On Wednesday, Queen Letizia of Spain showed her support for the people of Ukraine by wearing a vyshyvanka, a traditional embroidered blouse worn by the people of Ukraine and Belarus. While royals are generally encouraged to remain politically neutral, this symbolic outfit was imbued with meaning and demonstrates fashion's ability to send a message.
If you want to make a statement of your own, you can do so by supporting Ukrainian-owned brands or shopping from brands that are donating profits to the Ukrainian people (like DRESSX's "Support Ukraine" Collection).
The vyshyvanka is a versatile, Bohemian piece with a rich history. Much like the evil eye, the vyshyvanka's pattern is considered a talisman against bad luck, and can be worn by people of any age or gender. According to spiritual tradition, every stitch on this piece is imbued with spiritual meaning.
While the style is gorgeous and would be a welcome addition to anyone's wardrobe, it's critical to avoid cultural appropriation by both educating oneself about the piece's origins, and by shopping from Ukrainian (or Belarussian) owned brands. You may already be familiar with popular Ukrainian brands like Ienki Ienki, Anna October, Bevza, and Zhilyova, but read on to learn about more inimitable Ukrainian-owned pieces.
Etnodim Lito Embroidered Shirt with Floral Ornament
The neutral-colored embroidery on this blouse can gracefully take you from warm weather into the fall and winter.
Blue Flax White Embroidered Shirt in Petrykivska Flower White
Not into color? No problem. This all-white vyshyvanka is a great option for those who love the style but are going for a more muted look.
Vala Embroidered Richelieu Dress: Laly
Not only is this dress a faithful tribute to traditional Ukrainian fashion, but its unique hem and midi length bring ancient style flawlessly into the present.
Foberini Camelia Blue Blouse
Vyshyvankas don't necessarily need to be white! This sky-blue option from Kyiv-based Foberini comes in white, beige, and this gorgeous shade of sky-blue.
Katimō "Remedios" Dress
This long, flowing dress' minimalist waistline embroidery is reminiscent of the vyshyvanka's embroidery, and we love this Kyiv-based brand's commitment to marrying Ukrainian tradition with modern utility.
Ptaha Beige Scented Dress with Embroidered Sleeves
This dress' feminine yet structured silhouette makes it perfect for work or play.
2Kolyory Turia Embroidered Dress
I cannot adequately explain how much I love this dress. As someone who doesn't like sleeves, I appreciate the ability to indulge in the vyshvyanka without any of the extra fabric.
Vita Kin Colette Blouse
This oversized, cropped blouse is a modern spin on an ancient style, and we love it with the matching skirt.
Vyshyvanka by Masik Valeriy Yellow Dress
Stand out from the crowd and celebrate the start of warmer weather with this yellow option by Masik Valeriy.
"Robot" Black Tie Pants
The vyshyvanka can be paired with anything from jeans (check out Ukrainian-owned denim brand Ksenia Schnaider (opens in new tab), for example) to leggings to a skirt, but we love the way Queen Letizia matched hers with a pair of black dress pants, like these from Ukrainian-owned brand TTSWTRS, which sells edgy athleisure, basics, and underwear.
Gunia Project Woollen Poncho with Pompons
Looking to really complete Queen Letizia's look with a sleek black coat? Check out this one, complete with subtle red detailing and pompons reminiscent of the embroidery and tassels of the vyshyvanka.
Gabrielle Ulubay is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire and writes about all things fashion and beauty. She's also written about politics, gender, and sex for publications like Bustle, HuffPost Personal, and The New York Times. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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