The Silesian Wardrobe

on Weekdays and Holidays

By The Museum of Katowice History

Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costumeThe Museum of Katowice History

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.

Apron – an element of the traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume (the first half of 20th c.)The Museum of Katowice History

Festive clothes

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

Aprons

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

Black 'jakla' jacket with blue flowers Black 'jakla' jacket with blue flowers (the half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costumeThe Museum of Katowice History

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.

Dress – called 'kiecka', used as part of the traditional Rozbark - Bytom region costume (the first half of 20th c.)The Museum of Katowice History

'Kiecka'

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

Moryrok' skirt (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

White embroidered petticoat White embroidered petticoat (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

White petticoat (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

’Watówka’ petticoat (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Watówka

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.

Chiffon apron (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Linen 'jakla' jacket Linen 'jakla' jacket (the half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.

Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costumeThe Museum of Katowice History

Jakla

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

Kabotek - a blouse used in the traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume (the first half of 20th c.)The Museum of Katowice History

Wierzcheń vest – an element of the traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume Wierzcheń vest – an element of the traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume (the first half of 20th c.)The Museum of Katowice History

Children’s ’wierzcheń’ vest Children’s ’wierzcheń’ vest (the first part of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Merynka' scarf Merynka' scarf (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

’Szpigieltuch’ scarf ’Szpigieltuch’ scarf (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.

Thin 'Turkish' scarf called 'szpigiel' or 'szpigielek' Thin 'Turkish' scarf called 'szpigiel' or 'szpigielek' (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Checked woolen scarf (before 1939)The Museum of Katowice History

’Buda’ cap (the first part of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Headgear

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

Purpurka' kerchief Purpurka' kerchief (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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).

’Purpurka’ kerchief ’Purpurka’ kerchief (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

’Galanda' – wreath ’Galanda' – wreath (30s)The Museum of Katowice History

Girls wore
galanda wreaths

- tied with their hair, pinned with ribbons and hairgrips.

Right' (genuine) coral beads with a cross (the end of 19. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.  

Yellow glass beads called 'żigloki' (the first part of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Gilded Cross

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

Silesian' earrings (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.

Embroidered linen 'jakla' jacket Embroidered linen 'jakla' jacket (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.

Painted silk ribbon Painted silk ribbon (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.

Painted ribbon used in the Silesian costume Painted ribbon used in the Silesian costume (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Silk ribbon with printed floral pattern Silk ribbon with printed floral pattern (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Silk ribbon with printed floral pattern (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Patterned silk jacquard ribbon Patterned silk jacquard ribbon (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Wstążka jedwabna, wzorzysta Wstążka jedwabna, wzorzysta (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Silk patterned ribbon (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Patterned silk jacquard ribbon (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Brocade ribbon with roses (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Silk ribbon with printed floral pattern Silk ribbon with printed floral pattern (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Hand painted damask apron Hand painted damask apron (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Chinese' damask apron (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Blue damask apron (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Leather women's shoes Leather women's shoes (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Linen apron used in elegant daily attire (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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.

Cretonne 'jakla' jacket (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Kerchief worn on the head Kerchief worn on the head (20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costumeThe Museum of Katowice History

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.

White embroidered 'jakla' jacket White embroidered 'jakla' jacket (the half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Linen 'jakla' jacket Linen 'jakla' jacket (the half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

Jakla' jacket (before 1945)The Museum of Katowice History

Kamzela' jacket Kamzela' jacket (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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. 

Men's bruclek vest Men's bruclek vest (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

’Jedbowka’ kerchief ’Jedbowka’ kerchief (the first part of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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

Kamzela' jacket Kamzela' jacket (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

'Jelenioki'

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.

Men's bruclek vest (the first half of 20. century)The Museum of Katowice History

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. 

Traditional Rozbark - Bytom region folk costume for a doll (the first half of 20th c.)The Museum of Katowice History

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
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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