There are very few distinct regional differences in the male costume of Cyprus. Its basic components are the densely pleated baggy trousers, vra'ka, which held sway in all the C,reek islands, and the waistcoat, yilekko, or jacket, zibouni. Yet this apparent uniformity is punctuated by some local features, manifest in the size of the vraka and the colour of the cloth used for the chest garment. These diacritical traits used to be indicative of the wearer's origin.

Shepherd's costume (vra'ka, waistcoat, cloak, bag and crook).
Early 20th century. Collection of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum.

The vra'ka was made of coarse hand-woven dimity, which was dyed, after sewing, by local dyers, poyatzides; black for elderly men, blue for younger ones. The vraka varied in size and shape from region to region. That for "best" wear was very wide, requiring forty piches (yards) of dimity, according to the popular Cypriot distich. The bustle, sella, which hung behind, was densely pleated, prosiasma. This was normally tucked up into the belt and only left to hang freely when the wearer went to church. In Oreini Nicosia, the vra'ka, known here as tsiatta'lin, was appreciably narrower than in other regions. White cotton underpants were worn underneath.

Urban costume. Late 19th Century.
Collection of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum.

The vra'ka is worn with a chemise or shirt, of dark striped cotton material everyday and of silk on Sundays. The silk shirt was a basic garment of the groom's costume, being a present from his bride-to-be, like his kerchief which was symbolic of their union and tied around his neck during the wedding ceremony. The cut of the shirt, the manner in which it was sewn and embellished, varied according to region. That of the Mesaoria is particularly elaborate, being made of highly-prized taisto silk with a shoulder piece and traversa in front, cut on the cross and trimmed with tucks and European lace. The sleeves are voluminous, with cuffs and poma'niko, that is a triangular inset to the under-arm seam to facilitate freedom of movement.

In many districts, including the Mesaoria, men also wore a vest next to the skin. This was of hand-woven cotton and embroidered in those places visible beneath the shirt, such as the neck opening and the cuffs. In rural areas a knitted vest of home-spun wool was worn in winter.

Though the vra'ka and shirt were more or less the same all over the island, there were more obvious variations in the jacket worn with them. This garment is short, fitted, straight or crossed over and fastened. The sleeve-less version is the yilekko, the sleeved the zibouni or zibouna. The vertical opening down the back, which enabled the wearer to make expansive movements, was fastened with a cord or ribbon. The yilekka and zibounia worn in country districts were of the same cotton alatzia' as the female over-garment. In summer the waistcoat was worn on its own, in winter under the zibouni.

Rural Costume. Early 20th century.
Collection of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum.

The edges, back and pocket of the festival waistcoat were embroidered, in contrast to the everyday version which was quite plain. The oldest zibouni in Karpasia, the perikos, was embelished with white loom-embroidery with coloured "stones", petrou'des, very similar to that on the women's festival saye's (A. Pieridou, op. cit., p.28). Jackets for Sunday wear in this region had a cross-over fastening and were thus known as stavrote's. Wile the zibou'nia and yile'kka worn in the rural areas were made in the villages, the sklavou'nika worn in the towns were sewn by professional tailors in Nicosia. They were of ready-made woollen cloth and elaborately decorated with embroidery of over-sewn twisted cotton thread. There were even waiscoats of velvet and the famous sattakrou'ta silk, with which the Nicosian ladies made their skirts.

Urban costume, Early 20th Century.
Collection of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum.

The groom's yilekkozi'bouna was usually made of dark velvet with brightly coloured applique designs of birds and animals on the back, such as confronting lions, a symbol of virility.

Bridegroom's costume. Late 19th Century.
Collection of the Cyprus Folk Art Museum.

A broad cummerbund, zona'ri, was worn around the waist. This was of black dimity with fringing at the narrow ends for older men and of brightly coloured silk, ttalapoulou'zi, in the young men's festival attire and the groom's costume. A knitted purse hung from the sash, or a bought purse, kkeme'ri, was tucked inside it.

The shepherds of the Mesaoria plain typically wore a dark yile'kko of alatzia', the vra'ka and a characteristic over-garment, the ala's, made of two pieces of black and white checked cotton fabric with coloured stribes, mou'stres, at the narrow ends. In the winter this was trown or swathed about the shoulders to protect the herdsman from the weather. The ala's is about one and a half metres long and is alternatively known as pertikopa'nni, since it was also used for catching pigeons. The shepherd's bag, the vou'rka is of goatskin, decorated with shells. The crook is called tzipo'di in Cyprus.

In the mountainous parts of the island the shepherds wore a heavey cape in winter, made in Nicosia from coarse, dark brown woollen cloth.

The male costume was formerly completed by a fez, either worn alone of with a kerchief tied with the triangle at the side, the kouroukli'n. The male headdress was later simplified and only the kerchief remained. The groom's kerchief, of brightly coloured wool, was bought. The edges were trimmed with crochet lace, pipi'lla, or fine fringing. The everyday kerchiefs were just the same as the kourou'kles worn by the women, with stamped designs; young men wore light ones, old men dark. The farmers of the plain wore a straw hat.

All year round, the men in the rural parts of Cyprus wore heavy, hob-nailed boots to protect them from snakes which abound on the island. Flat-soled and made by specialist cobblers, skarpa'rides, these are the most expensive item in the male costume. In the town men wore European-style boots, frangopodi'nes, or shoes, ska'rpes. In some districts the groom wore leather slippers with a bow, syriane's. The knitted cotton or woollen socks worn with the boots or shoes were attached to the bottom, podina'ria, of the baggy trousers with laces.

The male costume was complemented by a simple parure of silver ornaments; a watch and chain, chains and finger rings. Both Greek and Turkish officials wore rings with a seal on the bezel. Greeks preferred ancients stones, while Turks angraved theirs with phrases from the Koran.