Dress is a part of a soul of people. Ukrainian folk dress has an important historical and artistic meaning. Since ancient times and during its existence the dress satisfied not only the material human needs but also the spiritual ones, performing the necessary domestic, social and ceremonial functions. Its high aesthetic level, emotional saturation reflects the outlook and psychology of the Ukrainian people. This phenomenon takes a prominent place in the national, European and global cultures.
The development of the Ukrainian dress was in the close link with other cultures. Traditional clothes discover the deep roots of the history of the Ukrainian people, associated with the early Slavonic period and with the highest achievements of culture in Kievan Rus. Traditional closes of Ukraine and Ukrainian dress constantly developed and transformed saving ancient traditions. For example artistic local dress complexes in the end of 19th century – beginning of the 20th included the cultural values of different epochs. Some elements of traditional dress – color, ornamental design, separate accessories have the origin from ancient civilizations. At the same time there are components which are associated with historical destiny of different Ukrainian lands.
Expressiveness and functionality of the Ukrainian dress was achieved due to the using the variety of materials, to the simplicity of the forms and constructions, to the technique and compositions of the decoration and adorning, to the unity of the constructional, technological and artistic methods.
The raw materials for the Ukrainian folk dress (the same materials used all East-Slavonic peoples) up to the 20th century were vegetable fiber, cotton, animal skins (with and without fur), stems and crust of plants, wood, metals. The decisive role in the selection of the raw material belonged to the natural environment and the character of the manufactural activity associated with it.
The especially spread technique of manufacturing dress materials was home weaving. Self-made fabrics were the basic material of the country dress on the major part of Ukraine in the end of 19th century – beginning of the 20th , that is the clear indicator of the level of material culture of the population. The development of weaving was caused by many social-economic reasons, domestic and economical needs and also the presence of the necessary raw material.
The important ethnic, social and aesthetic characteristic was the color of materials used for the folk dress. By performing the decorational function, the color was the way of expression of the folk’s outlook, psychology and taste, it emphasized the dress for everyday or holyday using, it detailed the ceremonial dress, handed over sexual gradations. The color was a peculiar figurative language, incarnating the meaning of cleanness, nobility, power, longevity, it symbolized the human feelings: joy, sadness, love etc. The color of the folk dress was in a harmony with nature, reflecting the stale statements associated with it as white light, red sun, black night etc.
The main thing in the Ukrainian traditional dress is the natural colors of self-made materials. The basis colors of fur were black and brown. Grey fur was used for decorating skins mainly on the territory of Kiev. On the territory of Kiev, Chernigov, Poltava was used colored leather. Female shoes were made of red and yellow leather, which was also used for decorating skins.
The vegetable ornament played an important role in the decorating of the traditional dress. The female shirts of Middle Naddnipryanshina, Bukovyna, Volyn’ and Podillya were characterized by the geometric motive of a tree: the dress contained the insertions of branches, leaves, flowers, hop and grapes. Moreover on the shirts of Naddnipryanshina, Bukovyna and Podillya the branches look up and on the shirts of Volyn’ the branches look down.