The Iconic Russian Platok “Headdress”

Hello my fashion tsarinas and tsars in training!

Today, I will be introducing a topic about a specific garment that is famous in Russian culture. It is the scarf/shawl (sha-rf/шарф) or kerchief/head-covering (pla-t-Ok/платок). This is can be a subtle or bold look that has been in Russian or Eastern European fashion as early as the 16th century. Additionally, Soviet and post-Soviet fashion have perpetuated this vibrant head-covering and scarf style well into the modern-day.Te_Deum_Elizarovo_Guslitsa_8484

Originally, the traditional head-covering (platok) was introduced around the time in which the Eastern Orthodox Church had a large influence. Although the church was founded in 988 AD in Russia, it is important to note that customs weren’t adopted until later. The church was a large influence on culture and the way men and women conducted themselves, this included their dress. The dress-code primarily called women to cover their heads before entering into a church or a monastery. Early Christians read 1 Corinth. 11:5, which states, “every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head…” (“Women’s Headcoverings”). As a result, women wore the platok not only in the church (the presence of the Lord), but in public to show her obedience and humility to God. Another reason the platok stood the test of time is because of its convenience. If one is working, this garment will keep your hair out of the way and prevent it from being damaged. Additionally, this look can conceal your hair, perfect for those days when one doesn’t want to clean or style their hair (this is my personal favorite reason).

 For modern-day use and appeal, the Soviet Union continued to encourage the platok or


Collective farms during the 1930s (kolhozi/колхозы)

sharf combination. As a side note, even if church was not officially practiced during the Soviet period, having a platok was functional to last the cold and frigid winters, which we all know Russians have successfully conquered.


During the Stalinist era, the functional appeal of platki (plural version of platok) was emphasized. Things such as “petty tutelage” was a contemporary Soviet term for administrative micro-management into the daily and personal affairs of
the citizenry and the bureaucrats desired to control people’s fashion (Fitzpatrick, 33-3494756934). Therefore, such platki were a practical solution to keep women’s hair
up while working in the factory, industry or on the farms. This micro-management of the public’s dress had its advantages as society was learning culture and hygienic practices. During the Khrushchev Era (1960s), magazines like Woman Worker (Работница) or Peasant Woman (Крестьянка) frequently displayed women wearing platki, which matched their outfits throughout the day.


The main character, Katya from Moscow doesn’t Believe in Tears 

As one watches the acclaimed classic Moscow doesn’t Believe in Tears (Москва слезам не верит), they will see Katya (the main character) wears her platok while at work and changes into another platok that suits her outfit of leisure. This emphasis on different outfits was originally designed to promote cleanliness and well-dressed individual.

As for today, Russia’s more contemporary style has taken these platki into the couture side of fashion. Designers like Ulyana Sergeenko (Уляна Сергиенко) and Slava Zaitsev (Слава Зайцев) have captured the look of Russian women braving the cold in fashion while sporting western style outfits. These designs traditionally appear in Russian designers’ fall collections (without fail), be they scarves or head coverings.
 These pieces are used in traditional church setting and in the Soviet Union based on their functionality. That is to wear shawls and platki during the winter to abate the winter’s chilling effect. As a result, designers have synthesized aesthetic beauty and functionalism of this garment to create a piece for the public that is unique, yet fashion forward for the future.
To learn how to wear you headdress or scarf today at my youtube channel:
Works Cited
“Women’s Headcoverings.” The Orthodox Life. February 04, 2014. Accessed June 04, 2016.
Fitzpatrick, Sheila. Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Additional information and shopping:
Church traditional head-coverings:
Russian shops for head-coverings or scarves:
An American’s experience in Russia, the teacher goes to church:

The Fashion Tsarina’s Introduction Blog

Hello everyone! My name is Mallory Wetherington and I specialize in Russian language and culture. I am a lifetime learner of anything Russian, in particular Russian fashion. I desire to showcase diverse aspects of Russian and Soviet culture using a particular viewpoint or perspective. My loves are fashion and tea. My goal is to provide a window into Russian imperialist fashion, Soviet fashion and modern or post-Soviet fashion. Russia’s cultural and historical uniqueness has placed their fashion in a category that is not found in western cultural style, yet it is deeply admired and should be found in every experienced fashionista’s wardrobe. Simple pieces such as the head wraps or scarves add instant cultural sophistication and appeal to your outfits, while maintaining beauty and elegance. Additionally, cultural fashion pieces cannot be properly synthesized into one’s wardrobe without the explanation of their origin, function and recreation on the fashion scene in the Twenty-first century. My blog will provide an insiders approach into garments, vêtements (clothing), and hats during a specific period of time. As a result, when we begin to discuss and research Russian fashion, you will learn more than ‘babushka’ or ‘do svidaniya’- that means I will use some Russian to convey meaning and ideas. Due to the cultural and fashion shifts in Russia (like in most countries), one may consider combining different styles simultaneously as eclectic. However, this blog should be used by each fashionista to take and recreate the fashion of Russia’s past and present and modernize accessorize it. This will help to individualize and add an ideological statement about you and your style.

Since my blog delves into Russia at its core, it would not be complete without tea (чай). I will incorporate my passion of tea because it not only tastes refreshing, but it is an essential part of Russian culture and way of life. Specifically, my methods for blogging will include pictures, recommended books, articles, clothes, tea and any useful products through reviews on these items.

Please join me as I begin my blogging journey. It will not be a one-sided monologue, you are an insider too; and as models share their clothes, we will share facts and information about various topics in the fashion world.