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Traditional Bavarian Women Clothing For Oktoberfest

Behind every successful community, there is a long and rich history. Your beliefs, language, tradition, and cuisine are what make your culture. This also includes your traditional Bavarian dress for men and women. Wearing your traditional dresses helps promote your culture and also teaches others about it.

For Germans living in and out of Germany, the Dirndl serves this purpose.

The Dirndl

Before the 1500s, most European working-class families used to wear simple garments in different shades of white and brown. It was considered normal, and abnormal if you were to wear bright or contrasting colors- that was meant for people higher up in the social class. Sometimes dark blues would be worn in times of celebration or special moments.

The 2 most popular attires worn by men and women were a leather-made overall ending at the knees known as a Tracht and a folk-style dress called a Dirndl.

Where It Was Discovered

These dresses were most popular in Bavaria and the Swiss Alps region, where workers needed comfortable attire. While they worked for long hours under harsh climatic conditions of the mountainous regions.


The dress is not one item but a set of clothing accessories that make up the whole outfit. It consists of a long-sleeved blouse, a knee-length skirt, and an apron on top. Due to its durability and comfortability when working, it was known as ‘Dirndlgewand’ a German noun translated to ‘maid’s dress.’ As the name means, this dress became very popular among European servants during the 19th century.

Knots and Their Rules

The knot on the apron also represents the marital status of women in European culture. A knot on her left side indicates that she was single, a knot in the middle indicates that she is a virgin. A knot on her left side indicates that she is married and, a knot at the back indicates that she has been widowed.

Meaning Behind the Name

Although this dress was worn more in Austrian and Bavarian communities, it was also a very popular dress in Germany. The tracht has a much wider reference in German Outfits culture. In the German language, a tracht means ‘to carry’, ‘‘to wear’, or ‘to bear’. Meaning it refers to the clothing worn by women or as the German idiom goes ‘a good beating’ in terms of loading or carrying.

Difference Between A Tracht and a Dirndl

The Dirndl dress can be produced ready to be worn by businesses using materials such as synthetic and plastic products in cotton. It consists of machine-made embroidery and does not indicate social class status among Bavarian or European communities.

It is more popularly worn for representational reasons today with its length and shape depending on the latest fashion trends. Concentrating on the upper half of the body, there’s no restriction to what kind of designs can be implemented on the dress.

The tracht is usually sown in separate components by tailors and then worn as preferred. It is highly important that the fabric be made of pure and natural materials such as wool or silk. The decoration is also often hand-done. These decorations and knots on the dress tell us what kind of clan and marital status is owned by the female. The tracht is worn for traditional duties by Bavarian communities.

Rise and Fall of Popularity

When the industrial revolution took place in the 1900s. The dirndl dress started losing its touch as factories started manufacturing less natural materials for the dress. Businesses concentrated more on price rather than quality and so eventually, its popularity declined.
It wasn’t until another 100 years that a sense of patriotism in Bavarian communities brought back the dress for representational reasons. The folk traditional movements made it one of their objectives to promote the dress.

This is why you will see a lot of people wearing them at one of Germany’s popular cultural events today. Cultural and heritage societies promoted the idea of wearing these dresses during their annual celebrations. Nowadays, these dresses can be found at a very reasonable price and so are popularly worn among foreigners during German events.



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