Where once only the proudest of Bavarians would don this clothing for the fest, since the 1990s tourists and other Germans have taken part in the fun. Most people are already familiar with the leather pants known as lederhosen, but there are also charming Bavarian dresses known as a dirndl.
There are a range of qualities and price points and Munich offers all the options and best places to shop for lederhosen. If you are worried you will stand out at the tents, note that up to 75% of festival goers will be dressed in some form of tracht.
Best Brands of Lederhosen
Styles and prices of trachten vary widely; you can get a sassy, short dirndl for as little as 40 euros or a richly embroidered custom-made dress for hundreds.
Either way, it's a fun way to be part of the festivities, but price and brand will factor into the longevity of your outfit. If you plan to wear your tracht several times, it is worth the investment to get a decent one. After all, many Bavarians swear by “lederhosen for life” — investing in one quality pair to see them through the festivals year after year. And there is no better German souvenir.
If you are looking for quality lederhosen, note that true lederhosen are only made of goatskin or the more upscale deerskin. The best models are still hand-made and offer traditional details like buttons made out of antler, but you can even find international designers dipping into tracht like Tommy Hilfiger.
Lederhosen come either long or short, and usually black, brown, or grey. Suspenders may be in a "V" or "H"-style featuring a fancifully embroidered cross piece (stegträger). The long variety may be worn without suspenders. Common accessories include a vest or janker (jacket), knitted socks, and a jaunty felt hat known as a gamsbart, complete with feather.
Some of the best brands for lederhosen include:
- Stockerpoint: This top-of-the-line manufacturer still produces traditional hand-made lederhosen with techniques like hand buffing and tanning. This natural approach is becoming more rare and buying this brand supports heritage clothing.
- Krüger: Options for men, women and children in traditional and modern styles.
Common Mistakes to Avoid with Lederhosen
While most people are just happy to have people celebrate Bavarian culture through clothing, there are a few things you should know about lederhosen before buying.
As mentioned before, genuine Bavarian lederhosen are always made of goat or deer leather - no exceptions. Imitation leather, cowhide, etc. are not authentic.
Never wash you lederhosen. Seriously. If it made of traditional materials, it naturally repels liquids (as spilled beer is inevitable) and is extremely durable. There is a much softer stance for dirndls, although the blouse and apron are commonly washed. If you are looking for a discount dirndl, it is actually called a wasch-dirndl.
This is more a matter of opinion than a rule, but the German love of nudity extends to optional underwear beneath the lederhosen. Less revealing than the kilt, some Bavarians swear it is tradition to forgo boxers or briefs.
While you might feel like you've already shelled out quite a few euros for the leferhosen, don't skimp on the accessories. Sneakers can ruin an outfit while haferlschuhe can make it.
Many shops sell a variety of tracht as this used to be everyday clothing (and for a minority of Bavarians, it still is). Ask about Oktoberfest tracht if you want the special dressed up styles versus the country style.
01 of 07
Loden-Frey is one of Munich's top department stores with its store in the city center providing an extensive selection of clothing, old and new. There is also an excellent selection of authentic dirndl and lederhosen.
From exclusive designer brands to intro-level outfits, they have it all. The high quality at Lodenfrey has its price – but you can get great deals if you head to the Loden-Frey outlet store, Trachtenhäusl, outside of Munich.
02 of 07
For over 70 years, the specialty shop Angermaier has focused on selling Bavarian costumes at all price points. They offer everything from lederhosen and dirndl to accessories and shoes.
During Oktoberfest, Angermaier offers a "Wiesn-Special" of complete sets so you know you have everything you need. Lederhosen combos consist of short pants, shirt, and shoes for around 200 euros while dirndl sets of dress, blouse, apron and shoes start at as little as 129 euros. It's a steal, but you do risk seeing similar gear out at the tents.
03 of 07
Steindl Trachten is a family-owned fashion company based in Munich. They focus on traditional Bavarian clothing and push the border of what is new and modern in tracht.
There are five stores in Munich that sell everything from the latest designer fashions to vintage tracht to classic second-hand options. Here, too, you can purchase the entire Oktoberfest outfit for discount prices. .
04 of 07
This small, traditional shop offers a catalog and full range of services for international customers. The staff is well versed in all things Bavarian and can offer expert advice on style, fit, and budget. They offer a "Lederhosen set for beginners" that starts at just 129 euros. Open year-round, prepare for it to be quite busy during Oktoberfest.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
If you want to dress the part but fear you won't have left for the beers, foreigners can rent their gear from Bavarian Outfitters. You can rent lederhosen or dirndl for a fraction of the price of buying them.
There is a handy online booking option and a store in Munich to try on your outfit. Lederhose start at just €32.90 per day with full sets at 49.90. Dirndls cost €42.90 per day. And if you don't want the party to stop, second day rentals are only 50% of the price.
06 of 07
If you are looking for a discount option, German department stores like K&L may be the ideal option. They usually have more limited options and sizes, but also more affordable prices. This also might be the only place you find an outfit outside of Bavaria.
All department stores in Munich have affordable dirndl and lederhosen in September, and vastly discounted outfits in mid-Octotber.
07 of 07
Another option is to purchase an outfit online. This can offer significant savings, but remember that it is best to try on your Tracht before buying. Go to a local store and experiment with your options and measure carefully before shopping virtually.
Also check ebay for new and pre-owned, heavily discounted outfits.