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Thursday, November 7, 2013

How to Wear a Dirndl

The Dirndl is the traditional Bavarian dress that originated in the 19th century. If you are already familiar with Lederhosen, then you can think of the Dirndl as the female counterpart. Nowadays, they are typically only seen at Oktoberfest celebrations each year, although you can buy them year-round throughout Bavaria.

my first German Dirndl dress

Marco's father recently bought me a Dirndl as an early Christmas present when we were visiting him and his girlfriend in Bavaria. I was so excited going to the dress store and picking one out. Although, as soon as I got in the dressing room, I realized I had no idea how to put it on. His girlfriend had to actually help me get into it, and the store manager helped tie me up. After this experience, I feel that I am pretty fluent in how to wear a Dirndl, so I thought I would share what I learned with you.

1. Push Up the Girls

white push-up bra to wear under a dirndl

As we were leaving the dress store, Marco and his father's girlfriend started telling me that I need a new bra. What? Isn't this a weird thing to talk about? I guess not, because next thing I knew, we were driving to another clothing store so that I could get a white push-up bra. You see, when wearing a Drindl, your boobs need to "spill out of the dress" as they so eloquently put it. I have never actually owned a push-up bra, so this does make me mildly uncomfortable.

2. Put on the Blouse

Before going shopping that day, I never realized that women are wearing these funny cropped blouses underneath their Dirndl dress. You can see that the center is adjustable and can be pulled tighter or looser depending on how low you want the neckline to be. There are several different styles of these blouses, many that either go off the shoulder or have a cut-out that leave the shoulder bare. When I picked out this one, the woman at the store actually commented that this style makes me look prude. Oh well...

3. Slip Into the Dress

how to wear a German Dirndl

Squeeze into the dress would probably be a more appropriate title for this step. My dress is plaid, which is a very traditional print for a Dirndl. Nowadays there is a wide variety of colors, fabrics, and patterns, however. The dress zips up the back and then laces in the front. This is where it may start to get a little difficult to breathe, depending on how tight you want it, and the boobs get pushed up even more.

4. Tie on the Apron
How to tie a Drindl apron

To tie on the apron, you typically wrap the long ties around your back and then make a bow on the front. When tying your Dirndl for Oktoberfest, however, you have to make sure to tie this bow on the correct side. The left side means that you are single and ready to mingle. Tying it on the right, like in my picture, means that you are taken. This is my favorite part of my Dirndl. I love the shiny green fabric and the way the tie is double-sided. So I can choose to make my bow either plaid or green. 

5. Accessorize

Dirndl purse embroidered with Spatzl and an Edelweiss

The last step is to accessorize your Dirndl. Small suede purses are also popular. You can see that I have one that is embroidered with "Spatzl," which is a term of endearment like "darling," but translates to "little sparrow." Also, a necklace with a large charm (Kette), is a must. On the right I am wearing a large metal heart charm with an Edelweiss on it.  Most women also wear black leather shoes with a thick heel and braid their hair.

Wearing pigtail braids with my Dirndl

I hope you enjoyed my guide on how to wear a Dirndl. Unfortunately I didn't get to wear mine to an Oktoberfest this year, but hopefully I will in 2014!

Have you ever worn a Dirndl or Lederhosen?


  1. I was part of a German folk dance group when I was in high school and the guys wore Lederhosen and Kniestrümpfe and the girls wore Dirndl. I have always loved Dirndl. So can you share with us what a Dirndl like this costs?


    1. My Dindl (with blouse) cost 70 Euro. It is a pretty high-quality one though, as it is lined and has metal details on the front (where the laces are). There are less expensive ones for 30-40 Euro, but they are also typically made with lower quality materials.

    2. Wow! For some reason I thought they were much more expensive than that. /c

  2. Great article! And so true about the bra. My sister made me get a new one... my "dirndl" bra! haha

  3. Hahah, thanks! I always feel ridiculous when I see it in my bra drawer, though. It's like, "Oh, there's the bra I wear once a year..."

  4. I get a bit more use out of it, but my fiancé asks about it now. Yesterday he said "so are you going to wear your big bra with your dirndl this weekend?" haha! - if only it wasn't so uncomfortable...

  5. I haven't worn a Dirndl or Lederhosen, though my German teacher has a tiny pair of Lederhosen in the classroom, which he jokingly threatens to make the shortest/smallest person wear. At 165 cm, that's me.


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