A dirndl is a traditional dress worn in Germany, Austria and South Tyrol. It is reserved for special occasions such as a wedding. It is also most known for being the outfit for women who attend Oktoberfest. Almost every Oktoberfest attendee wears traditional clothes. There are a few guidelines that you need to be aware of to avoid confusion and discomfort.
Don’t buy tacky dirndls
Before I start truly sharing detailed tips I need to warn you not to buy a cheap knockoff dirndl. I’m not saying that you need to hand sew your dirndl or buy it from an exclusive boutique store. Tacky screams well er tacky and everyone will know your dirndl is not authentic. Costume shops often don’t sell real dirndls. So rather buy one from a boutique if you can splurge or from a retail shop in Germany.
Where to buy a dirndl
Drindl.com is an online store. To be honest the price between an old and new dirndl isn’t huge. If do really want to buy a second-hand outfit search on eBay. Karstadt, Galleria Kaufhof and 7thmain street are all clothing retails with branches all over Germany. I provided the links to all of these stores. I can remember that 7th on main street sold dirndls and lederhosen at their Cologne branch but, not at their Essen branch so first search online.
Don’t wear silly hats
There are photos on the internet of silly hats which people wear at Oktoberfest. These hats are not a German thing. You will immediately be singled out as a tourist. So skip the hat.
The parts of a dirndl
A dirndl comes in 3 parts usually. The blouse which is traditionally white with puff short sleeves. The dress itself and the apron you tie around your waist. Some dirndls come with a corset. Some people also wear petticoats underneath their dirndls to make it flair out more. Despite this the blouse, dress and apron are the standard parts of your outfit ladies.
In Germany it’s hard to find a push up bra. So bring along one from home or track one down as your cleavage needs to show. The cut of the dress and blouse shows off everyone’s cleavage. And a bra that doesn’t provide good support and lift is not going to cut it.
The style of your dirndl
One of the more traditional dirndls is the check print dresses. Flowers are also popular. There’s something for everyone and you don’t have to strictly stick to the traditional prints. There is even lederhosen (the male traditional German outfit) for women now. The cut is different and some women look amazing in this outfit. Majority of the women do wear the standard dirndl.
How to tie your dirndl
The way you tie your dirndl sends off a signal. If you tie to your right it shows you are taken. If you tie to your left it means you are single and ready to mingle. Tying it to the back means you are a window or an older woman. And typing it to the front is for children. I tied mine to the right and still got hit on. There are German who swear by these rules so I stuck to the right.
Accessorize your dirndl outfit
A small velvet bag is traditional. I wasn’t going to buy a bag after buying a dirndl so I carried my small faux white leather bag. This is one of those rare instances where your bag won’t make or break your outfit just remember to carry a small bag. Big bags aren’t allowed and security won’t let you enter the festival grounds if you have a big bag.
Wear rain proof comfy shoes dancing, walking and standing are all part of Oktoberfest. And you might have to walk in the rain or have beer fall on your shoes. There might be broken glass on the ground at times so no open toe sandals.
A necklace with a big charm is usually worn at Oktoberfest. I chose to skip that part of the look at I’m petite and big necklaces make me look like a little girl who’s raided her grandma’s closet. Instead I wore a dainty silver heart necklace which was my birthday gift from my Dutch friend Monique.
When it comes to earrings keep it simple. Your dirndl is the main part of the look. Big hoop earrings would clash and most of the women I saw wore stud earrings or none at all.
Hairstyle for Oktoberfest
Plaits are by far the most common style. Pig tails, dutch-braid, fish-plaits, milk-maid plaits there’s a lot of different plaits. I choose a simple milk maid style. And I added a flower Alice band to embrace the cutesy look. If plaits aren’t your thing then just walk with your hair loose no one will judge you for it.
I noticed that most of the women were wearing natural looking makeup. There were no neon, glitter or super dark colours featured on any of the ladies.
I also suggest that you don’t wear mascara. If you do get a good waterproof kind in case it rains and remember that the tent can get hot inside. You don’t want your makeup to run all over your face.
I chose not to polish my nails. I trimmed them shorter and kept them natural. You will be picking up a beer mug regularly with your hands which means your hands and nails will be on display. Wearing super long fake nails will definitely make your life difficult so stick to shorter, natural nails.
Carry a cardigan or light jacket. You could also wear a coat or blazer jacket it fits well with the dirndl. It can get cold in Munich. Arriving in the day, spending it in a warm tent, then walking outside in the cold can be shocking. If it’s cold wear a pair of stockings or tights. I had beige skin colour pantyhose on my legs so it wasn’t obvious that my legs were covered and it kept me warm. Carry an umbrella if rain is predicted when I attended the rain wouldn’t stop. My umbrella kept me dry. If you get super cold like I do take along a warm scarf.
That’s it I tried to make this as detailed as possible. I hope this post will help you if you intend on wearing a dirndl. Thank you so much for reading this post. I love reading comments on my blog. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I’m also open to online collaboration.
Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life!
xxx Nikki xxx