Male Costume

Male folk garment

If we start by the order of dressing in first place would come knee socks. Knee socks are a kind of socks which strongly tighten the calves. For making of these socks a great skill is needed, and what needs to be pointed out is that no matter the experience and years for putting on of the knee socks it takes a lot of time. Knee socks need to be tightened strongly in order for man’s easier and safer movement, which was extremely important for Montenegrins who moved around the stony Montenegro. Except the knee socks there were the so called bjecve which had a slit on the side, and their rims were hemmed with red or dark blue coarse cloth.

Pants were dresses immediately after the knee socks and they should overlap one part of the knee socks. Very often pants and knee socks were tied with a cord so that they wouldn’t separate, and for that people made special hooks on the knee socks. Pants in ordinary Montenegrins were white and they were made of coarse linen and water proof cloth (coja). Pants near the waist were wide, while below the knees they were shrunk. Montenegrins had a belt in which there was a wreath through which a rope went through in order for the pants to be tied around the waist.

Male shirt had a collar and a slit on the chest which was closed with buttons. The shirt was drawn in the pants and most often it was a white shirt) rarely could you find a Montenegrin in a colorful shirt). The shirt was an obligatory part of the Montenegrin male costume and at the festivities it was always tied. Except the shirt male folk costume, its upper part, was made of “gunj” (long peasant jacket). Gunj had short tassels which on the chest were moved apart. Montenegrins wore this short coat whose ends crossed one over the other and it was buttoned with copper buttons. Gunj was replaced with “dolama”(dolman), which has the sleeves below the armpits and up to the fist they are almost opened, so that they can be thrown back. In that way the hand stays solely in the shirt. That was of great importance and very characteristic for Montenegro, because in that way the suites, the folk garment could be made for all seasons. When it was summer they didn’t use th sleeves of dolmans, but they would throw the sleeves behind the back, and when it was winter, Montenegrins would put on the sleeves of dolmans. A dolman can usually be found in Montenegro in green color, and it is made of coarse linen or waterproof cloth (coja). The ends of the dolman (sleeves and the corners and tassels) are decorated with dark red color.

Below gunj they wore “dzemadan”, which was made of red coarse linen and was usually embroidered with on sides with some cotton or silk braids of black or golden color. That is a vest with tassels which came one over the others, and it was buttoned with four buttons (made of metal) and with black knots made of silk rope. Dzemadan was worn over the chest, and it went all over to the throat. The rims of dzemadan on tassels are also decorated with knots or with golden embroidery.

Dzemadan was sometimes replaced with “jecerma”, which did not have tassels or overlapping, and the slit on the chest was flat. On both sides of “jecerma” there were two rows of buttons (black silk ones) which are just a decoration. Below the buttons there are several hooks and knots which are used for buttoning of jecerma to the middle from below. These hooks and knots were usually the only thing used for buttoning of jecerma, because Montenegrins left their chest uncovered. Over gunj went “jelek”(sleeveless embroidered jacket).

Jelek was made of the coarse material and was decorated with rope or with golden embroidery. That is an upper clothing item, a lot like a coat without the sleeves. In front it is very open, and what is characteristic for it is that it was never buttoned.

Jelek was sometimes replaced with “toke” (silver plates), which have the same shape as jelek, but on the front side they have metal, most often silver plates. “Toke” are tied in difference to jelek and they are very close to body, and as they are made of metal they remind on armor, which was their usage in former Montenegro.

Male folk footwear

Opanci – were the footwear which was most often worn in Montenegro. They are made of beef’s skin. The ends of “opanci” are very low, and they do not have heals, while their front part is edged, and the peak of “opanci” is very tough. The front part of “opanci” is woven into with a “cord”, thin threads of goat’s skin, which was laid transversally, from one end of “opanak” to the other. Down the length of “opanak” and along its middle three or four rows were woven which end in loops, and through them “opanak” was attached to leg. So with this part only a half of the foot was covered, because of which “opanak’ has to be firmly attached to leg. Therefore a small belt is made also from cord with which you surround the foot and with which you bind the front art with the lateral sides of “opanak”. In order for “opanak” to be softer and more comfortable Montenegrins have put inside a insole,, which was extremely significant when “opanak” is already worn or when the skin of “opanak” is already thin. The cord, the material which is used for making “opanak”, was made by Montenegrins themselves. Goat’s skin was dried and after that stretched. Then the wool was shaved, and the skin was cut in small bands, which are then softened, then woven in, attached, and winded up in balls. For making “opanak” beef’s skin can also be used. This skin was wetted, of which it folded, and then it was put in cast after which one could make “opanak” from it. Depending for which time of the year “opanak” is made, depends which skin will be used for its production. For making of “opanak” for the summer Montenegrin uses salted skin, and for all other seasons of the year he will use the unsalted skin.

When a Montenegrin gets dressed and puts his shoes on then he puts his belt. Simple Montenegrin belt is woven from wool and it has vertical stripes – usually they are black, yellow, blue, and usually on the surface which is red or dark green. The belts of Montenegrins are 3 to 4 meters long and their width is up to 15 cm. With this kind of a belt Montenegrins wrap themselves around, and then they put around “silav” so that across it they could wrap around the belt completely. Silav is something like soft leather small suitcase of several layers which have separate spaces in which Montenegrins places various things. Montenegrins stuck usually one or two guns or revolvers, and a big knife. They also had “arabija” there – a metal bat whit which they stuck (filled) the gun and cleaned its barrel. In special compartments for which we said that they are found in silav one could find handkerchief, wallet, or a gag with money.

After a Montenegrin had put on his belt and stuck his weapon, and money behind the belt his costume is being completed with a hat. Montenegrin hat has a flat bottom and a flat brim, and it is 8 cm wide. It is made of red or dark red coarse material and it is twice as much deeper that the brim of the hat, but the ends of the hat are twisted and in that way we get the double brim. On the upper surface of hat, that is, on the circle there is golden embroidery. On one side we have an arc with three stripes, of which the middle one is made of three lines from brim to brim, and on both sides of the hat there two more lines and two more lines together. That gives us a number of totally 5 stripes. In that arc HI is embroidered which actually means “Nikola I” (the king of Montenegro). The brim is paneled with thin silk and the ends go over into the mentioned circle a bit. The interior of the hat is lined and it is usually of white color, though on some Montenegrin hats lines of other colors can be found. The only thing that is for sure is that the lining in the interior of the hat is never in colors. Montenegrin hat does not stand firmly on head. When the wind is strong, and in certain parts of Montenegro that is the case, Montenegrin puts a kerchief over the hat and ties it. It is not a rare case that in the past when the winter is severe and when it is a bad weather, a Montenegrin takes off his belt and ties it around his head, which a resembled a lot to tying of the Turkish “calma” (turban).