Oktoberfest is an event you’ll want to experience at least once in your life. And if you’re traveling to Munich to prost ‘til the sun comes up, you have to dress appropriately and look the part! But where do you begin? How do you purchase the perfect lederhosen or dirndl for your beer-drinking festivities? Well, lucky for you, we are here to help!
For special occasions in Bavaria, and of course for Oktoberfest, men traditionally wear lederhosen. REAL lederhosen does not come cheaply. In fact, on average, it can cost you $150-$750+! Because of the expense, purchasing properly the first time is very important for both you and your bank account.
Steps for well-chosen hosen:
1. Get measured.
What’s the point of guessing? Have a professional measure you specifically for lederhosen and they’ll pick out the perfect size. It will save you time and ensure they fit properly. Plus, lederhosen laces up from the back, so you’ll need help putting them on anyway – might as well get help initially too!
During the ‘trying on’ process, keep in mind that the pants are made out of leather and will stretch with wear and tear. Even if they seem a little tight, there will be plenty of room for you to expand with every stein of beer you consume.
2. Decide if you want shorts or knickers.
Shorts and knickers will both be seen during the festivities. Knickers tend to be more popular when it’s cold out, but the choice is yours! Both will come with a set of suspenders, which are a key part of your Oktoberfest outfit. And don’t forget, deer antler buttons on your lederhosen are a MUST and are also very traditional.
3. Choose the perfect shirt color.
Traditional Bavarian shirts are light blue checkered, but you can also purchase a shirt to represent another country or area. For example, in Austria, most wear red checkered shirts to represent Austria. Choose by country or just the color that looks best on you, it’s your decision!
4. Care to add a Trachten jacket or vest?
For more formal occasions, men wear special Trachten jackets. One important thing to note about these jackets is they are meant to fit loosely – definitely not slim fit! Another option would be a trachten vest, if you’re looking for a different look. If you want it all, then go for BOTH!
5. Don’t forget about your Alpine hat.
Hats are an important part of the outfit as well. Traditionally, men wear their hats decorated with symbolic pins. The pins represent places they’ve hiked, where they are from, etc. As soon as you visit an area in Bavaria, getting a pin from that area and adding it to your hat is a must! And be sure when you initially purchase your hat, you also grab a pin with deer fur on it – it’s the ‘starter’ pin and is very traditional.
6. Complete the outfit with proper shoes and socks.
Proper Trachten shoes are a mix between dress shoes and sneakers. They are usually suede and tie to the side, so you’ll know when you see them! You will also need wool socks, worn high (almost to the knee). Most of the time, socks worn with your lederhosen are neutral colors- beige, white, grey, etc.
Just like men, women wear a traditional Austrian dress called a dirndl. Dirndls can also be expensive, since they are usually handmade and even hand-printed. Most will cost about $150 and up, so making the right purchase is key!
Finding the dirndl of your dreams:
1. Decide if you want to go long or go short.
Both are equally as traditional, but just know a short dirndl is meant to cover the knee. Anything above the knee is more for the purpose of being risqué versus sticking to the standard length. Depending on the weather and the look you are going for, deciding between a short or long skirt is based purely on preference. And as you’re shopping, if you like one of the longer dirndls because of the color or pattern, but prefer the shorter length, shortening the skirt should only costs about $15 and takes a few days!
2. Traditional or modern?
Dirndls come in all sorts of colors. Some are neutral, and some are flashy and bright. The traditional colors of the dirndl are greens, pinks, and purples, and the material is usually cotton. We’ve found that most Austrians have both a traditional dirndl and a more modern dirndl, depending on the occasion.
3. Be sure you’ve got an apron.
Your apron is an important part of your dirndl. Usually the dirndl comes with an apron to match, so you don’t have to worry about picking it out separately. The aprons tend to be fun prints and colorful, giving your dirndl some extra personality!
4. Pick out a blouse to complete the look.
The blouse is a cropped top that goes under the dirndl. It can be white, colorful, off the shoulder, lacey –there are endless options to choose from. Your blouse will cost about $30-$40 and is not included in the price of your dirndl.
5. What shoe is up to you!
You can rock any pair of shoes with your dirndl – boots, heels, flats. Just know that you will be walking and standing a LOT, so the more comfortable, the better. We’ve seen everything from conservative heels (traditional) to fun fall boots.
6. Tie your knot appropriately.
Where you tie your apron indicates your marital status. Tie it on the right; you are spoken for. Tie it on the left; you are single and ready to mingle. The middle means you are a virgin and the back means you are widowed. So tie wisely, friends!
There you have it, your complete guide to buying both lederhosen and a dirndl for your Oktoberfest celebrations. But of course if you can’t make it to a Trachten store, Amazon has some great (and authentic) options for lederhosen and dirndls as well!
And don’t think you are limited to only wearing them just for Oktoberfest in Munich. In Austria and in Germany, these same outfits are used for holidays, special occasions, weddings and traditional celebrations, depending on the city you are visiting. So wear your lederhosen or dindl often and wear it proud! Both have been a part of the Bavarian culture since the 18th century for a reason!