Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Polish Folk Dress

They could be family. They could be friends. This photo was from my Grand Aunt Mary's collection and there is no information on it. The photo was taken in Poland, I don't know when. WWI? WWII? Sometime in between? I'm leaning towards the WWII era because I don't think hemlines were quite that short in the late 1910s or the early 1920s. The gentleman's military uniform could be a clue. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about Polish army uniforms to be able to date it.

One thing puzzles me about this photo and the others from Mary's collection. Mary's family was from the southern area of Poland, near Krakow. But the vertical stripes in these skirts and all the others from her collection are more indicative of the ethnic dresses from the Lowicz region (central region) of Poland. I'm certainly no expert on Polish folk dress but it strikes me as a bit odd.

The gal on the right is wearing a long white veil which is not typical of the ethnic dress of either the southern or central areas. I'm wondering if she was "crowned" for a festival or perhaps she was just married in her best dress (this is not a typical wedding dress).

Folk dresses like these would have been worn for any and all special occasions, especially religious and harvest festivals. Small children wore them, old Busias (grandmothers) wore them, and all ages of women in between wore them. The older women would have worn a much longer hem length though ;-)

Written for the 10th Edition of the Smile for the Camera carnival.


  1. Wonderful photos, Jasia! Good info on the typical Polish dress, too. Take a look at my Grandfather with his sisters over at Genealogy Traces.


  2. Terrific picture and again thanks for the Polish history lesson! No matter what they were certainly enjoying themselves! Thanks for sharing friend!

  3. Jasia,

    Great picture! I'd like to see a larger version of it to try to decipher the uniform. I found a WW2 Uniform site that might help. To be honest, the uniform resembles the US Army vs any Polish uniform I've seen. You have little to go on - epaulets, type of buttons/belt, collar type, and a glimpse at the headgear. (I work with uniforms for a living...can you tell) Fascinating.

    The ladies' costumes are great, too! While looking for a site to reference their styles, I naturally found...your other site!


  4. Thanks for your comments, Judith, Pam, and Donna!

    Donna I'd love to send you a larger version of the picture to see what you can make of it. Unfortunately, I can't get to my scanner or my main photo collection on my desktop computer right now. I'm laid up with pulled back muscles and am limited to what I can do/access on my laptop. Hopefully I'll be up and about soon and can send the photo along to you. I appreciate your offer to look it over!

  5. Thanks for sharing this photo - I'm just beginning my search for an ancestor who went from Poland to Denmark around 1800. Every time I see something from Poland I get excited to learn more about this heritage!

  6. Well good luck with your research JoLyn and thanks for stopping by the Creative Gene blog!

  7. Great pictures and a great post!