The traditional Bavarian Costume

Traditional Bavarian Costume

One of the things people commonly associate with Germany are those cute traditional costumes used by men and women during the Oktoberfest. What most people don’t know is that they are typical of the Bavarian region and that they are not only used during the Oktoberfest, but also during other local festivals throughout the year, as well as, traditional weddings and parties.

This so famous traditional Bavarian costume is called Tracht – a costume of a certain region, in German – the Lederhosen are for men and the Dirndl are for women. Here in Bavaria, it’s common to see people wearing Tracht throughout the year, and not only during the Oktoberfest. The costume is taken very serious, and if you ever visit the region don’t be surprised if you find people wearing them in a very normal day around the streets, or at the stadium watching a football match.

The origin

The origin of the traditional Bavarian Tracht is dated back to the 1600’s, when the Bavarian Prince Elector Maximilian I established a dress code for the people, with the purpose of dividing the society into different social classes, based on their status and profession.

Later, in the 18th century, Prince-Regent Luitpold demonstrated his affection for the traditional Bavarian Tracht and he used to wear it in several public and private occasions. This made the costume very popular among the people, especially in the Upper Bavarian Mountains region. With time, the status-symbolism of the Tracht became less important until it became common among all.

Today, the Tracht is used in the everyday life of people living in rural areas of Bavaria, and it is also used in some regions of Austria, since they were highly influenced by the Bavarians in the past.

The Lederhosen

The Traditional Bavarian Costume, by Packing my Suitcase.

Leder means leather and Hosen means Pants, and Lederhosen is the traditional Bavarian costume used by men, together with shirts, socks sometimes up to the knees, hats, jackets and shoes, all made especially to match.Β The Lederhosen can be found in different colours and length.

Interesting fact: after a while living in Germany I noticed that when the men get their hands dirty – that being from beer or food – during a festival, they clean them on their Lederhosen, and on top of that they don’t wash them… I mean, never! And you know why is that? My husband told me that the dirtier the better, it means it has a lot of history to tell! Oh well, and his Lederhosen gets to be in our closet!

The Dirndl

Dirndl, Germany

Dirndl is a Bavarian word, which means girl, and for this reason it is also the name of this famous traditional dress used by women. The Dirndl can be found in short, mid or long length, and in many different colours and textures combinations.

Every Dirndl has a ribbon around the waist, which can be tied in different ways, depending on weather you are married, single, a widow or a kid. Here are the simple rules:

To your left side: you are single
To your right side: you are married or promised to someone
To the back: for widows or waitresses
In the middle: for young girls/kids

The Dirndl is used with a specific blouse, and normally with some accessories to match, like necklaces, hats, purses, blazers, shoes, scarfs, bracelets and so on. All bought extra, on top of the Dirndl itself.

Nowadays, women also have the option of wearing Lederhosen, even though the majority prefer to wear a Dirndl – which is my case – as it is more charming and sweet, perhaps more feminine.

Wedding Tracht

Yes, people here do get married wearing Tracht, and it is very beautiful, since there are Trachten made especially for weddings.

Babies and Pets

You can find Tracht for everyone, including for babies, kids and pets in any way you prefer! The costume is always a hint and everyone living here must have at least one!

The Price

Just like normal clothes, the Tracht comes from different designers, stores and of course, their prices vary from cheap to very expensive. Some people have not only one, but several of them.

The price of only one Dirndl may vary between 60 Euros and up to 3000 Euros! I know, it’s pretty expensive. If you choose to buy a cheap one, be sure that many people will also be wearing the same thing – as they are more popular – for this reason many prefer to buy exclusive ones or even costume made especially for you.

Of course if you don’t want to spend so much money in a costume that you will probably wear once a year or never again, you will surely be able to buy a Dirndl and all the accessories for between 100-500 Euros depending on how much you want to spend and the quality. Even so it’s expensive, but surely it is beautiful, and living here in Bavaria you NEED one, trust me! Otherwise, people will always ask you: why aren’t you wearing a Dirndl/Lederhosen?

Out of curiosity: a wedding Tracht can be very expensive, like normal wedding suits/dresses; but then again it always depends on you budget and on the quality you are looking for.

Where to buy

You can buy Tracht in the whole Bavaria throughout the year in several different stores and outlets. There are stores at the airport, online, at shopping malls, department stores, and specialised stores; during the Oktoberfest and other festivals there are also people selling hats and other accessories. Choosing where to buy yours will depend on your budget. Here are aΒ few recommendations:

On a Budget/Mid price

Daller Tracht
Moser Trachten

Exclusive and Couture

Ludwig Beck
Herzi Dirndl

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The Traditional Bavarian Costume, by Packing my Suitcase

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • I love the dress for girls! This is one of those traditional costumes that you don’t really think is worn anymore in normal day life apart from during festivals. I love seeing people in traditional dress though. It gives a place more culture and makes it different to anywhere else.

    • Its pretty isn’t it? Yes, here they take the costume very seriously and many people wear it often in the rural areas, like normal clothing. And in the Bavarian restaurants around here the waiters and waitresses always wear them πŸ˜€ I find it very cool!

  • What a great explanation. I think it’s really hard for some people to believe that these items are worn year round and not just for Oktoberfest. Love this post!

    • Thank you πŸ˜€ I am happy that you liked it! Yes its true, I always wanted to write this post so people would know whats behind the costume, its not only for Oktoberfest πŸ˜€

  • How interesting! Believe it or not, Esprit online shop in the Netherlands sold this clothing just a couple months ago! They looked cute (in Esprit website), advised for wedding party dresses but certainly not Dutch wedding party dresses thing o_O . Are you going to wear one for the Oktoberfest?

    • hahahaha really?? Funny!!!
      Yes, I have mine and this year I already wore it twice πŸ˜€ next time will be for the Oktoberfest!!

      • πŸ˜€ I guess it a must have dress when you live in Germany!!

        • Yes Indah, at least living here in Bavaria is a must πŸ˜€ the rest of Germany not so much.

  • I like your post πŸ™‚ First time I ever come across a post/article on the traditional Bavarian costume.

  • What an awesome post. I love the idea of the ribbon and how it’s like a ring in telling your marital/promised status. I love that you wear these too. Very informative and interesting. Thank you! I need to get me to a biergarden soon.

    • Thank you Amanda, I am happy you enjoyed the post!! Its pretty cool right? You do have to get to a Biergarten soon, winter is coming πŸ˜€

  • Apart from oktoberfest I’ve seen girls wearing then at bierhalle bars and never knew the history behind it! This is such an interesting read Allane! πŸ™‚

  • What a fabulous and informative post! The dress looks lovely… I might not know much but I loved learning more about it πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Upasna, I am glad you liked it and enjoyed learning a bit more about this traditional costume!! The dresses are really cute, there are endless options for everyone’s taste πŸ˜€

  • Even though I’m a girl I would totally choose the Lederhosen! It seems like they can be made to look really cute! Although the Dirndl are pretty awesome. And the Lederhosen for dogs might just be the best thing EVER!!

    • Hi Justine πŸ˜€ yes the Lederhosen can be very cute, I like it too, sometimes is good to change! And yes the costume for dogs are awesome aren’t they? Im still trying to find one the size of my Golden Retriever hahahaha

  • Thanks for sharing this. I didn’t know there was a modern twits of this cultural costume for younger people – like more colours and patterns – and I like it! You can wear it for both formal and casual, going out and even at home if you want πŸ˜€ Even animals can wear it… do you own a set?

    • You’re welcome Mabel, Im glad you liked it πŸ™‚ yes, this tradition persists until today and I dont think it will ever cease to exist here in Bavaria, its a must have when you love here! I do have my own Dirndl, but I still haven’t found one for my Golden Retriever, only for small dogs hahaha πŸ˜€

      • That is great to hear you have your own Dirndl. I hope your husband has a Lenderhosen costume so the both of you can go out wearing your costumes and look cute together πŸ˜€ Everyone will look at the two of you!

        • Yes we both do πŸ˜€ but its already so common to have them here that no one pays attention to us hahaha, its already something normal, but I do enjoy wearing it, its pretty cute πŸ™‚

  • So interesting. I’m not sure about the dirtier the better! I also adore the baby wear!

    • hahaha I know right? I also dont like this idea!! The baby wear is pretty cute πŸ˜€

  • Very cute dresses! Nice to learn so much about the bavarian costumes. πŸ™‚

    • πŸ˜€ they are aren’t they? Im happy that you liked learning a bit more about it, many people have no idea whats behind the Oktoberfest costumes πŸ™‚ thank you for stopping by!

  • Hello Allane! I have nominated you for β€˜One Lovely Blog’ award, your blogs have inspired me and you are one of my favourites πŸ™‚

    • Hey Jackson!! Wow thank you very much for your nomination πŸ˜€ I am very happy to know that my blog inspires you! I will take a look at your nomination and will get back to you as soon as I can πŸ™‚

  • Love the dog outfit! So cute. πŸ™‚

  • Oh, I SO want a Dirndl! And to be able to do this while wearing it πŸ˜‰

  • Intriguing to discover that a simple tied ribbon could have so many different meanings based upon how it is being worn.

    • Yes, true!! The funny thing is that I had no idea about it until last Oktoberfest when I tied it like a widow but Im married and my husband is alive πŸ˜€ so after that I made a little research and learned how it should be hahaha

  • Wedding dress?! Wow… I’m curious: did you have one of those as well?

    • Yes!! πŸ˜€ but no I didnt get married in a Dirndl, even though I thought about it haha

  • Kan

    That was a really interesting and informative article, Allane. Really enjoyed it. And the pet and baby trachts are sooo cute!

    • Thank you Kan πŸ˜€ Im glad you liked it!! Yes they are veeeery cute, sadly I still havent found one for my dog, I guess he is too big hahaha

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    Such a cool post! There’s actually a post on my blog about my experience in a Munich beer house last year and there are some photos on there of some of the traditional Bavarian men dressed in exactly these type of costumes! I think they look fabulous and it’s fascinating reading some of the traditions, background and stories behind the outfits πŸ™‚

    • Hey Shikha!! Thank you for the comment and for sharing your experience!! I will take a look at your post for sure πŸ˜€ I am happy you also like this tradition, I also find the costumes pretty cute and very nice that they still wear them so often πŸ˜€ I am glad you liked my post!!

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  • Yay, I love Bavaria! I got to see the costume from the live um-pa band! πŸ™‚

    • hahaha yes! The waiters/waitresses of the traditional restaurants are always wearing the costume too πŸ™‚

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