I'm researching the clothing of 16th-century Ottoman clothing, and I keep getting Potur and Şalvar as "trousers." Was there a difference between them or were the words synonymous?

  • 4
    It would help to link to the best definitions you've found so far. It appears to me that potur are gathered at the knee and approximate jodphurs; Salvar are baggy and gathered at the ankle. Salvar appear to be unisex; can't tell with potur.
    – MCW
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 15:00
  • This source was the most helpful: issendai.com/16thcenturyistanbul Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 7:52
  • I couldn't find any written sources to confirm this, but a Bulgarian historian told me that (in Bulgarian) "poturi" are gathered at the knee and "shalvari" are gathered at the ankle like you said. I'm just not sure that Turkish-speaking people used the terms the same way. Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 7:54
  • 1
    please edit clarifications into the question. All the information needed to answer the question should be in the question; comments get deleted.
    – MCW
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 7:58
  • 2
    I looked into a Turkish dictionary. Your note is true, there are same distinctions in Turkish.
    – Ayhan
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 7:46

2 Answers 2


Sirwal, also saroual,1 seroual, sarouel or serouel3 (Arabic: سِرْوَال‎ (sirwāl); Persian: شلوار‎ (šalvâr); Kurdish: شه‌واڵ‎ (shawal); Urdu: شلوار‎ (shalwâr); Turkish: şalvar; Kazakh: шалбар (şalbar); Bengali: সালোয়ার (shalwar)), also known as punjabi pants and, in some contexts, as (a subtype of) Harem pants, are a form of baggy trousers predating the Christian era.
enter image description here

While a potur (Ottoman پوتور) was mainly in the Ottoman Empire a Slav converted to Islam, who still preferred to wear his peasant white linen trousers (in contrast to the usual Ottoman trousers). The name Potur was usually used by simple farmers or settlers. It comes from the Turkish and designates a slack pleated trousers (turkish potur; poturlu, someone wearing flaccid pants). Compare them to harem pants with a mixture of front pleat trousers when worn by men. But apparently both sexes could wear them in public without issue.

enter image description hereenter image description here
left: Wikipedia: Bulgarian from Sofia, right: drawing of Bulgar in poturs

More on this on Karadeniz Bölgesi Geleneksel Giyim Kuşam Şözlügü


According to a Turkish dictionary, Potur are baggy above the knee and Şalvar are baggy all the way to the ankle.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.