From the end of the 17th century, the sarafan has been one of the key elements comprising the traditional dress of Russian women. Typically made from thick, silk damask and constructed as a sleeveless shift or a skirt with long straps, it was worn with a shirt, belt and apron, and was heavily lined to create the profile of the garment and to prevent it from creasing. Embellishments often included buttons, metallic thread embroidery, lace and wide strips of colourful silk fabric, which also served to hold the garment in place around the body. Usually sarafans were red, as typically worn by a bride at a wedding, or blue. In the 18th and early 19th century, elaborate silk and brocade sarafans were the preferred festive costume of the women of the northern and central provinces of Russia, but by the end of the 19th century they had become prevalent throughout the country.