As a non-beer drinker, the most enticing aspect of visiting Oktoberfest in Munich to me has always been the ornate, traditional Oktoberfest outfit for women known as a dirndl (well that, and the giant pretzels and dancing on benches because who couldn’t resist some good old-fashioned bench dancing).
Dirndls, a cultural Bavarian dress, are made using all kinds of materials from beaded lace to to colorful brocade and luxurious velvet, always gave me real-life princess vibes. Wearing an Oktoberfest outfit is festive and fun. It’s the easiest way to truly immerse yourself in the culture of the wiesn.
Shopping for traditional Bavarian clothing, known as tracht, can be an overwhelming process. There’s several pieces to putting together an authentic outfit, and all sorts of questionable websites out there. Then, you have the added challenge of trying to guesstimate your size and convert between US and German sizing.
Planning your first Oktoberfest visit? Read these must have Oktoberfest tips next.
Dressing up in tracht for Oktoberfest is a lot of fun! Shopping for it may seem tedious, but making sure you have the perfect Oktoberfest outfit is important.
While you’d be perfectly okay wearing regular clothes around the festival grounds, wearing a put-together Oktoberfest outfit can be the difference between being allowed into an Oktoberfest tent or not (harsh, but true. Wear quality tracht or risk getting turned away, especially at peak times).
You might notice that you see more people in ordinary clothing outside of the tents than you do in them—that’s not by coincidence!
I’ve gone through the entire ordeal of shopping for dirndls and lederhosen both online, and in-store in Munich. I’m sharing exactly what to wear to Oktoberfest for both men and women below.
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Traditional Bavarian Clothing: What is Tracht?
Tracht, deriving from the word “tragen,” meaning to carry or wear, and also known as oberbayerische Gebirgstracht, is the traditional alpine dress of Bavaria, Austria, and Northern Italy including South Tyrol and Trentino.
At one point, tracht indicated the region and origin of the wearer. While historical tracht still exists, these days, its most common to see Tracht-wearers wearing colorful or embellished tracht to their own taste, with none of these associations.
Traditionally, men wore lederhosen while women wore dirndls, however tracht has now expanded to include lederhosen for women as well.
Traditional Oktoberfest Dress: What is a Dirndl?
Let’s start by asking the question on everyone’s mind: dirndl is pronounced durn-duhl (though sometimes you may hear it in German with a slight ee sound at the front).
In German-speaking regions of the Alps, dirndls are the traditional dress, consisting for a short sleeve blouse, corseted bodice dress, and apron. You’ll find dirndls in Germany’s Bavaria region, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and northern Alpine regions of Italy.
Authentic dirndls should be three different pieces of clothing: the dirndl dress, the dirndl blouse, and an apron. It’s common to see the dress and apron sold together, however the blouse should always be separate. Sometimes, you will see aprons sold separately, giving you options for mixing and matching your dirndl look.
At Oktoberfest, all types of dirndls will be on display, ranging from traditional designs to modern versions with keyhole necklines, different colored blouses, and more.
How Much do Dirndls Cost?
When it comes to dirndls and lederhosen, you get what you pay for. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Expect to pay $45-65 for low quality dirndls, $75-150 for average quality dirndls, $165-300 for upscale dirndls, and upwards of $300 for luxury dirndls (some luxury dirndls are over $1,000).
Dirndl blouses are usually around $20-30 for basic blouses, and $40-120 for high quality blouses and blouses with embellishment and details such as embroidery, beading, lace, and mesh.
How to Figure Out Your Dirndl Size
Buying a dirndl isn’t a matter of just selecting your letter size and ordering—if you’ve never worn a dirndl before, you’ll need to pay careful attention to the size chart.
Like any piece of clothing, dirndl sizing can vary between manufacturers, so it’s important to make sure that you’re not just looking at a dirndl size chart, but are looking at the right size chart when shopping for a dirndl online. For example, Trachten-Quelle’s size chart converts a German 32 to a US 2, while MyDirndl.com converts a German 32 to a US 0. For the highest chance of dirndl size success, don’t use international size conversions at all. Instead, take your own measurements and compare each to the measurements on the size chart.
If you’re from the United States, keep in mind that many dirndl retailers use centimeters for their size charts, as they’re based in Europe. Some US dirndl stores may use inches, so use your best judgment.
On a dirndl website, you may see measurements for the total garment (such as neck to hem, waist to hem, etc.). These measurements will typically be on the product page, not the size chart (though this isn’t always the case). Size charts should use body measurements, for hip, waist, shoulder to shoulder, etc.
It’s time to take your measurements. If you’re planning on wearing a bra with your dirndl, make sure to wear that exact bra when taking your measurements to ensure accuracy.
Do not ever take your own measurements. They will be inaccurate, and you’ll end up with an ill-fitting dirndl and hefty return shipping fee. Go to a local tailor for measurements, or ask a friend or partner to take them for you. Write your measurements down so you have them for later.
Go back to the size chart, and compare your measurements to the table. Dirndl sizing is typically in German sizes, however some international retailers will convert German sizes to US, UK, or Italian sizing. Again, dirndl sizing requires attention!
A dirndl should fit like a second skin. If you’re between sizes, size down if your brand runs big, size up if you’re planning on wearing a bra with extra padding. Keep in mind that most dirndls are very much non-stretch. Quality dirndls often have extra seam allowance at the sides you allow you to easily tailor them if needed.
Your dirndl should also cover your chest. It should not be cut below your breasts like it’s pushing them up—that’s a sleazy costume thing.
How to Choose the Right Dirndl Length
As you’re dirndl shopping, you’ll notice that dirndls come in several different lengths: mini, midi, and long. Though lengths aren’t necessarily standardized between manufacturers, you’ll usually see the following:
- Mini: 50 cm (19.69 in)
- Midi: 60-65 cm (23.62-25.5 in)
- Long: 70-95 cm (27.56-37.4 in)
Germans are modest when it comes to dirndl lengths. The mini length didn’t even exist until recently! This is traditional, cultural dress, not just a fun costume for a festival, after all. Do yourself a favor, and skip the mini dirndl. Dirndls are effortlessly sexy on their own, and don’t need the short length too. Plus, when you’re dancing on the drunk on the benches, you don’t want to worry about flashing the people below.
Long dirndls are typically worn by older women. You might see a few of these at Oktoberfest, but they’re not common.
The Goldilocks of dirndl lengths is the midi length. I find the 60 cm midi length to be the perfect dirndl length. Short enough that it doesn’t feel frumpy, but long enough to keep things classy and avoid judgment from locals. For reference, I’m 5’6”, and a 60 cm dirndl falls just below the knee on me.
Do I Need a Dirndl Blouse?
Dirndl blouses are short, traditionally white blouses worn under your dirndl dress. You’ll find that like a dirndl dress, they vary a lot in style. The most common ones have high stand collars and short puff sleeves in cotton poplin, but you can easily find dirndl blouses with lace detail, mesh yokes, keyhole cutouts, half sleeves, off-the-shoulder, etc. mostly in white or black. I’m still thinking of a beautiful white one I found at Angermaier in Munich, with beautiful green and pink embroidered floral mesh puff sleeves.
You should always wear a dirndl blouse under your dirndl. Dirndls are not designed to be worn alone and it’s a faux pas to do so! Your Oktoberfest outfit isn’t an outfit at all with a dirndl blouse.
You’ll known that you’re buying a high quality dirndl if the dress and blouse are separate, and sold separately. Cheaper dirndls, and costume-y dirndls, might build the “dirndl blouse” into the dirndl, like this.
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Décolletage is an important factor in wearing a dirndl. When I was in Munich, I couldn’t believe how big of a deal it was! Manufacturers have gone so far as to make special bras designed specifically for wearing a dirndl.
If you’re looking to achieve the perfect—erm—shape, consider ordering a dirndl bra (though your favorite Victoria’s Secret push-up bra is probably just as good).
I opted to skip the special dirndl bra because the chest-to-chin look isn’t my speed, but if you’re looking for that little extra oomph, the Boolavard Women’s Magic Bra and Krüger Dirndl Bra are popular choices.
How to Tie a Dirndl
Tying your dirndl might be the most important part of wearing a dirndl! Believe it or not, the side of your body that your dirndl apron is tied on signifies your relationship status.
- Bow on the right: married, or in a committed relationship
- Bow on the left: single
- Bow in the back: Widow, waitress, or maid. Children also tie their dirndls in the back
- Bow in the center: Virgin, or the wearer doesn’t want to divulge their relationship status (whose business is it anyway?)
Speaking from experience, tying your dirndl on the right may help discourage unwanted attention from belligerent festival goers, but some men at Oktoberfest are so aggressive, that you’ll probably end up getting it anyway! When I was in the Hacker-Festzelt tent, a man dancing on the benches went so far as to approach me twice—once while my boyfriend was in the bathroom, and another when he was clearly right next to me (he explicitly asked me to leave him behind)!
Lacing Up Your Dirndl
So you’ve found a dirndl, a blouse, and figured our your undergarment situation. How is this thing actually supposed to be worn?
Some dirndls may have hooks in the front that need to be laced up with ribbon. If you’re buying a dirndl online, the ribbon to lace these hooks should be in the box with your dirndl. If you’re buying your dirndl at a store in Munich, you may need to grab one of these ribbons our of the basket or bowl by the counter. The ribbon may also be in the dirndl pocket.
Lace your dirndl by starting at the top of the hooks, making sure the ribbon is even on each side of the top hooks. Crisscross the ribbon down, then tie it at the bottom (do not lace bottom to top, or you might get some strange looks). Your apron should line up with the bottom of your bodice hooks, so you can hide the laces in your apron.
Make sure to lace your dirndl when you’ve already put it on. Traditional Bavarian dirndls tend to hide the dirndl zipper behind the hooks.
Oktoberfest Outfits for Men: What Are Lederhosen?
Lederhosen, pronounced lay-DUH-hoh-zehn, are short leather breeches worn in German-speaking alpine regions including Bavaria, Austria, and some regions of Northern Italy. The leather shorts are typically embroidered with Bavarian symbols like the edelweiss or antlers in a contrasting color. Historically, lederhosen are traditional tracht for men, however women’s lederhosen now also exist.
Lederhosen are typically found in short length, falling above the knee, or in a capri length that falls below the knee, typically at mid-calf. You’ll see both at Oktoberfest, however the short version is definitely more popular.
Color options may seem limited at first glance, but in reality, there’s tons of different lederhosen style options. Usually lederhosen are brown, black, or beige as the base color. Even within those colors, you’ll find tons of different shades. Embroidery is where most fun color comes in—while lederhosen with neutral embroidery is common, so are lederhosen with embroidery colors like bright green, burgundy, or light blue.
Traditionally, lederhosen were worn with matching suspenders. Today, the suspenders are increasingly skipped for a more modern look.
Lederhosen are worn with a white or gingham-checked button-up shirt, usually in bright blue, bright green, or bright red, in addition to a vest and/or trachten jacket.
Shop the best lederhosen, vests, and trachten jackets online below:
What do Lederhosen Cost?
Like dirndls, the price of your lederhosen is directly related to the quality you’re receiving. Low quality lederhosen tends to be less common and easier to recognize than low quality dirndls as they’re clearly not genuine leather.
Affordable, average quality lederhosen can be found for $75-150. Higher quality lederhosen, and lederhosen with more unique embroidery, typically range from $200-400.
Amazon can be a great resource for finding inexpensive lederhosen that doesn’t sacrifice quality. This Amazon store stocks factory seconds from a popular lederhosen manufacturer for a fraction of the retail price (my boyfriend ordered from this store and got a solid pair of lederhosen, though he ordered the wrong size).
Figuring Out Your Lederhosen Size
Like dirndl shopping, figuring out your lederhosen size requires a little extra care compared to buying any old pair of pants. Quality lederhosen are all-leather, which means that they’ll relax over time and get a little larger as you break them in. Your lederhosen should be comfortably snug on your waist when you receive them—they shouldn’t feel “loose” at all.
German pant sizing is not a waist measurement. You’ll need to pay close attention to the size chart for each retailer or brand you’re considering for an accurate idea of which size to order. For example, Trachten-Quelle lists a German size 48 as being a US 30, whereas Elederhosen claims a German size 46 is a US size 30.
The clear solution is to never use German to US size conversions. Instead, have a friend, family member, or your local tailor take your measurements for you. Compare each of your measurements to the actual measurements in the size chart. Never take your own measurements—they’ll be inaccurate.
The most important measurements to take when shopping for lederhosen are your waist and hip. If you’re between sizes, size down to account for your lederhosen stretching out.
If your lederhosen size is a little off, don’t fret. Authentic lederhosen usually have a leather tie at the back of the waistband that allow you to adjust the waist size just a little bit.
Measuring your Lederhosen Suspender Size
If you’re buying suspenders for your lederhosen, you’ll need to know your suspender size. Your suspender size should be measured after purchasing your lederhosen, as you’ll need to wear your lederhosen to measure.
Put on your lederhosen, and measure from the left button at the front of your lederhosen, over your left shoulder, to the button at the right of the back waistband. Measure in centimeters, and round up to the nearest centimeter for your suspender size.
Traditional Bavarian Vests (Waistcoats)
As you walk around Munich before the wiesn, you may notice men wearing dapper vests in rich velvets and bright brocades with their lederhosen. It quickly became obvious that while tourists tend to stop at lederhosen and a white button-up shirt, locals go all out with the complete look, wearing their lederhosen with vests (or waistcoats, as they say), traditional socks and shoes, and sometimes suspenders, trachten jackets, or German alpine hats.
Sean, my boyfriend, originally planned on just wearing his lederhosen with a white poplin button-up, but when we got to Munich, he decided to go all-in after seeing stylish groups of young men heading to Oktoberfest. We managed to find a high quality, affordable Bavarian vest at a local department store…then saw tons of men wearing the same one at the festival (we definitely found a hidden gem off the tourist path).
You certainly don’t have to wear a vest with your lederhosen, but they do help tie the whole look together. I recommend wearing at least a vest or suspenders with your Oktoberfest outfit—not just a button-up.
Ladyhosen: Lederhosen for Women
If wearing a dress isn’t your thing, but you still want to wear a festive Oktoberfest outfit, don’t fret—ladyhosen, lederhosen for women, is your solution!
The approach is certainly modern, but hey, it is the 21st century. Women’s lederhosen tends to be much shorter than men’s lederhosen, falling at or above mid-thigh (free your legs). Although this gives ample freedom for movement, Oktoberfest can be very cold, so you may want to have a backup outfit planned, or wear nude tights underneath your ladyhosen.
Ladyhosen are usually worn with a puff-sleeved blouse in white, red gingham, or blue gingham, known as a trachten blouse.
Best Women’s Socks and Shoes for Oktoberfest
The Oktoberfest grounds are relatively well sized. You’ll likely walk several miles during the day, whether its to track down an obatzda sandwich (my favorite), or trying to squeeze into a tent you haven’t visited yet before they limit entry for the night. Plus, there’s all the standing you’ll be doing, dancing on the benches and all. Beer will also inevitably be spilled, creating slippery surfaces.
Your choice of footwear at Oktoberfest is important—not just for completing your wiesn look, but also for your own sanity!
Traditionally, dirndls are worn with Mary Jane heels and trachten socks, pretty white knee-high socks with crocheted patterns. Trachten socks can usually be found for less than $15 online. Honestly, you might be able to find something similar at a non-tracht retailer.
If you’re able to wear Mary Janes or other pumps all day long at Oktoberfest, props to you! Even though my friends poke fun at me for wearing heels all over New York, I couldn’t help but wear my favorite white leather sneakers instead.
Women pair their Oktoberfest outfit with an array of footwear, ranging from traditional Mary Janes, to simple pumps, white leather sneakers, ballet flats, leather booties, and even gym shoes (though for the sake of style and culture, I wouldn’t go *that* casual).
Lately, comfortable leather booties such as these have been a popular choice for local women at the festival. They still have a Bavarian feel, but are much more comfortable than wearing heels.
If I had a comfortable pair of travel ballet flats like Rothy’s, they would have been my first choice for Oktoberfest shoes. Still feminine, like the dirndl, but much more practical for walking and dancing.
Best Men’s Socks and Shoes for Oktoberfest
Traditional lederhosen shoes are called haferlschuhe. They’re an all-leather work boot-like shoe, sometimes embroidered, other times, just left plain.
Your haferlschuhe should be pair with loferl, known as calf warmers. Loferl are a traditional 2-part sock worn with lederhosen, consisting of a short sock, and short knit tube meant to be worn on your calf.
Also commonly worn with lederhosen are tracht socks for men, longer socks that typically rise to mid-calf. My boyfriend says that these are a must, as Oktoberfest can be chilly, and the extra leg coverage helps!
Although haferlschuhe are the most authentic footwear option for lederhosen, if you’re a tourist, you might be finding that all of this Oktoberfest clothing is adding up! To help keep costs down, my boyfriend opted to wear a leather lug sole chukka boot like these instead. They still maintained the look of the outfit, paying homage to the traditional footwear choice, but didn’t require him shelling out $100+ on new shoes he wouldn’t be able to wear often.
If you’re not wearing haferlschuhe with your lederhosen, I still strongly encourage you to wear a leather shoe of some kind. Loafers, leather boots, and dress shoes are all great alternatives.
Oktoberfest Jewelry and Accessories
A complete Oktoberfest outfit isn’t just dirndls and lederhosen! There’s also several traditional tracht accessories to finish off your look (because, of course there is). Luckily, if your wallet is feeling the pinch with all the different pieces of a tracht outfit, Oktoberfest accessories are much more optional than dirndls and lederhosen.
The following are popular Oktoberfest accessories you should know about:
- Jewelry – usually with Bavarian edelweiss flowers, or novelty motifs like pretzels or beer steins
- Charivari (tracht chains) – these silver charm chains are meant to be clipped to the top hooks of your dirndl. Men’s charivari are clipped across the lederhosen waistband
- Lederhosen belts – serving the very practical purpose of keeping your lederhosen up. You may see some men wearing these at Oktoberfest, however many don’t
- Tyrolean hat (German alpine hat) – skip the tacky chicken hats in favor of these sharp, traditional German alpine hats. These are popular among men at Theresienwiese
- Flower crowns – women have been wearing flower crowns to Oktoberfest since the 19th century. This non-traditional option features a pretzel
Bavarian jewelry is traditionally silver, so I opted to skip it (silver is not my best color). If you also prefer gold-toned jewelry, buy your Oktoberfest jewelry in advance online, instead of in Munich. Edelweiss jewelry can get pricey, but you can find options as low as $10, like this 3-piece black velvet choker and earring set to compliment your Oktoberfest outfit.
Click below to shop the best Oktoberfest shoes and accessories:
Handbags for Oktoberfest
Listen to me carefully: bring the smallest purse possible to Oktoberfest. Not only does the festival have strict bag guidelines, bringing a large bag to what’s essentially a giant party is altogether not ideal. Who wants to be dancing all night with a heavy tote bag or backpack, anyway?
Oktoberfest’s bag restriction rules state that bags much not be more than three liters in volume, and cannot exceed 20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm (approximately 8 in x 6 in x 4 in). A small crossbody bag is the best option for ensuring you’ll make it into the festival without issue.
If your bag does exceed the festival’s permitted size, there are storage options located just outside of the festival gates. You will need to pay to store your bag, unless you want to go back to your hotel to drop it off. There is no free bag storage in or out of the wiesn.
Braids are the name of the game at Oktoberfest. Common Oktoberfest hairstyles include all kinds of braids, from braided crowns to buns to pigtails and half-up-half-down headbands. Fishtail braids have become popular, in addition to classic Dutch braids.
Braids aren’t just a great choice for Oktoberfest hair because they’re pretty—they can help keep your hair from tangling as you’re dancing all day long.
I would have loved to wear my hair in a gorgeous braided updo for Oktoberfest, but let’s be honest—my hair skills are nowhere near that good, and there’s no way my boyfriend was going to do much better. I opted instead for giving my hair a basic curl.
Regardless of how you do your hair for Oktoberfest, make sure to use lots of hair spray or styling gel to keep your hair perfect all throughout the festival!
Other Must-Have Items for Your Oktoberfest Packing List
Before you go to Munich, there’s a few more items your Oktoberfest packing list needs to complete your festival outfit and make sure you have the best time possible.
Oktoberfest is in September, when Munich starts cooling down. Some years are more temperate than others—you could get mid-60s and sunny, or 40 degrees and raining. For example, when I visited, the temperature was in the 40s and 50s during the day. Paired with overcast skies and occasional rain, it felt pretty chilly!
Pack a jacket just in case of cold weather. You’ll see festival goers in your standard puffy winter jacket when temperatures cool down. Packable down jackets like these are a great option if you’re looking for something warm that take up space in your suitcase or add extra weight.
Dirndl Sweater and Tracht Jackets
Hopefully, you won’t need a full jacket at Oktoberfest. However, as September still can be cool, a light cardigan is a much appreciated layer after the sun goes down.
Traditional dirndl sweaters are usually made of a coarse, sturdy knit material. Sweaters usually fall to the top of the hip, and are sometimes embellished or embroidered.
Trachten jackets for men are a tailored jacket made out of boiled wool, a type of felted wool. The jackets almost always have stand collars and metal buttons.
Both dirndl sweaters and trachten jackets make appearances all over Oktoberfest. Men’s trachten jackets are the more common of the two, as many women opt to wear regular sweaters instead.
Dirndl sweaters and trachten jackets are the most authentic options for layering up your Oktoberfest outfit, but they’re pricey. These Oktoberfest clothing pieces often cost just as much or more than your dirndl or lederhosen itself.
For this reason, I decided to skip the dirndl sweater. Instead, I wore a cardigan I already owned, embellished in a similar style. A plain cardigan is absolutely a great alternative to a dirndl sweater. This one is a great length for wearing with a dirndl.
Leggings or Tights
As mentioned above, Oktoberfest can be chilly. Wearing leggings or tights with your dirndl is a perfectly acceptable way to stay warm (wear nude tights for the best look).
If you forget to pack tights, don’t worry. There’s a few Calzedonia stores in tourist areas in Munich, such as Marienplatz and Sendlinger-Tor where you can find all kinds of leg wear, not to mention all the department stores in the city.
Spandex shorts might seem redundant in a long dress, but I live in the camp of “better safe than sorry.” Keep yourself covered while dancing on the tables by wearing spandex shorts underneath your dirndl. This pair is just $9 and ships free.
Rain Jacket or Umbrella
It rained nearly every day I was in Munich for Oktoberfest, including two of the three days I went to the wiesn. Don’t be the underprepared festivalgoer—nothing kills the festive spirit more than having to cower under a tent entrance because you’re ill-prepared for walking through the rain.
Bring a rain jacket or umbrella just in case you need it (hopefully you won’t). Umbrellas are allowed at Oktoberfest, so you should have no trouble getting one in! These tiny travel umbrellas fold up so small that you should be able to put one in a handbag.
Oktoberfest is a lot of walking…and snug clothing. If your lederhosen is a little tight, they can cause chafing as you break them in.
If you’re a tourist, I’m assuming your lederhosen are probably new and haven’t been broken in quite yet. Save yourself from a festival of pain by brining along an anti-chafe stick.
What Not to Wear to Oktoberfest
We’ve reviewed every necessary component of a perfect Oktoberfest outfit. As you shop for your Oktoberfest outfit, you may be tempted by inexpensive costumes instead of the real thing. Resist the urge. There’s definitely some Oktoberfest clothing you should avoid altogether at the festival, lest you want to run the risk of offending locals, or getting judgmental stares.
These types of clothing should also be avoided if you want the best chance of getting into the top Oktoberfest tents. Some it-crowd tents, such as Marstall Festzelt, will turn away festivalgoers not dressed up to par (i.e. proper tracht or fashionable street clothes). If you’re wearing a novelty Oktoberfest costume, expect to be turned away from all the tents. It’s much better to just wear regular clothes than something offensive.
You may have seen cheesy Oktoberfest t-shirts at Oktoberfests across the United States already. I’m talking lederhosen suspender-printed shirts, well-endowed dirndl t-shirts similar to the bikini t-shirt.
While you probably won’t be alone in wearing these, I promise the joke is funnier in your head than it is in practice. If you want to wear casual clothing that still pays homage to Oktoberfest, consider t-shirts with popular Oktoberfest phrases like prost! and eins, zwei, drei, g’suffa!; Oktoberfest motifs like this collage shirt, or this vintage logo tee.
Around the festival, you’ll see groups wearing large tacky hats meant to look like rotisserie chicken or steins of beer. Leave the novelty hats for the plastered frat boys, and opt for traditional alpine hats instead.
Sleazy dirndls, baggy Robin Hood-esque lederhosen, and anything that looks like it belongs in the live-action remake of Pinocchio are all no-gos at Oktoberfest. Also on the kill list are beer rider costumes. As a general rule of thumb, if it looks like it could be purchased at Spencer’s or Party City, it doesn’t belong at Oktoberfest.
If a dirndl is marketed as a “beer maid,” “beer garden babe,” “beer wench,” “flirty,” or “cosplay” costume, say it with me: it doesn’t belong at Oktoberfest. You’ll feel much more confident wearing an authentic dirndl than you will in a cheap costume that costs less than your bar tab on a Saturday night, promise.
Wearing regular clothes, though not nearly as fun as dressing up in traditional tracht, is the preferred alternative to an offensive Oktoberfest costume.
Open-Toed Shoes and Sandals
Live music, dancing on the benches, and all the beer and carbs you could want—it sounds like a great time, but also the recipe for a mess! It’s inevitable that beer will be spilled at the festival. I know your sandals are cute, but you should prioritize protecting your feet from sticky, spilled beer and cold temperatures by only wearing closed-toed shoes with your Oktoberfest outfit instead.
Large Tote Bags and Backpacks
Don’t pack a large tote bag or backpack for Oktoberfest. Although it’s tempting to want to bring all the festival-survival essentials in a big bag, they’re banned. Even if you could carry it into the festival, walking around for hours with a large bag is cumbersome and uncomfortable!
Where to Buy an Oktoberfest Outfit in Munich
If you’re attending Oktoberfest in Munich, you’ll find that the city is home to tons of trachtenmode stores where you can buy dirndls, lederhosen, and everything else you’d need for a complete look.
Tracht shopping in Munich is hectic and crowded. It feels like a literal wrestling match, between trying to wedge yourself into a spot to shop the racks, and picked-over bars once filled with colorful Oktoberfest clothing.
Of course, that’s not to say that shopping for a dirndl or lederhosen in Munich doesn’t have some clear advantages. You’ll be able to try everything on before you buy it and figure out exactly what the right sizes for you are. Plus, you may even be able to get a good last-minute festival bundle or discount towards the middle and end of Oktoberfest.
I shopped for my Oktoberfest outfit both in Munich and online. In Munich, these are the best traditional tracht stores to try:
- Leder Fischer – very fair prices, usually not as crowded as nearby Angermaier
- Angermaier – a favorite of Munich’s it-crowd, stocks tons of higher end dirndls. Typically has a good sales rack
- Daller Tracht – Large tracht superstore known for great service, large selection, and a variety of price points
- H&M – Yes, really! This popular fast fashion chain stocks dirndls at their location in Munich, however selection is limited and can go quickly
- Galeria München Schwabing – Munich’s best hidden gem for tracht shopping. Well-known brands, fair prices, and popular with locals
- LODENFREY – Luxury department store in Munich stocking stunning traditional tracht
- Almwelt – Large tracht store stocking a variety of popular tracht brands. The location near Marienplatz is larger than Angermaier and Leder Fischer, and smaller than Daller Tracht. Service here is not the best, but Almwelt’s selection holds up
- Ludwig Beck– Another pillar of luxury dirndl shopping in Munich, this iconic department store in Munich only stocks the highest quality tracht
- Secondhand stores – tons of secondhand stores in Munich sell gently used tracht during Oktoberfest for a steal
Oktoberfest Outfit Rentals in Munich
If you’ve been doing mental math while reading this post, all these different Oktoberfest outfit pieces are probably adding up. An obvious solution to having to purchase everything outright would just be to rent it, right?
Although I wish that was the case, dirndl and lederhosen rentals in Munich tend to be just as expensive as buying an average quality dirndl or lederhosen. Thinking through how sweaty and sticky the festival can get, renting tracht starts to sound even less appealing.
You’re much better off purchasing inexpensive tracht in Munich or at online retailers like Amazon, than trying to rent it. After visiting Oktoberfest in Munich, you can always re-wear your purchased tracht at local Oktoberfest celebrations.
Where to Buy Dirndls and Lederhosen Online
Buying a dirndl or pair of lederhosen online is the perfect if want to have the widest selection. You’ll also have peace of mind that your Oktoberfest outfit is in order before arriving in Munich. Instead of spending time on your vacation bouncing from tracht store to tracht store, you can just focus on sightseeing. Plus, you’ll be able to have ample time to tailor your dirndl at home if it doesn’t fit quite right.
Ordering your dirndl online can also help you save the most money on your Oktoberfest outfit.
Downsides to buying a dirndl or lederhosen online includes possibly getting caught in a dirndl scam, or purchasing the wrong size and needing to pay for expensive return shipping (tailors can only do so much).
When shopping online, stay on the lookout for dirndl scams (yes, they’re really a thing). As you’re searching for where to buy a dirndl online, you may notice that Dirndl.com comes up at the top of the search results. I’m not condoning or endorsing Dirndl.com as I have no personal experience ordering from them, however some reviews from customers who have report long shipping delays, receiving incorrect sizes, dirndls in poor condition, and other similar issues.
Below are the best places to buy dirndls and lederhosen online:
- Etsy– several stores stock quality tracht, including dirndls, lederhosen, dirndl sweaters, trachten jackets, charivari, and edelweiss jewelry
- Amazon – there’s plenty of cheap costumes, but also some affordable dirndl and lederhosen options that are perfectly passable at Oktoberfest. Great option for inexpensive dirndl blouses
- eBay – new and gently used dirndls for a steep discount
- Krüger – this trendy dirndl label is a favorite of trendy young women in Bavaria for its princess-like pieces and unique lederhosen for men
- Alpenclassics – offers a wide array of tracht for women, men, and children
- German Speciality Imports – Family-run Minnesota-based importer stocking popular brands like Stockerpoint and Krüger. Prices are usually higher than what you’d pay for the same item from a German website, but you have the added bonus of easy returns
If you’re ordering from Krüger, know that they don’t ship directly to the United States. That shouldn’t stop you from ordering—Krüger still ships all over the Europe. I ordered my dirndl for Oktoberfest from Krüger using a shipping forwarder, Mailboxde.com. When ordering from Krüger, you’ll just place your order to ship to the forwarder, then pay the forwarder to ship the package from Germany to the United States. You could also have your package shipped to your hotel in Munich, or a friend in Europe.
German Specialty Imports has a physical store in Prior Lake, MN where you can try on dirndls and lederhosen in-person.
Dirndl Tailoring in Munich
If your dirndl doesn’t fit quite right when you arrive in Munich, you’re not out of luck. Although finding last-minute tailoring during Oktoberfest can be difficult, it’s not impossible.
I ordered a dirndl a size large simply because it was so unique that I couldn’t pass it up, and my size was sold out (I seriously couldn’t find another dirndl even remotely similar). I had it shipped to my hotel in Munich. When I arrived, it was obvious that the dirndl was so large, it wasn’t even remotely wearable.
After calling around to a few different tailors in Munich near my hotel, it started to feel like I’d just need to buy a different dirndl in a different size. Then, I found Tailoring ALTEX in Galeria München Schwabing. Going to a tailor in a less touristy area of the city meant that not only could my dirndl be tailored in time for the festival, it could be finished same day. My dirndl fit absolutely perfectly and cost a negligible amount to fix.
If you’re looking for dirndl tailoring in Munich, try the following tips:
- Go to areas outside of popular tourist zones, where demand isn’t quite as high
- Trying calling first or texting via WhatsApp—if they don’t pick up, they may be too busy
- Keep 2-3 days of lead time, just in case
Tailoring ALTEX and Schneider Manufaktur München are both great options for tracht tailoring in Munich. Schneider Manufacture München is located on busy Sendlinger Straße, filling up for tracht tailoring much more quickly.
What to Wear to Oktoberfest: FAQ
You do not need to wear traditional clothing, known as tracht, to Oktoberfest, however many visitors choose to do so. Wearing tracht, such as dirndls or lederhosen, to Oktoberfest can increase your chances of being able to get into tents without a reservation.
Regular clothing is perfectly acceptable at Oktoberfest, although with so many visitors wearing tracht, you may feel out of place.
Amazon, Etsy, and resale websites like eBay, are great resources for buying an Oktoberfest outfit on a budget. Focus on just buying the basics, like a dirndl and dirndl blouse, or lederhosen, pairing them with shoes and sweaters you already own.
If you’re shopping for an Oktoberfest outfit last minute, try retailers with free 2-day shipping like Amazon, or purchase your clothing from a tracht store in Munich.
Both tourists and locals dress up for Oktoberfest. Everyday during the wiesn, thousands of festivalgoers dress up in traditional Bavarian tracht including dirndls and lederhosen.
Dirndls have enough structure in the bodice that you may not actually need to wear a bra with your dirndl, however bras should still be worn with a dirndl to achieve the full effect and intended fit.
Large bags over 20 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm, anything that can be used as a weapon, aerosol spray cans containing potential dangerous substances, glass bottles, and pets (excluding service animals, are all banned at Oktoberfest. Strollers, buggies, and prams are allowed, however are banned after 6 pm.
Dressing warm for Oktoberfest requires wearing layers. Pack a packable down jacket and lightweight cardigan in case of cold weather. To keep your legs warm, wear leggings or tights under your dirndl, and tall socks with your lederhosen.
Instead of wearing a dirndl, wear lederhosen! Women’s lederhosen is typically worn with a puff-sleeved white or gingham trachten blouse.
Looking for the best things to do in Munich during Oktoberfest? Click here, or below:
Shop the Best Oktoberfest Clothing Online
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Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.