There are at least a dozen types of overgarments, not counting the wild and varied coats that made up military wear. And–this is fun–we have no clear idea what most of them looked like. This is a listing of all the overgarments worn by Istanbulites in the 16th and early 17th centuries, as reflected in their estate records, with as much detail as I can give about what they might have looked like and how they were worn.

Overgarments were usually in dark, serious colors–purple, black, dark blue, dark green, rust red. However, men had more leeway than women, and sometimes wore brighter or lighter colors, including bright red.


Çuka: Literally “wool broadcloth,” a cuka was made of, yes, wool broadcloth. (So were most other warm coats.)

Dolama: Most famous for its role in Janissaries’ uniforms, the dolama was also worn by civilians of both sexes. It was a full-length robe that, unlike all other robes, had no closures down the front and had to be belted shut.

Ferace: A long, unfitted coat with unfitted sleeves. Both men and women wore ferace; the only difference was that women wore them for modesty whenever they left the house, while men presumably wore them for warmth.

Kapama: A type of coat.

Kürdiye: Literally “Kurdish,” this coat was popular for both sexes. It was so popular, in fact, that it’s bizarre that we have no good description of it. Standards set by the marketplace governors make it clear that it was full-length, fitted through the waist, with long, fitted sleeves.

Kürk: Many garments are listed in the estate records simply as “fur,” kürk. I suspect this was a catchall term for any overcoat lined with fur.

Mintan: A short jacket? This appears only a couple-few times in the records. In later centuries it evolved into a waist-length or shorter jacket, but that’s no guarantee that the 16th century version was remotely similar.

Yağmurluk: Raincoat. Worn only by men.

Yelek: A hip-length fitted jacket that could be long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or sleeveless. Worn by both men and women, and featured in quite a few bazaar paintings.