If you have ever attended or seen pictures from an Oktoberfest, you have more than likely seen men wearing leather pants with leather suspenders attached or women with these dresses on. You are probably wondering what that is all about. Well, these outfits are the traditional costumes worn to celebrate the history of Oktoberfest and Bavaria. The outfits have specific names, as well as histories behind them.

Tyrolean Hat

These are the traditional hats worn by many festival goers and are either felt or wool. They come from Tyrol in the Alps which is now a part of Italy and Austria. When you see someone wearing one of these hats at Oktoberfest, they will most commonly be accompanied by a feather, most likely pheasant or ostrich. Traditionally, the larger the feather that was on the hat displayed how wealthy you were. You will also see well-goers with pewter pins on their hats to display their travels and use it as a scrapbook.

Tracht

As mentioned above, the outfits you will commonly see people wearing during the Oktoberfest celebrations are traditional Bavarian costumes known as tracht. These costumes date back all the way to the 15th century to distinguish the different classes in Bavarian society. Today, they are worn for leisure throughout Bavaria and Austria. You will even see more ornate styles worn at beer festivals such as the ones spotted at this year’s Nashville Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen

These outfits are the ones worn by the men and are leather pants with suspenders attached. Traditionally, these outfits are accompanied by high socks that hit up to your knees and either a plain shirt underneath the suspenders or nowadays, you will see many fellows wearing plaid button-up shirts underneath. A fun fact about these outfits that can be neither confirmed nor denied is that lederhosen pants are never supposed to be washed. This is to keep the leather moist and stop them from drying out. No judgment here, but at Nashville Oktoberfest, we are firm believers in the no wash method.

Dirndl

 

Now, the dirndl has a fascinating origin story itself. This attire combined a bodice, blouse, full length skirt, and apron that was most commonly worn when performing any house work or worn around the farm. They had different styles for different seasons to accommodate the weather. The summer versions were made from a lightweight cotton, while winter variations were made from a heavier material like linen or wool. Original dirndls came past the knee and a little further down. More modernly, women wear them right above their knees. One fascinating characteristic about the ribbon around the apron of the dirndl can tell you a lot about a woman. If it is tied to the left that would mean she is single, and you should introduce yourself. If it is to the right, she is either engaged or already married. In the back, she is a widow, and the ribbon is placed in the middle for young girls.