Almost everyone attending Oktoberfest in Munich dresses in traditional Bavarian outfits, so consider taking part yourself. Dressing traditionally will help you blend in better, you’ll feel less like a tourist, and it makes the whole Oktoberfest experience a lot more fun. Although 85% of Oktoberfest visitors are German speaking, as an American you can feel the part by dressing up like a local. This clothing guide will ensure you know how to dress for Oktoberfest in Munich. Even outside of the Oktoberfest celebrations, we have been surprised to see how many people tend to dress up to go out around Munich no matter what time of year it is. As they say, When In Rome…
History of Oktoberfest Outfits:
In the 1500-1600s traditional Bavarian outfits were common facets of everyday life in Munich from going around town to even working in the fields. As the use of the traditional clothing started to fade, groups of locals came together to make sure this part of Alpine culture stayed strong. In 1835, the first Riflemen and Costume (Tracht) Parade was added to the Oktoberfest celebrations, and in 1883 they started the traditional costume association called Trachtenverein. Today you will find that in upwards of 90% of visitors are dressed up on some level for Oktoberfest in Munich.
Women’s Oktoberfest Outfits:
There are thousands of variations in Women’s outfits for Oktoberfest ranging from traditional to modern. Here is an overview guide of costume tips and ideas of the most essential elements for a woman’s Oktoberfest outfit.
1. Outfits Consist Of: The staple of a woman’s outfit is a tight fitting Bavarian Dirndl dress with an apron tied around it. The Dirndl blouses are normally white with the cut depending on how much cleavage you want to show. Most women show quite a bit of cleavage.
2. Dirndl Bows: Each apron is wrapped and typically tied with bow on the front. Put your bow on the left side if you’re single, the right side if you’re taken, and in the middle if you’re are a virgin. Wedding rings are usually wore on the right hand in this part of Germany if at all, so the bow is helpful.
3. Dress Length: An authentic Dirndl dress usually goes below the knee, while the Halloween costume-style ones run much shorter like a skirt. It doesn’t really matter which length you go with as both are acceptable, but almost all the Bavarians go with one below the knee. It gets easy to spot the American girls in the tents as they are normally the ones with the really short, sexy dresses.
4. Shoes: Avoid open-toed shoes because of the amount of beer glasses that get broken inside the Oktoberfest tents. The most common shoes are either flats or the Mary Jane-style footwear. The local Mary Jane’s have comfortable rubber soles plus cleated heels and toes to make noise while dancing.
5. Female Lederhosen: Becoming more and more common, especially with international visitors, are the female lederhosen. These high-cut suede shorts have suspenders and can be seen as very sexy if you have the legs to pull it off. Sizing isn’t very flexible with lederhosen so try them on before you buy.
6. Wiesn Glupperl: What the heck is a Wiesn Glupperl? It is a common wooden clothespin decorated with some Oktoberfest flair and your first name scorched on with a wood burner. They’re a little tacky, but very fun and a great ice breaker. Both women and men can wear them. Younger Germans often wear them only to be humorous and use funny fake names or dirty words instead of their real names. There are stands at Oktoberfest selling Wiesn Glupperl and they will etch on your name or funny phrase. HERE is an example.
Men’s Oktoberfest Outfits:
Men’s Oktoberfest outfits are a little more straight forward than the ladies as the options tend to stay a bit more traditional.
1. Outfits Consist Of: A typical guys outfit at Oktoberfest will have a button-up shirt (either white or checkered), leather Lederhosen shorts with suspenders, an Alpine hat, and sturdy Bavarian shoes. When you take it up a notch, there are extra options for hat accessories, jackets, and vests which we explain in detail below. As a rule of thumb we suggest spending the couple extra bucks for a real outfit over a cheap Halloween costume one.
2. Lederhosen Options & Sizing: There are number traditional Oktoberfest pants styles each with a unique name. Lederhosen are the standard leather shorts, Plattlerhosen are longer going either to or below the knee, and Bundhosen are more capri-style pants. Most leather pairs will come with bone buttons and some are even Gauplattlerhosen which means they will be more decoratively embroidered. Traditional Lederhosen run a bit tight and are stiff in the thighs, but have draw strings in the back to give you more room around the waist. The leather of the thighs will soften a bit with use, however, if you aren’t going to have time to really break them in before Oktoberfest you should consider getting them one size big.
You can save some money by getting the cheap Halloween costume-style outfits online or at a costume store, but we advise against it. The costume style ones fit really awkward with baggy pants and suspenders that never work correctly. The costume style ones also don’t have pockets while the real Lederhosen have 2-3 pockets.
3. Traditional Hats: The wool or felt Alpine and Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte) are by far the way to go. These hats typically have a pheasant or ostrich feather on the side which are replaced by a brush of either goat or boar hair if you want to get really fancy. Traditionally, the bigger the feather or tuft of hair on your hat the wealthier you are, as it is a sign of high standing. It has long been a custom to add pewter pins to the side of your hat based on what cities you have visited and interests you have such as hiking or hunting. In addition to Alpine hats, you will see many people also wearing floppy farmer hats as well as some with beer mug-shaped hats and even Harry Potter wizard hats. Traditional hats are the way to go though.
4. Shirts: Bavarian Trachten shirts are the most common style of shirt. These shirts can be a solid color, but are usually a plaid pattern in either red or blue. Remember that white and blue are the official colors of Bavaria. A hidden feature on the traditional shirts is the arm button which lets you roll up the sleeves and hold it in place. Recently it has become more common to get a slim-fitting trachten shirt compared to the older baggy ones.
5. Suspenders: You have to have suspenders at least for the look even if your pants/shorts fit well enough to stay up on their own. An embroidered chest strap on your suspenders is a good way to add some flair to your outfit if you are working with a basic ensemble.
6. Shoes & Socks: Bavarian men wear traditional shoes called Haferlschuh which are a mix between a dress shoe and work boot. They have cleated bumps on the bottom but have smooth leather on top. Socks can be cotton, but are normally wool with stripes on them. The coolest combo is a low cut wool sock with a matching, mid-shin wool leg warmer.
7. Vests & Jackets: Vests, jackets and even ties are common. The vest is called a Prien, and it is sometimes worn instead of suspenders. Traditional ties usually are worn with fancy metal tie rings. Most of the established Bavarian men have a nice jacket or vest to accent their outfit.
From eBay to the stands at the Munich train station, there are tons of great places to buy Oktoberfest outfits. Below are some of the places we have had the best luck shopping at both in person and online.
Best Places to Shop Online:
We prefer shopping for our outfits online so we have them before arriving in Munich or at Oktoberfest. Buying online ahead of time will help save you time going from store to store that you can be spending enjoying your vacation. You can get the costume style outfits online really cheap, but we recommend spending the extra couple bucks and getting a truly authentic Oktoberfest outfit.
1. Stockerpoint: To get the perfect Trachten outfit before you get to Munich or Oktoberfest make sure to shop at Stockerpoint. They have the best mixture of modern and traditional outfits highlighted by very detailed Dirndls with bright colors and contemporary patterns. The cool people in Germany buy from Stockerpoint because you can get something unique that you know will last a long time. Outfits range from 99-199 Euros with shipping to the US around 40 Euros. Website: (HERE).
2. Alpen Wahnsinn: Great modern selection of Women’s outfits and they are always having sales. A lot of what they sell are directly from Stockerpoint which is listed above. Shop Stockerpoint directly first but make sure to also check Alpen Wahnsinn’s sales as they sometimes have some very high end Drindls for only 99 Euros. Website: (HERE).
3. Alpensehnsucht’s Ebay Store: As far as eBay goes, these guys seem to be by far the best for Oktoberfest clothing, as they sell real overstock items instead of cheaply made costumes. The girls outfits are a are very affordable and they are favorite discount store to buy guys outfits from. Ebay Store: (Men’s Clothing | Women’s Clothing).
4. Unique Leather Ebay Store: A great place to buy a complete guy’s outfit from head to toe is Unique Leather’s Ebay page. Their garments are made in the Middle East which allows you to get a pair of shoes, socks, shirt and leather lederhosen with suspenders for only $100 total. They sometimes have shipping issues to the US and only have a 92% rating, but we recently ordered from here and didn’t have any problems. Always remember that on Ebay you have 21 days of buyer protection so if you haven’t received your item right away you can do a dispute with Ebay within 21 days of your purchase to get a refunded. The outfits bought here for $99 can be over $250 anywhere else. Ebay Store: (HERE).
5. Oktoberfest Haus: This is by far the cheapest option as the outfits are 25-50 euros, but they are more costumes than authentic outfits. These are made out cheaper materials and are the same ones sold in American stores for Halloween parties. These costume style guys outfits will fit a little big and will not have pockets. The Dirndls typically have much shorter dresses which are popular with Americans. Website: (HERE).
Best Places In Munich To Shop In Person:
Buying your outfit in person is a great way to get exactly what you want and most importantly to make sure it fits. If you are shopping during Oktoberfest, expect that the retails stores will be quite packed. You may be able to find some older styles on sale in person, but the selection will be limited.
1. Resales Second Hand & More (Sonnenstrasse 2): Is a great consignment location with 2nd hand outfits. This store has the most stuff and best prices out of the 2nd hand places. It is open Monday-Friday from 10am-5:30pm, Saturday 10am-6pm. Website: (HERE).
2. Train Station Stands: Outside of the Munich train station are a number of temporary stands selling complete outfits. They have a wide selection and are helpful in a pinch. You can get a shirt and lederhosen together for 60-120€, and with shoes for 150-180€. Drindls with a blouse at the stands will range from 40-120€. The stuff here isn’t super high quality, but it looks decent and should be good enough to get you through a few days of partying.
3. Kleidermarkt (Tal 30): Has great second hand outfits and usually has 30% on Tuesdays from 10am-3pm outside of Oktoberfest. It has three floors of shopping and is open Monday-Saturday 10am-10pm. Website: (HERE).
4. Wiesn Tracht und Mehr (Tal 19): Has new and second hand items. The girls stuff is a lot sexier than normal and is a lot more hip/young. They offer brighter colors and more modern patterns. They also have slim fit shirt options for guys. They’re open Monday-Saturday from 10am-10pm. Website: (HERE).
5. Akmenrausch (Tal 21 & 1): Is open from Monday-Saturday 10am-10pm. The flagship store is at Tal 21. They are a little more expensive, but because they have the best stuff they are always packed. Their online shop is a great way to browse the inventory. Website: (HERE).
6. Angermaier (Rosental 10): Is another expensive designer place, and they have a special tourist package during Oktoberfest for 129 euro for the girls set and 200 for the guys outfit. They’re open Monday-Friday 10am-7pm, and Saturday 10am-4pm. Website: (HERE).
How Much Should I Pay For My Outfit:
Full authentic outfits typically range from 100-200 Euros, but they can be in the 1000’s of Euros depending on the detail and accessories you go with. If you are really on a budget the cheap costume style outfits can be as cheap as 49€, but you get what you pay for. If you get lucky at the train station stands sometime they are on a steep discount.