The term Vyshyvanka refers specifically to the cross-stitched shirts that have been an important part of Slavic culture throughout the centuries dating as far back as the 5th century BC. Ukraine in particular is famous for its exquisite cross stitch skills and designs.
Different regions would have specific motifs and thread colors that were unique to them. In times past you would be able to identify where a person was from based on the cross stitch/embroidery style of their clothing. The threads used were typically dyed using natural elements from that area and you can see these items reflected in the design patterns on the clothing. Commonly used items were things such as leaves, berries, and bark.
The Vyshyvanka was used to tell a story and it was also believed that it would protect the person wearing it.
Wearing cross-stitched clothing continues to be very popular in Eastern Europe even today. In fact, in Ukraine, there is a holiday celebrated in late May (this year it will be held on May 20, 2021) dedicated to the cross-stitched shirt. The holiday is Vyshyvanka Day, it was started in the early 2000s and was intended to show patriotism and to unite Ukrainians all over the world by holding fast to their national identity.
On Vyshyvanka Day all of Ukraine dresses in their national clothing, from the President down to the little children, even statues and trees are outfitted with cross-stitched clothing on this day.
Cross-stitched/embroidered clothing is making a strong comeback as a fashion trend and is becoming more popular every year. The modern designs of the Vyshyvanka are quickly taking their place as a common part of everyday apparel around the world.