The earliest form of trousers were strips of leather wrapped around each leg from the ankle upwards. Later strips of cloth were used. In some regions the tops of the 2 legs were drawn together by a belt 4-6 cm wide (brăcinarul), made of leather or hemp cord worn low on the hips. The fabric used for making trousers was usually white, although the type and thickness used depended on the season. The fabric (dimie or aba) used for making winter trousers was fulled to make it thicker. These trousers were usually tight and called cioareci or nădragi . Summer trousers made of thin wool or linen could be tight (iţari or izmene), or wide (gaci). Both thick and thin trousers were made from a single piece of fabric cut into various sized rectangles. The cut differed from region to region, as do the names used for trousers worn in summer and winter. In the south dark trousers became fashionable from 19th century. These were called poturi, nădragi, dimii or şalvari.
In some mountain regions tight woollen leggings called tureci, were worn by men & women and certain theories say these were the prototypes of the cioareci. Cioareci were worn in most ethnographic zones of Romania in winter. They are made of white woollen cloth (dimie or aba) although the cut varies from zone to zone. There are 2 main types of cioareci each with many variants.
The most common type is made of a width of material for each leg and one for the crutch. These are found in a large area of the Carpathians Mountains, Moldavia, North Muntenia and south Transylvania. The shape of seat varied with the original square being replaced with a broader seat to give added comfort. The top edge is folded to make a hem 4-5cm wide through which a leather belt (cureaua) or hempen cord or narrow leather belt (brãcinar) is threaded
The second type of cioareci uses a single piece of woven fabric, which forms both legs and a gusset. These are found in zones of Alba, Târnave, Braşov, Făgăraş and Romanaţi. This type has similarities to trousers worn further south as far as Albania.
In the South and Moldavia trousers are worn over boots or shoes whereas in Transylvania they are tucked into the tops of the boots.
The amount and style of decoration on cioareci depends on regional style. The majority of the decoration is on the upper parts of the trousers around the pockets, and front. Trousers worn with boots did not have any decoration on the lower part whereas those worn with spats had decoration down the legs accenting the cut of the trousers and round the hems or turn-ups. Decoration is made with appliquéd braid or coloured materials in the same style as the local suman or with embroidery with wool or silk.
Moldavian iţari are a variant of the cioareci which used to be found in all of Moldavia. These are made of ţigaie (a special breed of sheep wool), and cotton woven on 4 heddles. Each leg is made of cloth pieces 2m long which were worn with the legs “rolled up” so the material formed up to 101 creases from the knee to the ankle. Iţarii for summer wear are made of "pânza de sac" (bulky cotton).
Izmene are trousers worn in summer and made in white homespun material (white linen, hemp or cotton and occasionally in Moldavia very finely spun wool) with the same cut as cioareci The style and size varies from zone. They are decorated with appliquéd lace and braid (brânaşe) or thin strips of cloth or black, red or blue braid was sewn along the lines of the seams, pockets and hems. In Banat, Muntenia, Oltenia, Dobrogea the folds of cloth are joined with decorative stitches called “Cheiţa” (little keys) and the lower hems are edged with lace.
Izmene was also the name given to cloth trousers worn under cioareci in certain areas.
Gaci is an old Slavic word. These wide linen trousers were worn in Maramureş, Oaş, Bihor, Arad and also in Slovakia, Carpathian areas of Ukraine, parts of Hungary, North Serbia and Slovenia. They were made of cloth woven in hemp, cotton or cotton with hemp, using 2 heddles. Each leg was formed of 2 (or more) widths of cloth joined by using decorative white crocheted stitches called "cheiţe" (little keys) up to 1.5" wide. The length of these trousers was between knee and ankle length depending on the region. The top edge was folded over to make a hem "obada" through which laces were threaded then tied round the waist to hold up the trousers. The lower edges were decorated with either fringes "roit" made by the warp threads or white crocheted lace.
During 19th century in Bulgaria mens' clothes made of dark wool began to take over in popularity from white clothes and this style also spread to south east Romania to Câmpia Munteniei and Dobrogea. Trousers, waistcoats and jackets were made from brown or black sheep’s wool or wool dyed black, brown or dark blue, by tailors in workshops in villages or towns, rather than by women at home. The trousers made in this cloth are fitted below the knees but are wide from the knees upwards especially over the hips and are gathered into the waist with a draw string or buttoned up at the front. These trousers have many different names depending on the village. In Bulgaria, and some villages in Romania they are called poturi or cheshiri which comes from the Turkish name for full-bottomed breeches, indicating the origin of this style. In other villages Romanian names such as nădragi, dimii, dulvarii, berneveci, pârpâţi or iţari are used. Trousers of this cut are also found in Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Serbia and Macedonian. These trousers are made from 4 widths of fabric (dimie or aba) woven on 4 heddles, but not fulled in order to keep the cloth suppler. One and a half widths are used for each leg, and one width for the seat. The front and back are the same in cut and in size, without a “fly”. The waist is gathered and folded over to enclose a "brăcinarul” (cord). They are usually decorated with black silk braid around the side pockets and along the lower edges. Occasionally blue or red braid is used.
Şalvari (variant of the "baggy" trousers)
Şalvari is the name given to a very wide style of poturi, which was a later development of this style of trousers. They were made of factory manufactured black, brown or dark blue cloth. and were found in Bulgaria, as well as in Câmpie Munteniei and Dobrogea. They were decorated with ornaments of factory made black braid. The name shalvar is used for trousers worn by Muslims.
Modern style dark trousers
Hungarian and Saxon men living in Romania wore modern cut dark trousers with their shirts tucked in from around 18th century.