A characteristic feature of the Macedonian costume is its great variety. Elements drawn from the Byzantine heritage and western influences are pronounced, particularly in the female costume. An item common to both female and male dress is the chemise, the origins of which go back to the ancient Greek chiton.
The female chemises are of great interest for their embroidered decoration, as are the headcover, fezes, aprons, male and female capes, both long ('pirpiri') and short ('sigounia', 'kontogounia'). Colours and decorative motifs also played an important role in costume, for colour was an indicator not only of social class, but also of age and marital status.
The decorative motifs are usually interpreted as symbols, with a 'talismanic'-magical intent, and are also related to the cultural level of the social group. Some of the motifs (cockerels, pine-cones, trees) found on bridal clothes, for example, have been associated with fertility ever since ancient times.