What to wear to Oktoberfest?
There is no dress code at Oktoberfest (except maybe in a certain upscale beer tent!). But we know the real question that you are asking. Do you need to wear lederhosen or a dirndl? Look through a couple galleries of Oktoberfest photos and you will have your answer. Yes! A surprising amount of people will be dressed in tracht, the traditional attire worn in Bavaria, whether it be for a man or a woman.
As Zurika said: “Oktoberfest without dressing up is like a Halloween party without a costume: it’s still a lot of fun, but the right outfit can make it even better.”
The Oktoberfest costume, which has benefited from a resurgence in popularity, has replaced jeans as standard fare at Oktoberfest. Approximately fifty percent of people will take the occasion to wear a dirndl or lederhosen. About forty percent will wear jeans and casual clothing. So if you find yourself in Munich by chance during Oktoberfest, don’t be afraid to swing by the party. But if you really want to enjoy the Oktoberfest experience, stop by a shop and buy yourself some Oktoberfest clothing first!
Lederhosen and the dirndl emerged from the peasant farming communities of Bavaria, where they were first adopted in the 16th century, to gain wider appeal and cultural acceptance. Although it had fallen out of style as the Industrial Revolution spread in the mid-19th century, the traditional Bavarian clothing has been revived at special occasions like wedding celebrations and Oktoberfest.
Lederhosen are richly embroidered leather shorts with suspenders. They were more durable and easier to clean than other garments. Traditional fastenings have given way to modern amenities such as zippers and velcro.
Here’s the rundown:
no scarf. It sometimes comes in sets, but don’t wear it. You may wear a felt or suede alpine hat if you wish.
checkered shirt. White is also acceptable.
Lederhos’n with suspenders
off white slouch socks pulled down
black or brown haferl shoes. It was a working man’s shoe designed to provide stability on alpine ground. Legend indicates it was designed by Bavarian shoemaker Franz scratt who was inspired by the hoofs of goats in the mountains.
You’ll find complete sets for men starting around 200 euros. If you decide to buy medium length leather trousers instead of traditional lederhos’n, make sure that your knees are fully covered when sitting. when in doubt, ask the saleswoman.
Don’t wear the fake lederhosen from halloween costumes. They look awful.
On eBay – search for: lederhosen -halloween -costume
traditional short-sleeved, low-cut Trachtenblus’n (white blouse). Modern versions are more revealing then historical ones, so you can wear what you want. Some versions are sleeveless.
dirndl dress – This is sometimes separated into a matching bodice and skirt set, but that seems less common these days than the single dress version.
low heeled loafers. Mary Jane style shoes are common now.
The traditional dirndl falls below mid-calf. Long and full, it flares out in a charming fashion. Some stores now sell a short mini dirndl that we have heard has increased in popularity among the younger crowd but may be considered a tourist item by many. Probably best to reserve this for celebrations in the United States, but it’s Oktoberfest so where what you like! We’ve seen plenty of photos from Munich with a shorter dirndl and we doubt that any of the guys there have ever complained. just don’t wear one of the beer maiden halloween costumes in Munich! It is a clear sign that you are a tourist. At an Oktoberfest in the United States, though, that would be commonly seen attire.
The pinafore should end at the same height as the dirndl dress. It is a reminder that the dress was first worn by maids and servants in the country. The pinafore knot indicated the relationship status of the woman. On her left side means: “I’m single/available.” This may not be traditional, as married women in historic times had a different outfit.
If your dress provides hooks for threading a thin silver chain through the front, do so. it’ll look strange with hooks and no chain.
There is also a dirndl-style dress called a landhausmode.
You can buy complete sets in Munich. You can leave a dirndl shop with a Bavarian outfit for around 100 euros. High quality dirndls start around 400 euros and reach 2500 euros for couture dirndls. Try one of these shops in Munich to start. You can also buy online. Or try ebay for a cheap one! Search for dirndl.
If you are looking for an Oktoberfest costume for your party in the United States, here are some that may work: