My Photo

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

« Ukrainian Propaganda Posters | Main | Orange Devolution »

11 July 2006


Fretted bone

Thank you for this post.
I wonder if, in search of the explanation for Devushka style, it would help to look closer at the situation in Moscow.

Warsaw, Prague or Budapest were all part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the Communist regime lasted shorter there, and they are also geographically more in the West.
So they don’t work as ideal comparative group (change of fashion style in these capitals over the past decade could be either followed or totally ignored by Ukrainian women).

Moscow, on the other hand, could do the trick.
Do the women in Moscow, after 15 years of exposure to Vogue and Cosmo and MTV and Fashion TV and well, any Western brands, still like to sport Devushka fashion? Does anybody reading this blog know?

Fretted bone


Ukrainian and Russian girls do not only dress much better than their average counterparts in Western Europe (especially: Berlin, Amsterdam. London)they also are much more relaxed on sending out sexual signals via their dressing.

In Communist time the so-called "moral" hang often pretty low, not to forget the free love attitudes of the system in the 20s, 30s, in war time etc. Sex was something nobody of the system could forbid (exept worried parents to their teenagers maybe) HIV did not exist then. So sex was just a pleasure and the roles pretty clear.

Probably there can be found a lot of Devushka-style in Italy, Spain, Greece too.

It makes not much sense to me to compare and judge those different cultures and dressing codes as it is less about East or West, but more about accepted role schematas.


Very interesting question there Fretted. In my experience, Moscow is ground zero for Devushka style. It's like it was invented there, and Kyiv is probably light years behind the fashions there.

But let's consider the influence of magazines. I've noticed that Russian Cosmo is much sluttier than its English language cousins. I think the market drives the content in Russian Cosmo and Vogue, rather than the other way around. Slavic women don't want to dress like men, so the relatively tame content of US Vogue or Cosmo or Elle wouldn't fly here.

But really, even US Cosmo and MTV show a lot of Devushka style, only in the west no one over the age of 20 wears them. If you can't dress slutty when you're 20, when can you? But but the time you have a real job, it might be time to strap down those boobies and add a 6 inches to the skirt.


When it comes to Russian women's fashion (only been to Russia, can't comment on the rest of the FSU) I always think their motto is a mistranslation of the Olympis motto: Higher, Shorter, Tighter, (and maybe Lower).
I even tried to blend into St. Petersburg once by wearing 3 inches spike heel boots (bought in the US, so tame by Russian standards) for a day that I ended up walking about 7 km. My feet have never hurt so much in all my life.
Once when I was in Budapest, on the Castle Hill, I could identify the Russian tour group before I heard them. Only Russian women can wear those stillettos on cobblestones and not break their ankles. Most of the Hungarian women I noticed, when wearing heels would have lower and wider heels. This was in 2005.


Anna, if you read russian, has some links on a footrace in Moscow, open only to those in the "national footwear" -- stilettos.

"This weekend saw a stiletto run, organised by glossy magazine, Glamour, in conjunction with department store GUM, Love Radio and Reso Insurance. The run (in central Moscow's 32 Celsius heat this Saturday) took the form of a 100m sprint, on stiletto heels of 9cm or over, for a first prize of RUB 100,000 (USD 3,725) of GUM vouchers, with other prizes awarded for most stylish runner, best shoes and will to win.

"In case readers missed this weekend's run, two further rounds take place in St Petersburg on 22 July and Novosibirsk on 23 July."


Glamour Stiletto Run on high Heels. Moscow. Red Square. 08.07.2006

Annie D

My sister just returned from Ukraine. I also watch the Sopranos. So I am quite familiar with the Devushka. While I am intrigued by the women's fashion (which mirrors that of a little suburb called SeaTac), I am more interested in the male fascination with the MESH SHIRTS!!! Is this a true sighting? Or did my little sister drink too much Stoli in the Block?


The male mesh sighting mentioned above was sadly no mirage. They are not as prevalent as they were a couple of years back especially in the larger cities but you can still spot them. Sadly, male fashion in Russia is nonexistent (unless you consider mesh shirts fashion). As far as devushka style, I've noticed a strong correlation between how a provincial a town is and the extent of devushka style. For example, Moscow has more girls now that look casual or dress in business style, while the smaller resort towns (full of locals or girls from Ekaterinburg or Chelyabinsk among others) are dressier.

Mike Martlet

Your use of the word "West" as in "Kyiv twentysomething woman give off visual cues that are inextricably linked with streetwalkers in the west" is problematic! You mean “America” and specifically the USA not "the West".

You can find young British women dressed this way every night of the week, but particularly Friday and Saturday nights, in most large cities and towns in the UK (particularly Northern ones). Many of my university students (BA Business Studies) dress this way in the evening, though not usually for lectures etc.

As to 45 degree ice pick shoes, my 50 something wife wears 3 or 4 inch stilettos every day for her work as a college lecturer; she has an Master of Science Degree in Information Systems in Management! My boss, the Faculty Dean (PhD, MBA etc..), also wears 3 inch stilettos most days as does the Pro-vice Chancellor of the University. These are successful women and don't need to shed their femininity to get on.

Don't confuse your sometimes rather quaint and outmoded Mid-West USA attitudes (no doubt propagated by your curious anachronistic continued addiction to religion) with those of secular Western European nations.


Well as i see "Devushka" style anyway better than So Loved by Americans
T-Shirt and Sweatpants with big letters across the ass style, if you can call it a style.
Woman in Europe know how to dress, and be attractive.
I think people here in US should be little be more outgoing and curios about style.

le poulet noir

Mike Martlet has missed the point. British women can and do dress like tarts, but their enthusiasm for revealing clothes is both less extreme and less frequent than in Moscow.

One theory I heard from a friend living in Riga, Latvia, is that ex-Soviet bloc women have inherited the fashions that came about after the sexual revolution in the West in the 1960s but not the political awakening that went with it. So in the West women dress how they want as an expression of freedom, which entails a freedom not to be treated as a sex object. In Moscow or Kiev, the right to dress like a tart was not won in a gender battle, but as part of a broader economic one.

Mr. European Vanity

My, my, aren't the Euro-whiners here a touchy bunch.

Upset that the article left out how masculine your women look, too? High heels may be feminine, but no amount of altitude will make your gargoyles look hot.

This is gonna hurt, but here goes: The average, healthy, sane male would NEVER go to Europe to find a woman. Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe--yes. But never the spoilt, abrasive, ghastly beasts of your side of the continent.

Soon, though, the hijab will improve their appearance.


..where men are men and women are women. I live in the country where everything is made equal (Sweden), in a disgusting way. And so the women here are wondering why they are met like a beerbuddy: they look like and they are like. Maybe I should move to Ukraina.


Right. Now just try to compare American and Ukrainian fashion. Most women try to wear the last examples of the contemporary European designers. Sometimes this may look stupid for representative of the Jeans, T-Shirt, and Big Truck with a Big Trunk nation. But for me staying in US and observing American girls in absolutely unfemale clothes was neither funny. Ukrainian girls mostly have beautiful bodies and have less to hide unlike most of American girls who usually wear baggy style clothes that will never show them from the pretty side. Highly developed feminism led your country to the edge. Unisex clothes are never more fashionable or good-looking than things designed for girls. Also you'd better divide Kyiv fashion and village fashion of girls coming to our town on tour or just for few days they do often look stupid, I agree.

Here you can see some examples of how do kyivites look like:
, this will probably cure some misunderstandings. It is always pleasant to know when people from other nations understand and make their suggestions referring to something more sophisticated than just a first impression.


i went to ukraine, in kiev at summer 2005. i felt impressive about girls look. the sluttiest one can imagine... i saw something...i tought about a pornstar contest ? that was exiting of a technical school. that go up to platform, stiletto heeled shoes. i saw more and more during my journey. i even saw girls tanning naked around a small pond surrounded by 15 store towers...surrealistic. but i'll just describe the most impressive : buying some foods in a small supermarket, i crossed a mother, young son and 12, perhaps 13 yo daughter. very nice blond haired girl with still a really baby face. i got surprised seeing this girl wearing crop t-shirt, tight, no more than 15 inch long mini skirt and most of all 4 inch stiletto heels sandals. not so common for a girl that age, even in kiev. the best (?)is to come : 2 days later, coming back from downtown kiev at 10 PM i advise walking down to us a young woman and 2 teeny girls. i hardly recognized in the girls the one from the supermarket, this time not only wearing the same high heeled sandals, but a denim micro skirt that time some 10 inch long -i saw after crossing that it left exposed the lower curves of her cheeks- and a midlong sleeves, jogging style tight sweater that ended just under the chest. furthermore, she was heavily maked up and was smoking a cigarette ! i won't forget that for a while, among lots of arousing girls. what made me raher surprised is that boys always didn't care about such provocative looking girls.


re:"Don't Ukrianian women, especially professionals, ee any downsides to being perceived as a sex object first, a competant employee second or third?"

Jesus, this phrase is a typical template that is to be put in an average head of an average fat MTV kentucky girl, so that she doenst feel uncomfortable eating another 3000 calolries per 3 hours while there are lot of pretty, successfull and intelligent women in the Europe, who dont afraid of still being the woman and can successfully combine sexy look with intellect.
there is even no need to read further.

tania  Morgan

Saw this comment by chance and was in shok.
It seemed for me ( do not take me wrong ) as it was written by complete looser who in normal life even would be affraid to talk to pretty girl but using power of internet to slug everybody.
To be honest I have been out yesterday in Nottingham. few days ago in London, Amsterdam.
I wish I took camera with me to make pictures of local beauty queens .
They imiges are complete disaster.
Ukrainian the fatest pregnant women will look better than half of them!!!
To be honest I would like to bet auther of this article for 1000£ that if I take pictures and will compare them with provided by him - he will look like complete full sluging ukrainian love to beautiful body and summer clothers.


What the heck??? Honestly why you got to be so freaking racist??? do you have nothing better to talk about??? Look at what is going on in america and let me tell you that its not sooooo much better! In ukraine there are plenty of women who dress very fashionable, and many business looking kind of women!!! Whos fault is it that you had nothing better on your hands than to take pics of such women, anyone can go to some place and find slutty looking women and making horrible generalizations!!! How much better is hollywood????


I am ukrainian. I bad speek english.

So. It is real problem of Ukraine. Girls are going crazy in aspiration for men. They have incorrectly opinion, that men want a nude wooman. Logic is simple - I show my leg, he marry me. It is stupidous competition in topless.

Every day in fixed-run taxi it repeats. Is she fat, thin, she doesn't care.
In future, I think, they would dress nothing to increase attention. Tendency.

But. Not everybody go crazy. I don't want whorish девушку.

P.S. Девушкин стиль - not exact words. It is hyper-feminine style.

Девушка - old word, that contain decency, restraint...


My my my! So much steam over the Ukrainian devoushki fashion style! I want to point something important out. In the West, most relationships are based on superficial sex and so women dress according to their desires. ie: I want to make money for sex, I dress like what my culture perceives as a prostitute. Or, I want to be considered a stay at home mom who has already landed a husband, I put on the sweats and baggy t-shirts.

Before you start debating on devoushki dress style, you need to understand what devoushkism actually is. It is not a ploy or plan to mate or make money through sex. It is a style that a woman can really express who she is from the inside out not from the outside in like Western women.

There are as many devoushka fashion styles as there are devoushki. Please don't lump trashy devoushki in with the REAL ones!

SIster Des

Sorry, greece and italy has high fashion style/ casual style, no women that can be mistaken for slutty circus clowns. Moscow was amusing, Petrograd was worse.


Rocco, that link was an interesting read but the guy comes off as a complete and total tool. Why must expats be so uncoth and hypercritial about everything (US, FSU, girls fashion). From the US to the FSU to Turkey - where is his next stop, outer Mongolia? He likes to collect carpets, small dogs and comments on Ukrainian girls fashion like an amped up drag queen - he mentioned he has a wife who doesn't live with him, that is such a surprise - shouldn't he be in Thailand? :)



I am amazed at the criticism of the Devushki style. Women here dress as women.

They all have fantastic bodies and obviously love to show it off. In Ukraine we have saying, the average Ukrainian women is stunning. I work with girls that are more beautiful than most models but they are accountants or lawyers

Also as men here are used to it, they would be more suprised if a woman would dress in the boring conservative style you see in the West.

To foreigners it many appear strange but to Ukrainians it isn't. I remember being in London with my wife, whom dress conservatively for a Ukrainian women, ie skirts to the knees and proper blouses, and all she could say was how boring women dressed in London.

But then again you can also go out in London, especially on a Saturday night, and see the same sort of style, minus the 6 inch stilettos of course as only Russian and Ukrainian women can handle them (even seen them walking down an ice covered street in the middle of winter without falling over).

The difference is the the Ukrainian women look better for it as they just have better bodies. They really do take pride in their bodies, my wife got upset with herself that she got uo to 61kg(134 pounds) over the winter, she is 177cm (5.8ft) tall. This puts her still at the low end of normal in BMI.

beautiful ukrianian

Maybe I should start a forum "a woman - no- style" and enclose the pictures of some overweight American women with no style whatsoever? :) Maybe a person writing this nasty story that is just not real at all ]is one of them?

This says it all

Got a point? :)


Interesting article....gross imagery about the stretch marks


Sure, girls look somewhat reveling, but that is the stile in Ukraine. Deal with it. I am.

Dr. Doc

are camel toes still in style?


This article is a perfect example of how certain segements of the human race should not continue to infest us with there perverse obssesion with human sexuality.

Dude, get over yourself. You have major issues particularly with women. There is no greater amount of abuse towards women than the fanatical muslem cultures worldwide. It is a poison in this world and it needs to be stopped


different cultures means different styles. i really do not unerstand why people think that its so bad. not all of the girls in ukraine do it.
because in america the same thing is going on. with 12 year olds!!!
saying things like this about ukraine puts a bad reputation on my country.
but it still will never be as bad as the reputation america has!!


wow. american women are hideous. fat. and deffinately outstyled. you religion obsessed americans are getting on my nerves. we as ukrainian and russian women are considered some of the most beautiful in the world and your closed minded, outdated "traditions" of women dressing like men is disgusting. you dont value female beauty.

JTV Coupons Girl

The biggest thing to me is being true to yourself. That is the goal that I have every day and I hope I accomplish that.

Russian Girls

The Russian girls are most beautiful and stylish ways.....



Yana i respect how you put in a nice way about Devushka style about Us Ukranian Girls...BUt who are you to judge us when your woman dresses like i dont know what..Sweat shirts and Dirty Close...Dont say i lie becouse i go to store and i see Woman looking like a men..We are not afraid of anyone who judges us becouse well at least we show our woman side where most American woman hide it under ugly close.Ok..America is a great country no questions.But so is Ukraine, respect what we wear and if you critique our stlys first of all look at WOMAN AOURND you.American woman not all like that.There are some girls/woman that have sense of girly..But most of then crossed the line.Also if you vote around World..Who would most men prefer- a Ukranian/Russian girl in mini skirt with nice Ukranian shirt or girl in jeans and sweat shirt...Think about it..I think you know what the answer would be.
Im not trying to be mean but respect us Ukranian/Russian girls. Im not saying that all Ukranian/Russian girls are "hot" or sexy" there are some that are diffrent but no country has perfect people.

That was all i wanted you to know.I dont care if you like it or not.It does not bother me at all.If you want respect back at least show some first =)

One of Ukranina girls


Oh and thank to evryone else who support me in my comment above.Or who at least understands my point and stick up for Us!!! =)


i still see plenty of polish white socks here in britain. and should I mention the polish girls are very very distinctive in the street.


I am an emigrant from the one of the FSU republics, living in America, and I spent a few years in Kiev, Ukraine, prior to the move. So, here is my opinion on the topic.
Without discussing the mainstream fashion preferences of Europeans and Americans - they are different, I can see what bothers Westerners at large in "Devushka" style, but this style has very well defined reasons.
1. In comparison to available and socially adjusted women, there are comparatively small number of men these women can compete for. This tendency started after WW2, when there were, in fact, physical shortage of men, and continued into modern times, when the proportions of men and women in the society evened, but psychology stayed the same. At the same time, due to worse male adaptability to change (I wonder if there were any studies done on it - but this is a well-known fact for immigrants), the collapse of Soviet Union, and all the mess that followed created a whole generation of men unable to take responsibility for a family, leaving only a fraction of physically strong capable males a lot of women are competing for. So, the clothing is a means of competition for those women.
2. The generation who grew up in Soviet Union in the era of drab locally produced clothing, and limited choices, welcomed the colorfulness and variety offered after the collapse of FSU with zest. Even current generation, who grew up in the 90's in the epoch of very bad economy, compensates now with the rise of consumption in the areas their mothers were deprived in.
3. The sexual revolution, which happened in the West in 1960-s, is tamed there, but the wave is on the rise in the FSU countries. They missed it back then, largely because of absence of what fueled it in the first place - wide availability of contraceptives. I remember the times when condoms were nowhere to be found, and oral contraceptives where sold under the table at prohibitively expensive prices. Now, however, Eastern Europe is catching up...
There may be other reasons as well, but in my opinion this is what is driving the development of "Devushka" style

Wow, this all this sweaty outrage over heel angle and patriotic backfat or professed absence thereof! Free your minds and your arses will follow, people, thonged or unthonged. Here's some tips.

- The fact that a certain segment of eastern bloc women dress like skanks is undeniable and, unfortunately, mirrored by a sister cohort in the west, who should know better, since they've been able to choose what to wear far longer than most. The fact that western girls (and now some of their eastern counterparts) CAN choose what to wear is the important thing here. Besides, if it weren't for devushkas making the rest of us look tasteful/intelligent/discerning, we really WOULD have to wear overalls. So cheers, hoes :-) and keep it up. You're wearing gladiator heels so I dont have to.

-Straight men have little to no taste in clothes. Im sorry, it's just a biological fact. Hence their devushka devotion, and all the hairy chest beating going on here. My partner, in spite of his university education, otherwise sound visual values and my heavy-handed feminsty dominion, will check skanks out when they ooze/clack past on the street. He cant help it. A love of feminine trashiness is buried in his chromosomes and I just cant hold that against him. It's when they start trying to sublimate it and make us dress like 2 star hotel beds that I get pissed off.

-Every scrap of inhabited land has it's share of unattractive women. East, west, south, whatever. Sometimes theyre unattractive because theyre skanky, sometimes because theyre fat/thin/old/young/smart/dumb, depending on the circumstance. But there's one thing you can be absolutely sure of. They will be utterly, utterly outnumbered by unattractive men. Look around. You know Im right! So hey, if you're packing a nutsack, you're not qualified to comment. Go have a shave or at least a shower and dont bitch about girls until you're prettier than us.

What else?? Oh yeah- Im not American or European. That may confuse some of you, but remember, there ARE other places, and we think you're hilarious, when you're not dumping your nuclear waste near us or trying to subvert our democratic process ;-) (You know who you are) If only people cared about deforestation or overpopulation as much as they seem to do about sluttiness. It's only a miniskirt- it might tickle your gag reflex and poison your dreams but it cant explode in a crowded market or behead you for enjoying sex or set up a petrochemical plant in your backyard. Isn't that a relief??


Heh. Have you ever been to Macau? Macau, currently, is full of Devushki. But here's the interesting thing - many of them are Russian or Ukrainian, but many of them are local, or mainland Chinese. Same short, tight skirts (though more hotpants among the asians), same ridiculous heels, same rhinestone encrusting.

Even more entertainingly, it's prevalent also among the Cirque Russian acrobats. There are few things more ... fascinating than the height of devushki style worn by a young lady who is 4'11" and as broad across the shoulders as I am. I suppose if you have decades of training invested in your thigh muscles, you want to show them off.

But macho Russian men, to my eye, dress like they are headed to an upmarket gay bar. Very chic, very stylish, very effeminate.

I wish I had found your blog before going to Istanbul. Perhaps I shall have to return and see it through your eyes.


This is why I love Russia and the Ukraine! One cannot dress this way in Germany without being ill-treated by men and women alike. I love that open-mindedness of the Russians.

John Jensen

Well, I go reguĺarly to Ukraine, as I am married to an ukrainian woman. Highly educated, good looks and proud of it, sees nothing wrong in showing it. The deduschka style is still in, and as you say there's is no such thing as too short, low, or tight.
I saw a pretty small typical south ukrainian girl - small, well-turned, black hair and brown eyes - working at a gas station, filling up trucks with diesel fuel. Big rubber boots, heavy overall and rubber gloves - but earrings, lipstick and mascara. Even if you have a dirty job, you can still look good.

Paul McCartney got i right "Ukrainian girls - they leave the west behind".

Mads Skjern

Coming to Europe, especially eastern Europe which a pretty large chunk of Russia is part of, must be a shock if your background is mid-west USA.
In eastern Europe women are women and men are men and look like it. Women have for decades been equals in the working environment, many of them are highly educated professionals and they don't need to look like or act like men to be recognised for their professional skills. They have an opinion on looks, and if they have gorgeous looks, which a huge part of them have, why hide it?

I live in Denmark, luckily not in politically correct Sweden or Norway. My wife is a highly educated professional I met in Russia. She sports 3" heels and sometimes skirts not much higher - not at work due to dreess code, but as soon as she leves work. She doesn't need it to attract men, she got me(!), but as she says: I have a good body- why should I hide it in a burka-like tent?
I am a little older than her she's 30 I'm 50, and I wear clothes fitting a flat stomach. Why be so outraged of women dressing to fit their figure? I get queasy when I see 20 year old young US og Wewstern women wearing size 42 and a XXL t-shirt that should have been XXXL, while eating the bigges icecream you can get. Imagene what happens when they turn 40, two seats on the plane and three in the bus? 95F bra?


"Women who don't cover their heads in Muslim cultures are often believed to be whores, an assumption I find medieval."

Wow, this is just one of the MANY ignorant things in this article. I'm a Muslim who doesn't wear the hijab and, believe me, Muslim men of all cultures don't treat me like a whore.


It seems that fatty-murrican-style is considered as more natural by the author. Yeah, you are right, Europe is slutty just because girls are prettier.


од вы все тупые

lol. as a Ukrainian girl, I can say that this exists. but this style is not rampant all over the country, not all Ukrainian girls dress in this style. I hope this is an obvious thing, lol.

I love my culture very much, there are so many great characteristics of my culture, but this style of dress is a very negative characteristic. it's unfortunate that it exists in the definition of the Ukrainian culture/stereotype.

i'm quite embarrassed. it's shameful for me when the stereotype of the woman in my culture is "beautiful" or "sexy" or in this case something much more offensive, because of the way a small portion of the woman population chooses to dress. I don't dress like this.

and like in Ukraine, a small population does it. in all countries, small populations also do things like this. in US it exists, too, other parts of Europe and Asia. you know this. every country has a prostitution business, every country has girls who aspire to be prostitutes (either consciously to support her 2 kids or subconsciously when she shops for what she thinks are "cute" clothes because they are advertised and approved by society, but really they are pieces of fabric barely covering anything)

this is not "open-mindedness." this is disgusting. i feel sad that some women think it's ok to dress in such ways, to become food in the eyes of men, to make them drool and think of them as sex objects. this is plain stupidity. clearly, no self-respect. if this is what they want, ok, but it is sad. if inside they feel like they are prostitutes and they want to "express" themselves as such through their style, then this style is perfect for them.

there is something about modesty and self-respect that is beautiful, I don't know, that is my philosophy.

The comments to this entry are closed.