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.


About Marian van Bakel

I graduated in International Business Communication at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. After my studies I was a Visiting Study Fellow at University of Oxford where I conducted a research on the adjustment of Dutch diplomats and their partners in London. In February 2012 I successfully defended my PhD thesis ‘In Touch with the Dutch’, in which I put expatriates in touch with a Dutch host to examine the effect of this contact on the success of the international assignment. During my PhD research I also worked as in house communication consultant at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. I am currently a postdoc at the Department of Leadership and Corporate Strategy at the University of Southern Denmark ( Since 2004 I have done extensive voluntary work in the intercultural field for the Young Society of Intercultural Education, Training and Research (Young SIETAR). One of my projects was to co-edit and co-author A Suitcase Full of Discoveries (2008), an intercultural storybook for children.
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One Response to Folk costumes from Poland

  1. Pingback: Postcrossing – a vintage ad from Russia | Marian van Bakel

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