As you may know, in Bavaria we have five seasons and like for any other season, you need the right clothing. Oktoberfest has a long tradition, 207 years to be precise. The tradition to wear a “Dirndl” to the Oktoberfest however isn’t as old as the Fest itself. The word “Dirndl” comes from the Bavarian word for girl and was traditionally the work wear for servants. It therefore used to be a very simple one-piece dress made of cotton or linen, worn over a shirt and tied with an apron. It was only in the 1870ies that the upper class discovered the Dirndl and it started to become fashionable. Since then the Dirndl has never ceased to be a trend piece, it comes in all kinds of colours, prints and shapes.
This year I decided to get myself a Schatzi Dirndl and I am super happy with my decision. I could choose from a variety of top and bottom parts and everything was made to measure. The best thing is that every Schatzi Dirndl comes with two aprons, so it’s almost like a two-in-one solution. In my case I can either go very classic and sleek in an almost full night-blue look, or put my salmon-colured silk apron on top and give my look a more playful note. For the underskirt I chose polka dots, a classic, that is both cute and polished and give a Dirndl the right amount of that romantic vintage-feel.
“Tradition or Trend?”
So what are the rules when it comes to wearing a Dirndl? Unless you are part of a traditional Trachtenverein (society for traditional clothing), or your Dirndl has to show yours or its regional origin, you are free to choose from a variety of options. There are however a few rules which you should always follow, if you don’t want to upset the Bavarian soul:
- Choose quality when it comes to the material; cotton, linen, silk are your go-to fabrics, avoid polyester and similar at any cost (for your own sake – it gets very hot and sweaty in the beer tents!).
- Personalise your Wiesn outfit, buy vintage, or have your Dirndl custom-made by a designer or tailor. Avoid to buy mass-produced goods, at no cost do you want to enter a tent and find yourself in a sea of Doppelgänger!
- Go for classic colours like blue, red, green. Berry tones, brown and beige are also very chic. A Dirndl should never be neon-coloured!
- The classic Dirndl length is from the knee down. Anything above your knee is a No-Go!
- Jewelry: choose classic pieces in silver; either search your grandma’s jewellery box, or the internet for vintage pieces like the “Charivari” (kind of a trophy belt for men), traditional chokers, belts and hair pieces.
- Hair: Go for a romantic yet natural look. You can never go wrong with undone braids, half-buns and waves, adorned with dainty hairpieces and flowers. This year I am going to wear one of these super cute mini-crowns by Marry Me Beautiful (Coming soon to my Instagram).
- Handbag: there is a limitation to the size of the bag you can bring to the Wiesn. Schatzi Dirndl come with a “Wiesn-Kofferl” in the dimensions allowed during Oktoberfest (20cm x15cm). In any case try to bring as little things as possible to the Wiesn, I always limit myself to the bare necessities: key, money, credit card, ID card (make sure to bring it, police is very strict and if you end up in a hairy situation, you don’t want to end up at the local temporary police station, that they put up during Wiesn – you could be stuck there for hours), hand disinfection, lip balm and phone. Mentioned items fit perfectly in my brand new Bea Bühler Dirndl Bag, which has an integrated mini-pouch, which is perfect for keeping my money and house key safely put.
- Shoes: the traditional footwear for your Wiesn-outfit is a pair of flat “Trachtenschuhe” worn with matching socks. Anything else in Bavaria is frowned upon. But if you don’t want to invest into a pair of shoes, that you’re only going to wear once a year, it’s acceptable to wear flat leather shoes, or booties. Avoid anything too trendy or glam, at maximum you can wear a pair of very sleek high heels to one of the events around Oktoberfest-time.
Tying The Bow
You might have heard of this tradition: The position of the bow of your apron reveals your relationship status. Bow on the right means you’re married, engaged or taken, bow on the left means you’re single. Little girls wear their bow on the front, widows and waitresses on the back. Now it might seem a little old-school, that women of our emancipated ages voluntarily want to give away their relationship status, but who says you have to stick to the rules? Maybe you decide to change the position of your bow during your Wiesn night out, when men become a little too clingy and touchy (or the opposite), or you invent new tying rules? I’m sure a lot of Munich girls are still looking for a bow which says “it’s complicated”.