The Silesian Wardrobe 

Muzeum Historii Katowic

on Weekdays and Holidays

Folk costume in Silesia is not homogenous
There are a few varieties of it, sometimes it is combined of a few elements belonging to particular varieties. The Rozbark costume is the most widespread variety, also called the Bytom one.

Festive clothes

Festive clothes were made of splendid fabrics, frequently silk, jacquard, damask, velvet and wool.


Aprons made of Chinese silk, adorned with hand-painted flowers are characteristic.

In the Bytom costume, a few types of women's attire combinations can be differentiated
-worn with jakla jacket, merynka scarf or wierzcheń vest. Women first put on a watówka – a thick quilted skirt with a bodice sewn to it, which was to make her owner look plumper. Full figure was fashionable at the time.


Then another layers of skirts were put on, with ’kiecka' as the last one – a dress with a bodice, usually pleated.


Watówka also served as a frame on which the weight of subsequent layers rested. An apron and a jakla, a kind of jacket with characteristically elongated and rounded back, were worn on the dress.

On warm days, thin embroidered white jakla jackets were popular 
or thin blouses called kabotek, over which a wierzcheń – a corset vest – was worn, or a merynka scarf tied across the chest.


The shape of jakla was drawn from the middle-class fashion of the 19th century.

Scarves were worn instead of coats and jackets
In winter, these were thick woolen scarves, and richly woven Turkish scarves called a szpigieltuch. In summer, Turkish szaltuszka scarves or checked woolen scarves made of thinner wool were worn.


The headgear informed whether a woman was married or not. Married women wore caps – called 'buda' in the Bytom region, or purpurka kerchiefs.

Colours matter

The colour of the purpurka kerchief informed whether a woman was married (a red kerchief with colourful printed pattern) or was a widow (white kerchief with black and maroon printed pattern).

Girls wore galanda wreaths
- tied with their hair, pinned with ribbons and hairgrips.
Beads with a cross were the typical Silesian jewellery
– red ones made of real coral or a material imitating it, or yellow glass 'żigloki' beads.  

Gilded Cross

A gilded cross, ornamental with a characteristically shaped arms, was chained to the beads.

Richer women put on hollow gold earrings 
in the shape of fruit and flower baskets, called 'kosze', earrings set with coral or turquoise, or hoop earrings.
The costumes were sewn of factory produced fabrics
Decorations and finishing was made of tape. Frequently, the edges of a jakla jacket and aprons were decorated with hand-made embroidery, while the crest of the buda cap was adorned with hand-made lace.
In times of crisis, mainly after World War I,
When decorative fabrics and ribbons were hard to find, women started to decorate aprons and ribbons by themselves, painting them with oil paint. With time, painted szlajfa ribbons and aprons became very popular. Even expensive silk fabrics were decorated in this way.
Daily attire differed from the festive 
mainly by the quality of the fabrics, sometimes of making. It was sewn of simple linen, frequently with printed pattern. Linen aprons, blue and white or white-blue-red striped, finished with a decorative white embroidery, were characteristic for this type of attire.
Even in the 1980s XX w. it was still possible to see old women 
Wearing the traditional folk costume in the street. Today, such costume is worn for festivals and ceremonies, most frequently church ones, such as the Corpus Christi procession, or a pilgrimage of women and girls to Piekary Śląskie. Old elements of the attire are used, or new ones modeled on the old costume parts. Modern fabrics are often used to produce items of clothing. In Pszczyna region there are still some women who wear the costume on weekdays and holidays.
Men's Rozbark costume
Was composed of 'kamzela' – along jacket sewn of black or navy blue broadcloth, a bruclek vest made of the same fabric, and a white shirt. 

Silk kerchiefs called 'jedbowka' were tied on the neck.


Yellow trousers of deer leather called 'jelenioki' were worn with the attire. The trousers reached below the knee. High leather shoes tucked in the lower part of the uppers, called 'kropy' were worn with them.

Such costume was mainly worn by rich farmers in rural areas
Less affluent ones wore black or navy-blue broadcloth trousers and low shoes. As the headgear, a man would wear a hat with a low crown and wide brim, called 'kania'. Men's costume started to go out of use as early as in the 1920s. XX w. Today, such costume is worn only in some villages of the industrial region – usually for church and state festivals and ceremonies. 
Silesian costume in miniature  
A doll's costume, hand-made in the interwar period of the 20th century.
Credits: Story

Curator: Agnieszka Fedorów-Skupień
Photographer: Piotr Sobański
Translator: Monika Hartman
Project Coordinator: Hanna Baron

Credits: All media
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