Dress for Oktoberfest

Dressing up in traditional clothes can be a fun way to prepare for Oktoberfest. While it is by no means a requirement for attendance, it does add to the festive mood of the occasion. Women can dress for Oktoberfest by wearing or mimicking the look of a traditional dirndl, while men can dress for Oktoberfest by donning lederhosen or creating a similar look. Once you get these essential pieces in place, you can then add other clothing and accessories to enhance your ensemble.


For Women

In spite of recent, popular trends, traditional women's attire for Oktoberfest is relatively conservative in nature. The key feature is the “dirndl,” a type of traditional dress with an apron worn over it. Traditional dirndls extend to a woman's ankles, but other lengths are also available.

  1. Wear a peasant-style blouse called a “trachtenbluse.” Don't choose anything with buttons, and try to avoid blouses with decorative designs. Traditional blouses are relatively high-cut, but a low-cut peasant blouse may also work if you feel like being a bit daring.
  2. Wear the dirndl over the blouse. A dirndl is a specific type of dress that consists of a full skirt and a low, sleeveless top similar to what you would find on overalls. It is meant to be worn over a blouse. Many have a bodice-like design on the top, but some do not. Traditional dirndl dresses are tailored and frequently made of hand-printed material, so they can be expensive.
  3. If you cannot afford a traditional dirndl, mimic the look with separate skirt and bodice.
    • Pick out a cotton A-line or circle skirt. Choose one in black, red, dark green, brown, or sky blue. The skirt should be knee-length to floor-length, with the most traditional option being the long floor-length skirt.
    • Wear a laced-up bodice over your blouse. Authentic bodices are made of velvet or felt. If you can find a bodice with thick straps that go over your shoulder, that would mimic the look of a traditional dirndl best.
  4. Tie an apron, or “pinafore,” over your skirt. The apron must match the length of the skirt.
  5. If you wear nylon stockings, go with a nude color that matches your skin tone.
  6. Add a pair of white knee-high stockings or socks over your nylons or in place of them.
  7. Choose a comfortable pair of loafers, clogs or Mary-Jane style shoes in black or dark brown. Flats and low-heeled shoes are preferable to high-heels.

For Men

Lederhosen are the most recognizable feature of a man’s Oktoberfest costume.

  1. Wear a plain white or light checkered shirt. The shirt may have long or short sleeves, but it should be a button-down shirt either way.
  2. Throw on a pair of lederhosen. Lederhosen are a type of traditional leather breeches, but authentic lederhosen can be quite expensive. If you cannot find the real thing, mimic the look by selecting a pair of brown, black, or dark green knee-length pants. Dockers-style works best, and the pants should not have many pockets.
  3. Put on some suspenders. Authentic lederhosen may come with suspenders, but if you buy them separately, try to find some that match the color of your breeches.
  4. Add a pair of white, gray, light brown, hunter green, or oatmeal colored socks. The socks should be slouch socks, a type of cotton sock that reaches up to the knee.
    • While many men wear the socks pulled up to the knee, some prefer to push down knee-length socks so that they only extend up a few inches above the ankle.
    • Typically, men whose lederhosen stop just above their knee wear their socks pulled up, while men whose lederhosen extend just below their knee wear their socks pushed down.
  5. Wear traditional footwear, such as "Haferlschuh" or "Haferl" shoes. If you cannot find authentic footwear, pick out a pair of black or dark brown leather loafers.
  6. Don an Alpine hat. This is a specific style of felt hat. It has a peaked top and wide brim. A band is usually wrapped around the base of the hat, and a feather is attached to it with thread. This is an optional accessory, however.


  • The knot on a woman's apron indicates the relationship status of the wearer. If tied to the right, it means she is taken. If tied on the left, it means she is still available.
  • Women may also add a tulle skirt beneath their cotton skirt to give it more volume and bounce.

Things You’ll Need

  • Peasant-style blouse
  • Cotton skirt
  • Bodice
  • Apron
  • Knee-high socks
  • Button-down shirt
  • Lederhosen
  • Slouch socks
  • Loafers
  • Alpine hat

Sources and Citations

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