buttons. Shoemakers would attach
silver bells to the heels, and they would ring when walking.
Today, traditional clothes are worn in rural areas by shepherds, and by
ordinary people on festival days, as well as by folklore ensembles.