Folk costumes from Poland

Via Postcrossing I received a 40-year oldFolk costumes from Poland postcard from Leszno, Poland, which shows different folk costumes. Folk costumes are often associated with a geographical area or a period of time in history. It is a way in which an identity can be expressed. This is also the case for clothing in general. One example is a school uniform, which clearly shows that the wearer is a student.

Clothing can also be a symbol of one’s culture, for example the wedding dress. A handy classification of cultural differences is the onion-Onion-model (Hofstede)model of Hofstede (1). Symbols are the outer shell of a culture; they are easily created and disappear easily as well, and only have meaning for members of that culture. For example, the red colour of a wedding dress, which is common in eastern cultures, symbolizes auspiciousness.

Do you have any examples of how clothing symbolises your culture? Have you seen shifts over time?

(1) Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences. Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.


  1. […] One thing you can do well in the region is downhill skiing. The card tells me about the famous Finnish downhill skier, Eero Mäntyranta (1937-2013) – “our local big sportsman”, who won seven medals in four Winter Olympics. He even got nicknamed Mr Seefeld, after the venue of the 1964 Winter Olympics where he was very successful. A good example of a “hero” in Hofstede’s onion! […]

  2. […] Nadya writes that her postcard is a vintage ad of galoshes, which were very popular in Russia (USSR) in the last century. They are now mostly worn in villages and have disappeared elsewhere. As I can’t read Russian, I can’t really determine whether the ad is for galoshes (a rubber overshoe) or for valenki – traditional Russian footwear which can be worn with galoshes but are made of wool felt and not waterproof. They are less and less worn because of their association with ‘rustic dress’ but also because winters in Central Russia turned softer and wetter, so there was more need for waterproof footwear (1). This is a nice example of how the environment – in this case the climate – influences culture and their symbols! […]

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