Traditional female, male and children’s dress make up the Falk Costume Collection, the so – called Collection No. 17th. The collection consists of approximately 2 400 items which form two main groups. The first includes full sets of men’s, women’s and children’s costumes from the different regions of the territories populated by Bulgarians. The second features separate elements of the Bulgarian traditional dress.
Traditional costumes, the so – called nosii in Bulgarian, are classified by gender: men’s, women’s with the addition of children’s costumes. There are about one hundred and fifty full sets of costumes.
The majority are women’s costumes, which are divided in three main groups: one – apron and two – apron, sukman and saya costumes. This classification is based on the classification of the different types of traditional dress in Bulgarian ethnographic literature.
The first group includes women’s one – apron and two- apron costumes from Northern Bulgaria where this type of costume is the most popular: the areas of Vidin, Lom, Vratsa, Lovech, Pleven, Nikopol, Veliko Tarnovo and Ruse, as well as the Dobrudzha Plain.
The sukman costumes are from the areas of Tran, Breznik, Sofia, Samokov, Ihtiman, Smolyan, Stara Zagora, Yambol, Elhovo, Karnobat, Troyan, Gabrovo and elsewhere.
This collection also includes full set or separate elements of the costume of the Bulgarian population originating from the territories that now are beyond the boundaries of the Republic of Bulgaria.
These are mainly women’s costumes of refugees and settlers from Macedonia – the areas of Debar, Bitola, Prilep (now in the Republic of Macedonia), of Lerin and Kostur (now in Greece). There are also singular costumes from Aegean Thrace, Northern Dobrudzha, the Western Outlands, and the region of Banat, as well as of the 19th century refugees and settlers from the Asia Minor coast.
Men’s costumes are considerably fewer in number. They are divided in two groups: white - dress (belodreshni) and black – dress (chernodreshni), as they are defined in ethnographic literature. The first group includes costumes from the areas of Tran and Vidin, and the second mostly from Thrace, the areas of Tetevan, Samokov and elsewhere.
The children’s costumes are also few. In the large Bulgarian families, children’s clothes were handed down until they were fully worn out. That is why only several, but incomplete, little girls’ costumes from the areas of Tran, Elhovo, Pleven, and Lom from the late 19th and the early 20th century have been preserved in the museum collection. A child’s two – apron costume from the town of Lom is among the last receipts in the collection.
The second group which includes separate elements of traditional costumes, is divided into small collections on a functional basis: shirts and chemises; main articles of women’s costume (such as aprons, sukmani, sai and dresses) and of men’s costume ( different type of trousers such as poturi, benevretsi;jackets, waistcoats, the so – called menteta ); overcoats – the so – called yamurlutsi (hooded cloaks), klashnitsi, kontoshi, etc.; waistbands and bands; socks. Two jackets of Ivan Georgiev Silyanov, a participant in the 1903 Ilinden – Preobrazhenie Uprising are the last receipts in the museum collection.