In modern European wedding tradition, groomsmen usually dress in suits or tuxes, but what did they wear 100 or so years ago? Here’s a spoiler: in Slavic countries, they wore bizarre outfits, something opposite to imposing suits. To convince you, we’ll show a piece from a museum collection – groomsman’s attire from Carpathian Ukraine. One garment in this set is particularly interesting.
This outfit is a museum exhibit. It’s from the collection of Ukrainian national center of folk culture “Ivan Honchar Museum”.
The costume is the groomsman’s attire from the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine (almost on the border of Ukraine and Romania), the early 20th century.
The costume consists of simple white shirt and trousers adorned with a bit of whitework, a wide leather belt, a hat embellished with a green garland (it could be fresh or artificial greenery), a large kerchief (it indicated that this man belonged to a wedding procession), and very odd outerwear called “hunia”.
Actually, hunia seems odd only to outsiders because it’s a common outer garment in the Carpathian area. It’s white, made from wool, and it has long hairs that give it a shaggy look. And, of course, it’s handmade. Such outerwear is rather warm but coarse and scratchy. Also, it doesn’t have any buttons or fasteners, so hunia is just thrown over the body. Sometimes, it has ties at the neck.
Here is another hunia from Ukraine – a women’s one. It’s much more delicate and neat. In the photo, it’s a part of a married woman’s outfit, but it could be worn by a bride as well.
This groomsman’s costume looks simple and inexpressive but there’s a reason to that as well – no one should outshine the bride’s and groom’s outfits, which were extremely ornate, multilayered, and opulent in the Carpathian area.