Elegant women of the People’s Republic of Poland

In spite of post-war poverty, empty store shelves, lack of materials and separation from Western news, women in the People’s Republic of Poland really knew how to dress well.  Against the grey reality of communism and the attempts to control and curtail the showcase of fashion by the government, the streets were full of elegantly-dressed women.  They rebelled in opposition to the ruling party’s goals to stuff women into drab, labor uniform-style clothing, and used whatever was available to them to add color and style to their wardrobes.  Not everyone could afford to buy clothing sold exclusively in places like “Moda Polska” or “Pewex”, so home creations were the most common way of defining one’s fashion sense.  Women used sewing patterns found in magazines to have seamstresses create outfits for them, and the lucky ones who were good with the sewing machine or knitting needles were able to take advantage of their own creativity.  Polish women turned out to be masters in fashion experiments, a skill which they were forced to cultivate against the drab reality of day-to-day life in socialist Poland.  (source)

Images:

Warsaw, 1960s, and elegant woman in the street.

Fashionable women of Wrocław, 1960s.

Warsaw, 1960s, young women sitting in front of a store display window.

Warsaw, 1972, spring fashion.

Warsaw, 1970s, wedding fashion.

Warsaw, 1961, women enjoying cotton candy.

Warsaw, 1970s, women at a bus stop.

Warsaw, 1960s, one of the women is wearing a police uniform.

Warsaw, 1970s, a couple in the street.

Warsaw, 1960s, Association of Polish Architects cafe.

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