Women's costume

The entrance of breeches in Crete brought a change in Cretan women’s outfit, in the last quarter of the 16th century. The jacket «μεϊτάνι» of the male costume was adopted and named "ziponi" and later "chrysozipono" when it was embroidered with gold thread and filled with gold embroidery.

Integral element of the daughter betrothed or married woman costume, in western and central Crete, was the "basalaki" or "pasalaki" or "argyrompounialaki". It was a silver wretch carved knife, miniature of the male knife. It was a traditional gift by the fiancé, with lots of symbolism, which was ever since worn on the belt.

Head cover of Cretan women, was a silk weaver handkerchief. When it was a transparent white veil with golden decorations and scattered gold coins, it was called "chrysoplekto". In western Crete besides this, women wore a red fez with a tassel covered with black veil, which was called "papazi". In the second quarter of the 19th century, in the western provinces, "Velio" or "Fakioli" or "fatsoli" appeared,which was, a small velvet cap, in maroon color with black lace on the edge. The "Velio” was a sign of financial comfort of the groom, who offered it to the bride along with other wedding gifts.

The main types of Ladies festive costumes of Crete, prevailing until the early 20th century are: "the costume with “ziponi” and dress", the "Sharjah" and the "Kouda." From these derived many variations or local names such as the "Sfakiani", the "Haniotiki", the "Messaritiki", the "Rethymniotiki", the "Kritsiotiki” etc. Elements such as the belt and the apron derive from the Byzantine women's clothing of the 11th century.

The "costume with ziponi and dress" was presented in the early 17th century but has the oldest elements and was worn all over Crete, but especially in the western, as ceremonial and festive. It consists of the "ziponi", the "silk long shirt," the "skirt" or "garment" (the long silk dress from fabric Damascus), the "Spaleto" (a silk scarf tied on the neck), the silk belt, the apron, the "basalaki" in the belt and the head cover silk weaver handkerchief or "papazi" or "Velio".