This article brings into scientific circulation information from manuscripts that are kept in the Archives of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg (dated to 1848, 1849), the Institute of Manuscripts from the Library of the Academy Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine (dated to 1884), and the Archive of the Mikluho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology in Moscow (dated to 1889). The topic of clothing etiquette is treated in the larger frame of etiquette and social communication in order to point out the relationships which they determine.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the folk dress, as celebratory clothing, and a mark of ethnic identity, passed even deeper into the passive sphere. Only the elderly continued to maintain its full functions. Meanwhile, socially active groups (youth and working adults) wore traditional pieces underneath, and overtop-industrially produced pieces, marked by modernity and lacking the nexus of traditional symbolism. Due to many historical and socio-economic factors, this complex process unfolded at different speeds throughout Bessarabian settlements, being monitored by the Russian empires ideology of denationalization and the inevitable rhythms of modernity.
The research of the manuscripts allowed the identification of some clothing pieces, and revealed ways in which the components of traditional clothing were integrated. These data are very useful for the reconstruction of folk costume in Moldova.