Here in Germany, the fest season is all through Summer with many big and little festivals, culminating with the big blowout of Oktoberfest which is usually the last two weeks in September throughout the first week in October. There are plenty of opportunities to wear a dirndl. What is a dirndl? It is traditionally the garb of choice for festivals and special occasions specifically in Bavaria, Germany and Austria. They were originally worn by peasants and maids and began to be picked up by nobles and high class people as a fashion statement around 1870. Eventually, they became renown for being worn by everyone in these regions and this trachten of a dirndl for the females and lederhosen for males is what foreigners generally think of when they think of Germany.
When I moved to Bavaria almost a year ago, two weeks after my arrival was Oktoberfest. There was no way I was missing out on the event even though we had just arrived so I promptly went out and bought a dirndl (and lederhosen for my husband) and headed to Oktoberfest. I learned a lot in the process of finding and buying the dirndl for me and with Oktoberfest fast approaching again, I wanted to let others in on everything I know.
There are generally three different lengths of a dirndl to choose from:
There's the mini, the medium length, and the long dirndl. Granted, you can also find everything in between, but these are the general lengths. I initially thought that I would want a mini dirndl, the obvious sexy choice. But after trying one on, it was obvious that I looked like I was trying to celebrate Halloween and it just felt too juvenile especially on my frame. Some people look great in the mini style, but it wasn't for me. I put on a medium style dirndl and I loved it. Plus it would provide a little more coverage to shield from the cold because let's face it, it's already cold in Germany by September/October.
Here is my Dirndl from last Oktoberfest and you can read about it here:
I chose a deep purple dirndl with green accents, a corset stringed front, and a village scene for my apron. I loved it and I still do! I chose a shoulderless blouse and black flats. But I missed a crucial part of how to wear the dirndl. Can you guess what that is? I didn't have my boobs out. Think I'm joking? The dirndls are made to be worn this way and they are very flattering for pushing the girls out and cinching at the waste and being flowy in all the right places. Since Oktoberfest is all about the beer, this is a flattering outfit to be wearing.
Here are some of the options of blouses you can choose:
While there are many awesome online shops that you can find to buy your dirndl. I'd definitely recommend you actually go in a trachten shop to buy one. Why? Because the staff selling them are well informed on how to help you pick the one that is right for your body type, what it should look like, and tips on how to tie your apron. There are so many trachten shops in Bavaria. My favorite are Moser and Pollinger. Last year I had the sales women help me pick out mine and she even convinced me that the tighter it is the better. I was trying to be modest and wear it loosely and she said, "nein" and even encouraged that I wear a pushup bra with it to really accentuate the girls. Yes, even the older women show their boobs in these outfits. There are a lot of restaurants that the workers wear these in year-round.
For shoes, some brave girls wear heels which I admit looks best with the dress, but if I am going to be walking around all day, I have to go for flats. You can also accentuate your outfit with a cute hat and many women wear necklaces like this, that can also be purchased by your significant other or admirer at a fest:
How to Tie your Apron:
Another great thing about actually going in a shop to buy a dirndl is that the women can give info on how to tie your apron. The woman helping me informed me that there are four ways you can tie your apron, and be careful because you can give an admirer the wrong signal depending on how you tie your apron!
To the left: Means you're single (and possibly ready to mingle)
To the right: Means you are married or taken
To the middle: Means you are a virgin or young
To the back: Usually means you are a widow
A nice dirndl can generally cost you between 50 to 300 Euro. But, you get what you pay for. You can go and buy a cute 50 Euro dirndl and that's perfectly fine, but you may end up seeing numerous others in the same outfit. I wanted to find something unique so mine was a little more expensive and cost 200 Euro. As much as I want to buy a new one for this year, I can't really justify only wearing mine once so far, so I'll be rocking it again this year as many people do. They are expensive.
There are so many other looks to a dirndl. There is a Christmas Dirndl and even a traditional Wedding Dirndl, but if you aren't so into wearing a dress, you can do the alternative and wear a female lederhosen. If pulled off correctly, these can look really cute. I may need to try this out before I leave.
So there is everything I know about dirndl shopping. To be honest, the shopping part and trying them on is one of the funnest parts. They are so beautiful and a huge part of the culture in Bavaria. You can read my post about last years Oktoberfest here, but I will also be going again next month! I didn't touch on the male lederhosen, (I could probably write something on this too if you are interested) but here is a picture of what it looks like below, cute huh?:
I really enjoyed writing this post and while I'm certainly not an expert, if you have any more questions about buying a dirndl feel free to leave a comment and I can try to help you out! Did I leave anything out? Let me know!
All images (besides my own) were found at trachten-fashion.de.
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