Croatian national costumes are nowadays most often worn at special events and celebrations. Croatians are proud of their cultural heritage and at folklore events you can see all generations from young to old dressed in local traditional costumes, singing traditional songs and dancing their specific dances. Each cultural and geographical region in Croatia has its own costume that vary in style, material, colour, shape, and form. Also differences in dress are associated with the social status of the wearer, like an unmarried girl or a married woman.
In Slavonia (Pannonian style of dress) the costumes tend to be very bright, colourful and elaborate, with floral designs and clothing with silk or wool, embroidery, decorative silk ribbons, lace work, gold or silver jewellery, corals, amber necklaces and pearls for the women.
Posavina and Podravina are both regions located in the north, north-east part of Croatia. Unlike the Slavonians, the costumes from Posavina do not focus on too much elaborate designs and patterns, and instead consists of simple black and white blouses, trousers, and skirts. The men wear black vests and black hats while the women wear beautiful silk shawls, usually blue or red in colour with flower motifs. A thick apron with embroidered designs could be worn as well, and their colour and detailed patterns are often the main focus of the costume.
The regions Međimurje, Zagorje and Zagreb are all located in the north of Croatia and are considered the continental style of dress. White garments are typical for the continental region, but each has its own decorative scarves, shawls, aprons, and jewellery. Red is the most popular colour, especially in Zagorje, and the aprons and vests worn by the men and women are red with elaborate stitching and embroidery, mostly with gold thread. Women wear colourful shawls and kerchiefs which are usually red with flower designs. The second most popular color is black, which could have gold or white embroidery, or none at all. Men usually wear wide white trousers and blouses and black hats and boots.
Hats are an important part of a male’s costume. The traditional Pannonian hat (škrlak) is black and dome-shaped, with a red wool band embroidered with multi-coloured thread and white and gold dots attached, or the black felt box-hat (šešir) folded into a flat bow at the back with a grosgrain ribbon tied around the body. Over the grosgrain ribbon, red, white and blue strings are often tied around the hat – the Croatian tri-color.
The costumes from Istria are influenced by the Adriatic style of the coast and the men’s wear typically blue or brown or white, and consist of white, ankle length trousers, shirts, and leather vests. Coats worn over them are generally short and long-sleeved or long and sleeveless ones. Accessories include wide silk belts, red or black caps.
Women on the coast wear broad-sleeved white blouses that are embroidered in silk or lace, as well as pleated skirts or dresses varying in colour. Their shoulders are covered with colourful shawls. Jewellery is made of colourful glass beads and silver or gold coin discs.