Turkish beauties of the 1930s in traditional costumes

Baggy salvar pants, front-opening fitted gown entari worn over a chemise or shift, long-sleeved short jacket mintan, outer robe kaftan, small pillbox hat and large veil, woven sash - those are the elements of traditional woman's dress of Turkey that can be seen on these vintage 1930s photographs. Compromise between emerging western and traditional Ottoman ideas however is also noticeable: the dress is traditional, but not entirely.

Interesting that many of these elements are parts of the medieval Ottoman dress too. Look how Cesare Vecellio described the Ottoman woman's dress in 1598 in his book The Clothing, Ancient and Modern, of Various Parts of the World: "On their heads they wear a gold or velvet cap with feathers. Their overgowns are luxurious, long and open in front. At their necks they wear gold chains of many strands and one, larger and longer than the others, across their breast. Their overgowns are long, open down the front and buttoned down to the belt with gold or crystal buttons. There's no set colour for their garments; they wear every hue except black. They wear trousers of ormesino (a plain, light and inexpensive silk cloth of Levantine origin) or sessa (gauze, usually light cotton or silk). Their trousers are very rich, especially around the bottom, which some of them have trimmed with jewels. They tie on very fine sashes woven in the Moorish style, full of gold and marveously lovely. They wear the sleeves of their gowns very long."

As we can see, not much has changed over centuries, the essential forms remained the same although there were some gradual changes in silhouette, materials and accessories of course.

The photos were found here


  1. Beautiful fabrics and gorgeous embroideries! The ladies look fantastic. Although the style of the costumes is completely different from the European style of this time, the hair-do is nearly the same. A hairstlye I like very much.
    Sabine xxx

  2. great fabrics and i love these photos too... I think a lot has changed over the years ? Turkish woman certainly don't dress like this anymore...or at least the didn't in istanbul when i was there?? Loving the history of this post tho - it's great.

    1. Oh, of course nobody wears these costume on everyday basis anymore. What I meant is that the traditional costume has not changed much over century. And it is still worn like that on weddings or special festivals.

  3. Wow!!! Very interesting post!!! Those Turkish costumes look very rich, beautifully embroidered and luxurious! !! Although I must admit, except the first photo of the lady, such shape and drapes didn't flatter all ladies!!! Lovely pot! :)

  4. I like very much knowing about people, costumes and habits! The differences make the world a very interesting place!

  5. I just love traditional costumes...I tried to study Croatian ones, but there are so many of them it is hard to keep track! In the region I'm from, they're usually made of black silk with colourful accessories...but in other regions of Croatia the tradition dresses are just filled with an abundance of colour, designs, different materials, dozen of underskirts and so on...like in other countries in this area, they're very rich in appearance.

    these costumes are as you say are the mix of old and new...they remind me of both European and Asian traditional dresses...all very interesting! stylish Turkish ladies:)

  6. I looooooove this post! It's always fascinating to read your fashion history stories, and I adore vintage photography. They all look so wonderful these dressed up beauties. Thank you, Olga!!!