Armenian clothing expresses national characteristics as well as history of the Armenian nation. National clothes have a long history. Clothes have been modernized and changed according to the historical period trends, but some national features still remain.
There are many aspects that characterize a nation. One of these characteristics is the way of clothing of that nation. The traditional costumes and the ornaments of a nation are not only a historical development, but also an artistic creativity as well.
We feel pretty sure that you can distinguish Armenians among the others, just by looking at their way of clothing. The Armenian Taraz (national clothes) is as rich and beautiful as the Armenian language!
Let’s find out together the most interesting things about these costumes.
History of the Armenian Clothing
The very first thing you can remember about the Armenian clothing is that these clothes are very colorful. The national dress of Armenians is called “Taraz”. Through Armenian dresses and clothing, you can find the rich cultural traditions of Armenian.
Basic materials for Armenian clothes are- wool, cotton and fur. Before having their own silk production, Armenians imported silk from China, however, the silk dresses were meant to be for the rich.
Today it is enough to have just a one glance at these amazing costumes and see the Armenian history through them. Throughout centuries, Armenia had different influences. There were times of Byzantine influence, Roman influence, Arabic, Persian, Russian, Franc, etc.
All of these periods left their mark in Armenian culture and traditions. They also shaped particular designs of national clothes.
Every type of costume can tell the story of that exact period in Armenian history. Since ancient times Armenian national clothing, Taraz has had an aesthetic significance.
Since the very beginning Taraz was adapted to the climate of that area. Even during ancient times Armenian costumes had classifications, such as gender, social class, region, etc.
Armenian Clothing: Colors and Style
It is interesting to know that Taraz itself in its style is a loose garment and also has grooves. There you can find 4 dominant colors.
A very famous Armenian philosopher Grigor Tatevatsi wrote in his book that there were 4 colors for clothes,
According to him, the black color expressed the earth, the white color expressed the water, the red color expressed the bravery and the yellow expressed the flame. Besides, there was also the purple, which was the symbol of wisdom and blue characterized justice.
When you explore these amazing dresses, you can find many interesting facts about them. For example, it is interesting to know that just looking at the color of the Taraz, you could know whether the person wearing it is married or not.
In addition, you can also guess how many children they have and so on. All these things made the role of these dresses more important in the lifestyle of the Armenians.
Traditional Armenian Clothing and Costumes in Different Regions
While talking about Taraz it is important to know that there is not one kind of Taraz or universal one for all Armenians. Armenian clothing is as various as Armenia is! Moreover, there are as many national costumes in Armenia, as the Armenian regions.
These costumes vary from one region to another. Every region has its own unique features and yet all of them share general similarities. It’s hard even to choose which one is more beautiful.
Since every region has its own style, it’ll be too long to dong into all of them. But there were two main branches of the Armenian clothing. Those were eastern and western.
In the western part of Armenia, people made costumes with amazing embroideries made up from gold or silver threads. One of the most important differences between the eastern and western parts of Armenia was the apron. These were rare in eastern Armenia.
In western Armenia, the apron symbolized the woman. It showed whether the woman is married or not, whether she had children etc. Plus, The middle-aged girls wore a simple veil in order to cover the head.
In both parts of the Armenia, they also wore a kind of special hat which covered the half of the forehead. The part of the forehead was covered with silver coins. Once the women used to pay for the products taking a coin right from their forehead.
It seems that we have been talking only about women, no it is not discrimination! Now let’s take a look at the men Taraz variations and peculiarities.
So, male national costume had 2 basic elements- the one for shoulders, which included coats, shirts vests etc, and the Zonal part which included the trousers. The collars of shirts were embroidered with beautiful paintings.
A lamb fur hat made the part of this costume as well. The difference between eastern and western parts was that the eastern, provinces were more popular the Caucasian kind of Taraz (with a short shirt and for winter lamb fur coats).
Armenian National Clothes in Life of Modern Youth
Together we have been discussing the history and the beauty of the Armenian Taraz. Unfortunately, this is only a history.
Nowadays, you can hardly find someone who wears Taraz in his/her quotidian life. Though with fashion, some national elements and ornaments re-entered in the style of the Armenians.
Now, you can see girls wearing shirts with traditional elements or ornaments. Armenian fashion houses also pay attention to this fact and also produce their own collections.
Today, the only use of Armenian taraz is presented to the public via folk and national dance groups. No matter where they are they dance with these beautiful costumes as well as present the Armenian history and the culture abroad.
Cultural Centers of the Armenian Clothing
If you are interested in Armenian clothing you can find, rent or buy some of them in the cultural centers of Armenian clothing in Yerevan.
Teryan Cultural Center
Teryan center produces its own Taraz collection. You can buy one right from the center if you want. The center often organizes its own exhibitions. So, in case you’d like to be part of these events, just check their official page and learn more about upcoming events.
Teryan cultural center plays a big role in modern Armenian fashion industry. Though the center creates only traditional clothing, it still is very popular. Many celebrates, singers and actors buy, or rent costumes from Teryan center for their music videos and films.
It is a new trend for Armenian youth and newly created families to have a traditional photo with national garments. This center is one of the main providers of these costumes. So, it’ll be very cool even for tourists to have a photo in Armenian national costumes as a memory form their visit.
Terian Center especially became very popular when they hosted famous reality stars, the Kardashian sisters. They presented the sisters national costumes and jewelry. This was featured in KUWTK (Keeping up with the Kardashians) reality show.
Millions of people abroad were introduced to Armenian national clothes and Teryan cultural center.
And now the most important question: where is Teryan cultural center located?
It is situated on Teryan street. It is a library building and Teryan center is situated on the underground floor of the building.
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