Fashion forward at Octoberfest

In days gone by, Octoberfest celebrations were all about drinking steins of foaming beer, eating delicious German sausages with sauerkraut, and if you were lucky, tapping your foot to an Oompah band or two. Alongside all the beer quaffing and eating in cavernous tents, there was a strong sense of tradition and German national heritage being honoured by the enthusiastic attendees.

Well if you attend an Octoberfest event these days, whether in Munich where it all started, or one of the many satellite celebrations taking place around the world, you may notice a subtle but distinct shift in mood.

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In recent years the big parties in Bavarian cities that go on for seventeen days have started to change. Today, you’ll discover more of a carnival or Mardi Gras type atmosphere creeping in, and with this, some of the staid and more traditional rules are being tested.

In particular you see a development in the clothes that people are wearing for Octoberfest. Of course, there’ll always be the casual visitors who just turn up for a beer and pretzel in jeans and T shirt, but equally, there are those who really take the whole dressing-up issue very seriously. The strict observation of traditional Bavarian folk costume for all has definitely moved on. Now it’s not just the beers and brews people are checking out, it’s the new cutting edge fashions revellers are wearing to get into the Octoberfest mood.

Traditionally, the dirndl dress with its tight, laced up bodice and knee to floor length skirt was mainly worn by the waitresses serving beer at Octoberfest. The peasant-inspired dirndl worn with white blouse and apron was the uniform of choice for purists. Think of Julie Andrews in the sound of music, that wholesome, country-girl look that puts you in mind of fresh air and mountain views. Throughout the centuries the dirndl dress has been modelled by women young and old and the silhouette has become strongly associated with traditional German sartorial styles.

But the times have definitely changed and at today’s Octoberfest, it’s not just the beer maids in dirndls. You will see these pretty, distinctive dresses worn everywhere by the people drinking and dancing in the tents, the stall holders, parking attendants, even the security at some venues!  And when we read about celebrities such as Paris Hilton, actress Emma Watson and royal relative Pippa Middleton dressing in dirndls, it’s time to recognise it as a trend with traction.

If you are a modern woman who wants to channel her inner German beer wench, head to for a huge range of dresses in dirndl styles. With many freshly interpreted designs boasting shorter hemlines, bustier bodices and lots of new exciting colours, the dirndl is appealing to younger, more fashion-focused women. To perfect the look, be sure to accessorise with a pretty dirndl necklace, a pair of lace up black heeled ankle boots and a traditionally embroidered handbag.

And it’s not just the women who are raiding the traditional Bavarian wardrobe.  Men are increasingly reaching for leather lederhosen as the trouser of choice. If you want to cut a dash in a pair of smart deerskin shorts with a strong German twist, then head to for a wide choice of styles in many different fabrics. You can go plain and restrained with a pair of natural brown goat’s leather shorts, or get yourself noticed in bright yellow, ornately embroidered lederhosen that are bound to cause a stir.  And if you want to really sell the German gent look, invest in authentic lederhosen socks and braces, a checked shirt and a fabulous Tracht hat in felt. These kind of rustic stylings are very in tune with current earthy dress styles of hipsters such as the band ‘Mumford and Sons’ and  other similar folky types, so be sure to check out the full range online. Choose from quirky hats, waistcoats, shirts and cardigans all with a wholesome look that’s both fashionable and practical.


Some of the elders at more traditional Octoberfest events have been appalled to see gender stereotypes reversed with women wearing lederhosen and men in dirndls – but there’s no stopping a fashion from evolving and mutating and when it’s based on attire as distinctive and unique as German ‘Trachten’ wear, it’s always going to be exciting.

If you have a visit to Octoberfest marked in your diary, be sure to look the part and dress up in all the right gear. No longer the preserve of die-hard traditionalists, it’s great to know you can hit Octoberfest in sympathetic but trendy fashions that make you stand out for all the right reasons…