Need an easy, affordable, and authentic-looking costume for Oktoberfest? Here are the key ingredients you need to quickly get into the Bavarian spirit.
Men’s Oktoberfest costume
While lederhosen originally gained popularity in the 18th century as a type of durable work wear for peasants, the outfit soon became a symbol of German pride and a staple at every Oktoberfest themed event.
Over the years, the design has gone through many revisions to make the clothing more comfortable, stylish, and accessible to newer generations, while still retaining its traditional roots.
To pull off this classic look all you need is the following:
- Leather Lederhosen shorts with suspenders
- Alpine hat
- Knee high socks
- Sturdy Bavarian shoes
- Buttoned up white or checker shirt
Obtain a plain white collar shirt, or a checker collar shirt in the colour of your choice. Make sure the shirt has buttons that go all the way down, and long sleeves you can fold up to your desired length (most people roll the sleeves up to their elbows).
Shorts and suspenders
These special type of shorts have buttons on the front and back that enable you to clip suspenders directly onto them. As the name implies, they are made out of sturdy leather and generally come in one of the following colours: brown, green, tan, or black.
Some lederhosen short/suspender combos feature a decorative pattern on the front, which is either printed onto the material or sown into the fabric.
The Alpine hat is characterised by a distinctive ‘slope’ which curves around the back, a decorative ‘hatband’ that wraps around the base, and an optional feather located on the side that points upward.
Alpine hats are typically made out of polyester fabric so they are extremely durable in all weather conditions. They also come in a range of colours so it’s easy to match with the colour scheme of your costume.
Socks and shoes
With a pair of Lederhosen shoes, this will help you capture the authentic Bavarian look and stay comfortable during the whole of Oktoberfest. This last part is crucial if you plan to attend an official Oktoberfest festival, where you will be on your feet traveling from one beer garden to another.
Just like the shorts and suspenders, Lederhosen shoes are very comfortable, highly durable in all weather conditions, and come in a range of colours to suit your personal taste.
Women’s Oktoberfest costume
Originally worn by domestic workers in the Alpine region in the 19th century, the dirndl has since achieved a similar status to that of the lederhosen, that being a symbol of German pride and the go-to costume for ladies attending Oktoberfest.
Below are the key elements of the dirndl dress, which you can either buy as a complete costume or assemble yourself:
- Dirndl apron
- Socks and shoes
- (Optional) Jewelry – bracelets, necklaces and earrings
- Dirndl dress (the skirt can be separate)
The dirndl dress is available in three lengths (short, medium, and long). The length you choose will depend on your ideal level of comfort and the weather on the day of the event. Some dresses will combine both the skirt and the apron together, but this is entirely optional.
Traditionally, the Dirndl dress is wrapped in an apron and tied with a bow. It is important to remember that where you choose to tie the bow will indicate your relationship status (Right= Spoken for, Left= Single, Middle= Virgin, or “It’s none of your business, and Back= With child, widowed, or a bar maid).
Aprons come in a range of styles and colours which makes it easy to find one that matches the look of your dress.
A traditional dirndl blouse is white and has short sleeves, a puffy shoulder section, and a vertical pop up collar. Different blouses have different shaped openings in the form of a diamond, heart, or oval shape, giving you the freedom to show off as little or as much as you wish.
Modern blouses often have sections where the material is see through, plus a wider variety of colours and designs.
To stay comfortable as you walk through the Oktoberfest grounds, wear either a pair of ballerina flats or flats with a strap across the foot called a Mary Jane. If you want to keep things casual you can also wear a suitable pair of sneakers.
Regardless, make sure you stick to close toe footwear to avoid unwanted exposure to glass and liquid.