Traditional Oktoberfest Fashions Of The Woman's Dirndl - Oktoberfest U.S.A. - La Crosse, Wisconsin (2024)

Traditional Oktoberfest Fashions Of The Woman's Dirndl - Oktoberfest U.S.A. - La Crosse, Wisconsin (1)

You may have seen or heard of a dirndl, but what is it exactly and how did it come to be the traditional Oktoberfest fashion worn by women? A dirndl is the name of a woman’s dress traditionally worn in southern Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Alpine regions of Italy. The dirndl is a folk costume (in German – Tracht), and today is generally regarded as a traditional dress for women and girls in the Alps. It developed during the 19th century, originally worn by Alpine peasants as work clothes while they cleaned, worked on farms and in fields.

Today the term “dirndl” refers to a dress with a tight bodice, featuring an often deep rectangular or round neckline, a wide high-waisted skirt (whose length changes with prevailing fashions), and an apron. Styles and designs vary, from simple to high-end.

Traditional Oktoberfest Fashions Of The Woman's Dirndl - Oktoberfest U.S.A. - La Crosse, Wisconsin (2)

  1. Crown braids are the traditional hairstyle worn.
  2. The blouse accentuates the style of the dirndl; different styles include delicately hand-embroidered pieces, blouses with extravagant ruffles and lace, or simple ones with straight sleeves. It is short in length, reaching to just below the bust. Most blouses are white; typical materials are cambric, linen, or lace. Short puff sleeves are most popular, although narrow sleeves (short or long) are also common. The neckline may be high, V-shaped, balconette, or heart-shaped.
  3. The bodice (in German – Mieder or Leiberl) is sewn onto the skirt, although before the 1930s the two were separate. Both are made from colored or printed material, usually cotton, linen, velvet, or silk. The bodice is typically made in a single piece, with the join in the front center, secured by lacing, buttons, or a hook-and-eye closure or a zip.
  4. The dirndl skirt is wide and folds in to accentuate at the waist, making any woman look beautiful in a dirndl. It was originally ankle-length but in more modern designs, is mid-length accented with an apron.
  5. Stockings are worn and typically white in color and knee-length.
  6. Traditional German-style shoes and comfortable ones, we might suggest to wear during Fest if you plan to be on your feet all day!

Traditional Oktoberfest Fashions Of The Woman's Dirndl - Oktoberfest U.S.A. - La Crosse, Wisconsin (3)

In the late 1800s, around 1870, the dirndl became widely popular among the upper echelons of society. Suddenly, the simple dresses made of practical fabrics were transformed into very stylish, colorful dresses often made of silk, satin, and other expensive fabrics.

Germans, Austrian, Swiss, and Scandinavian people migrated to North America in the 19th century. Across the US then and today, people celebrate their folklore heritage at community events and festivals wearing the dirndl as we do at Oktoberfest in La Crosse. See more traditional Oktoberfest fashions here.

Traditional Oktoberfest Fashions Of The Woman's Dirndl - Oktoberfest U.S.A. - La Crosse, Wisconsin (4)

Traditional Oktoberfest Fashions Of The Woman's Dirndl - Oktoberfest U.S.A. - La Crosse, Wisconsin (2024)


What is the etiquette for a dirndl dress? ›

Put on the Dirndl dress, ensuring that the bodice fits snugly and that the skirt falls just below the knee. Tie the apron around your waist, with the bow on your left side if you are single, on your right if you are married, or in the middle if you are a widow. The bow should be neat and not too large.

Is it OK to wear a dirndl to Oktoberfest? ›

A: No, you are not required to wear a Dirndl to Oktoberfest, but it sure is more fun to dress up!

What is the proper Oktoberfest outfit? ›

Dirndls, for women, and lederhosen for men and some women, make up Munich's Oktoberfest trachten, or traditional costumes, and with well in excess of 90% of revellers in the beer halls sporting some kind of Oktoberfest dirndl or lederhosen, for even the short-term visitor an investment in some Oktoberfest outfits can ...

What is the traditional Oktoberfest garb? ›

The leather pants are often worn with a shirt, vest, a charivari (jewelry chain on the traditional costume), loferl (calf socks) and a traditional hat.

Are you supposed to wear a bra with a dirndl? ›

Dirndls usually expose a fair amount of cleavage, so it's best to wear a supportive bra with plenty of lift. Many shops which carry dirndls also sell push-up bras, known in the area as a Büstenhalter, or BH.

How to get cleavage in dirndl? ›

If, conversely, you have trouble creating voluptuous cleavage, pair your dirndl with a push-up bra and leave the bodice to do the rest. With these simple tricks, your plunging neckline is guaranteed to turn heads!

What can you not bring to Oktoberfest? ›

Backpacks and large bags are generally forbidden within the festival area. Leave everything at home that you won't need while partying. It'll be much quicker to get into the Oktoberfest if you don't have a bag or backpack with you.

Can you wear a dirndl if you're not German? ›

If you are not German, there is no reason you can't wear a dirndl! Traditional dirndl dresses have this magical effect on people: they can make you feel elegant, confident, and flirty.

Can you wear jeans to Oktoberfest? ›

Whatever you do, don't wear a t-shirt to Oktoberfest or you will feel like a stereotypical tourist. The minimum effort you should put in is at least jeans and a checkered shirt, but avoid t-shirts, soccer jerseys, or corny shirts with the city/country you are from plastered all over it.

What is the female outfit called at Oktoberfest? ›

The name Wiesntracht is given to dirndls and other tracht clothing worn for Oktoberfest (Wiesn refers to the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest events occur). Oktoberfest dirndls tend to be more colourful and revealing. Skirts are often above the knee, and deep décolletage is very frequent.

Do you wear socks with a dirndl? ›

Socks and stockings are commonly worn in the colder months with a dirndl dress. It can get fresh in autumn, and stockings are the best way to keep yourself warm. Dirndl can be worn without socks and stockings in the hotter summer months, as long as it suits the footwear.

What do you wear to Oktoberfest if you don't have a costume? ›

Jewelry is a super easy way to take basic outfit and make it look great! Beer stein earrings (perfect for the beer gardens, beer halls, and beer tents!) and an Oktoberfest themed necklace with your jeans and t-shirt can take the outfit from plain and simple to fest ready!

What shoes should I wear to Oktoberfest? ›

Heels are great for Oktoberfest party nights, but they can definitely get uncomfortable. Do keep a pair of flats in your bag just in case. For an edgier look: Definitely try a motorcycle boot or booty. Motorcycle boots look great with dirndls and provide extra support when you're on your feet all day.

What is the etiquette for the dirndl? ›

The placement of your dirndl's apron waist bow or knot in particular has a significant meaning. It's an easy way to know whether the woman is single and ready to mingle, in a relationship, married, or even widowed. If the knot of the apron is tied in the front, towards the left side, it means that a woman is single.

Do you have to wear a blouse with a dirndl? ›

Some dirndl dresses feature higher bodices and can be worn as two-pieces without a blouse; otherwise, you will need to remember to add a blouse to your dress and can choose between short puff and elbow-length sleeves. Speaking of length, there are various skirt lengths to choose from, too: mini, midi, and full-length.

What does it mean when you wear the bow on the right side of the dirndl? ›

If the knot of the apron is tied in the front, towards the left side, it means that a woman is single. However, if the knot of the apron is tied to the right side, it means that the woman is either married or in a relationship. Their relationship status is none of your business.

Do you wear long socks with dirndl? ›

Some dirndl styles lend themselves better to the traditional dirndl socks while others don't. Wearing these socks is not a rule by any means, you can certainly wear tights, nylon stockings, or nothing at all.

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