How To Dress For Oktoberfest In Munich - Clothing Guide what to wear for Oktoberfest
How To Dress For Oktoberfest In Munich - Clothing Guide what to wear for Oktoberfest

How To Dress For Oktoberfest:

Almost everyone attending Oktoberfest in Munich dresses in traditional Bavarian outfits (trachten), so consider taking part yourself.  Dressing in authentic clothing will help you blend in better, feel less like a tourist, and 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. Traditional Dirndls:

The staple of a woman’s outfit at Oktoberfest is a white blouse under a tight-fitting Bavarian dirndl (DEARN-dul) dress with an apron tied around it.  The dresses come either all one piece or with a separate bodice and skirt.  Most dirndl makers suggest that if you are in-between sizes that you get the smaller one as they are meant to be tight and authentic dresses will have some give to them both from the material and loosening the ties.

The dirndl has been a rural or peasant worker outfit since Medieval times but started to become revived in urban fashion in the late-1800s.  This was a big change compared to the first modern Oktoberfest in 1810 when most of the wealthy and urban women wore large hoop dresses that were popular at the time.  Before the traditional revival, Oktoberfest was more Gone With The Wind dresses and tiny umbrellas than the classic Heidi look.

Today, dirndl dresses have continued to become very fashionable while maintaining their traditional roots.  The once simple dirndl dresses now have elaborate designs, endless color options, custom embellishments, and tons of flair.  Even if you can’t afford a really expensive hand-made dirndl, you need should get a proper dress instead of a cheap beer girl Halloween costume.  While high-end dirndls are over $1,000 you can get a decent one anywhere from $60-200 that will last you a lifetime of Oktoberfests.

2. Dirndl Dress Length:

An authentic dirndl dress at Oktoberfest usually goes below the knee, while the cheap 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 dresses compared to the locals.

If you have a shorter dress and the weather look unseasonable cold at Oktoberfest you can go with a thicker pair of pantyhose pretty easily.  While most pantyhose are natural colored or sheer both black and white as well as bits of lace are natural complements to the length of your dirndl dress for Oktoberfest.

3. Blouses & Bras:

Classic Dirndl blouses are normally white with the cut depending on how much skin you want to show.  The shape of the blouse opening around your décolletage (upper chest) is usually used to complement the square frame of the top of your dirndl bodice.  The blouse openings range from heart, diamond, or oval shapes, and even full coverage.

The most popular blouses have short sleeves, a poofy shoulder, and vertical popped collar.  This vertical collar can be stiff or ruffled, but either way adds an extra noble feel to your outfit similar to Snow White.  You can even choose between off the shoulder, peekaboo shoulder, or coture lace options depending on your style.

Although most women show a decent amount of their décolletage, younger girls tend to stay on the wholesome side while conservative covered.  Most adult women show quite a bit of cleavage at Oktoberfest, but it isn’t really because of the neckline of the blouse.  The classic look actually comes from a special corset bra (mieder büstenhalter) which provide the pushup look you may have seen.  The special bras provide a specific type of lift which can be a more difficult look to replicate than you think.

4. Aprons & Bow Placement:

Each apron is wrapped and typically tied with bow on the front.  Put your bow on the left side if you’re single (ledig), the right side if you’re taken (vergeben) or married (verheiratet), in the middle if you are a child or a virgin, and in the back if you are a waitress or widowed (verwitwet).  Wedding rings are usually worn on the right hand in this part of Germany if at all, so the bow is helpful to tell people your status.

5. Shoes For Oktoberfest:

The most common shoes are either standard flats or the Mary Jane-style footwear.  The local Mary Janes leather with a comfortable rubber sole plus cleated heels and toes to make noise while dancing.  While flats and Mary Janes are very easy to pack in your luggage, another popular alternative for women is to wear sturdy leather ankle boots.

Pretty much no one wears high heels at Oktoberfest as they are extremely unpractical. You also want to avoid open-toed shoes because of the number of beer glasses that get broken inside the Oktoberfest tents.  The floors overall can get sloppy and messy, especially later in the evenings on weekends, making open-toed shoes a big safety issue.

6. Purses & Bags For Oktoberfest:

As a rule of thumb, you really need to keep your purse for Oktoberfest as small as possible.  Not only are large bags not allowed inside the beer tents, but giant purses just aren’t very practical.  Tiny clutches may seem like a good idea, however, it can get pretty difficult to drink massive 1-liter glasses of beer while always having to hold your clutch.

The best option for Oktoberfest is to bring a small crossbody purse.  This will keep your bag small, secure, and handsfree.  You can find tons of decorate purses with crossbody straps themed for Oktoberfest and made to match any dirndl.  Some of the handbags are made out or lederhosen material or shaped like the gingerbread heart cookies which are popular at Oktoberfest in Munich.

They even make dirndl wallets called Dirndltasche which are made to match the material of your dress and attach directly onto the tie on the front of your apron.  The dirndl wallets have a very low profile and are typically just a little bit bigger than 6 inches (15cm) by 6 inches (15cm) square.  This is the perfect size to hold your money or wallet, your ID, a smartphone, a minimal amount of touch-up makeup.  We have had no problem also fitting a little bit of toilet paper, a plastic mini-shot of booze, and small battery pack in a Dirndltasche.

7. Hair & Fascinators:

What lady doesn’t spend as much time planning out their hair as they do configuring their outfit?  At Oktoberfest, your hair can be the final piece to really make your ensemble come together.  The classic Hiedi look is to have pigtails (or twin ponytails) secured with pieces of ribbon to match your dirndl.  We often see women who even braid small meadow flowers, mini roses, or pieces of ribbon into their hair which can look great in modest amounts.

While it is mainly men that wear traditional wool Alpine hats, they have become a lot more common with women as they now come if many colors.  The women’s hats are a little narrower and often dressed up with a long flamboyant peacock feather.  Like in England, fascinators have also very popular at Oktoberfest.  Fascinators for Oktoberfest range from colored feathers secured by an edelweiss-shaped pin to mini-versions of Alpine hats.  Coordinating your headgear with your jewelry (schmuck) can be a great extra touch.  Since the modern Oktoberfest started as a Bavaria royal wedding celebration in 1810, a fascinator can be a pretty fitting accessory.

8. 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.

9. Jewelry & Accessories:

Adding fun jewelry (schmuck) to your outfit is a must when decided how to dress for Oktoberfest in Munich.  The most common accessory is a Weisn necklace or ribbon choker to match your dirndl.  A pewter edelweiss flower is a classy way to dress up your choker or necklace, but we also see ones adorned with stags (deer), lions (for Bavaria), pretzels, and beer steins.  Bracelets usually follow the same theme as your dirndl also and are often ribbon, leather, or metal.

To dress up your dirndl itself the coolest accessory is to add traditional chains filled with hanging coins to the front of your bodice.  There is just something timeless about the chain look and it can be a great way for husband and wives to have a matching accessory.  If you are on a tighter budget you can give your dirndl some flair with an Oktoberfest clothespin (wiesn klammern -or- glupperl) which we explain below.

We often get asked about bringing an umbrella as an accessory if it rains, but that is a bad idea.  Chances are you will see a 10-day forecast before leaving for Oktoberfest and if it looks like rain then we suggest bringing a small plastic travel rain poncho which costs less than $1, takes up almost no luggage space, and can be discarded once you get into the beer tents if needed to keep your hands free.

10. Wiesn Glupperl:

What the heck is a Wiesn Glupperl?  Also known as a Wiesn Klammern (vee-sun klam-ern), is a common wooden clothespin decorated with some Oktoberfest (wiesn) flair and your first name scorched on with a wood burner.  They’re a little tacky, but very fun and a great icebreaker. 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 a funny phrase.  You can even buy them custom ordered within 15 minutes inside the Oktoberfest tents.  HERE is an example.

Men’s Oktoberfest Outfits:

Men’s Oktoberfest outfits are a little more straightforward than the ladies as the options tend to stay a bit more traditional.  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 outfit.

1. Lederhosen Options & Sizing:

There are number traditional Oktoberfest pants styles each with a unique name.  Lederhosen (LAY-der-hozen) are the standard leather shorts, Plattlerhosen are longer going either to or below the knee, and Bundhosen are more capri-length pants.  Most pairs of leather lederhosen pants will come with bone or animal horn buttons and some are even Gauplattlerhosen which means they will be more decoratively embroidered.

Traditional lederhosen trousers run a bit tight and are stiff in the thighs at first, but have drawstrings 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.

Local Bavarian men typically only buy one really nice pair of custom-fit lederhosen as an adult and never wash them which adds to the look.  The more expensive lederhosen are often hand-crafted out of deerskin and sewn by a genuine Lederhosen maker (Säckler).  Deerskin is a very durable and robust material that softer to the touch than the cowhide used on cheaper Lederhosen.

You really want to avoid buying Halloween costume style lederhosen as they are horrible to wear.  They may be cheap but the Halloween costume lederhosen for Oktoberfest fit horribly, are made poorly, have thin fabric, and most importantly they lack pockets.  As the name Lederhosen (Leather Pants) implies, all authentic pairs are made out of leather while the costume ones are thin cotton.  So not only with you look silly, but the costume style lederhosen also aren’t very functional compared to a traditional leather pair.

2. Traditional Hats:

The wool or felt Alpine and Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte) are by far the way to go to Oktoberfest.  A real Alpine hat will be soft to the touch, are slightly flexible, and are sized very comfortable.  This is a far cry from the cheap Halloween costume style hats which are usually one-size-fits-all and are either way too stiff or overly limp.  Expect to spend about $30-50 on a pretty good hat for Oktoberfest.

In addition to traditional Alpine hats, you will see many people also wearing floppy farmer hats (sepplhut) as well as some with beer mug-shaped hats and even Harry Potter wizard hats.  If you really want to dress like a local for Oktoberfest though you really should go with a traditional Alpine hat.

3. Hat Pins & Feathers:

A standard hat (hut) for Oktoberfest will typically have a single pheasant feather on the side for decoration.  Upgrading this feather to either an ostrich, peacock, or a pinned-on bundle of feathers is a good way to make it look like you didn’t just buy it on your walk to the beer tents.  Traditionally, the bigger the feather or tuft of hair on your hat the wealthier you are, as it is a sign of high standing.

If you want to get really fancy, you can replace the feathers on your hat with a brush made out of hair from either a European goat (Chamois) or a wild boar.  Emperor Maximilian I was the first noble person to wear a brush of hair (Radlbart) on his hat back in the 1400s.  Later in the 1700s, Archduke Johann of Austria made wearing huge plumes of hairs known as a Hat Beard (Gamsbart) popular.  We love how the hand-made Gamsbarts’ 200-300 hairs bounce and flow as you move your head.

It has also long been a custom to add pewter pins to the side of your Oktoberfest hat based on what cities you have visited and interests you have such as hiking or hunting.  As you add pins to your hat it becomes a statement piece to help tell your story.

4. Shirts For Oktoberfest:

Bavarian trachten shirts (Hemd) are the most common style of shirt.  These shirts can be a solid color, but are usually a plaid pattern checkered in either red or blue.  When choosing your shirt, remember that white and blue are the official colors of Bavaria.

While trachten shirts appear to be short-shelved, most are actually long sleeved but rolled up.  A hidden feature on these traditional Oktoberfest 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 and the sleeve button is on both styles.

5. Suspenders:

You have to have traditional suspenders (hosenträger) at least for the look even if your lederhosen fit well enough to stay up on their own.  The front strap will form an H across your chest while the straps should be crisscrossed on your back.  An embroidered front strap on your suspenders is a good way to add some flair to your outfit if you are working with a basic ensemble.

A high-quality set of tracht will be easy to adjust for your height or to swap out the cheat plate, while the cheap Halloween costume lederhosen doesn’t adjust at all.  This can be super annoying as not only will your lederhosen fit poorly, but the strap will constantly be falling off your shoulders.  In short buy a real set over the costume.

6. Traditional Shoes:

Bavarian men wear traditional shoes called Half Shoe (Haferlschuhe) which are a mix between a dress shoe and work boot.  The ankle high Half Shoes (Haferlschuhe) often have rubber cleated bumps on their wooden bottoms but have smooth leather or suede on top.  Traditionally the wooden bottoms were designed as work shoes for farmers working on steep slopes as far back as the 1600s.  The Half Shoes are meant to be comfortable, fashionable, and above all durable.

If you are on a budget or just don’t want to pack an extra pair of shoes for Oktoberfest, then consider wearing a just-above-the-ankle pair of leather hiking/work boots.  Popular brands for this option include Red Wing or Timberland, but try to find something that isn’t too much of either a dress shoe or a full work boot.  Hiking shoes can be okay too, especially if you wear slouchy socks, however, basketball sneakers will make you look like a tourist.  Whatever you do, do not wear sandals and not only will you look silly, but open-toed shoes are also a safety risk with debris and the occasional broken glass in the Oktoberfest tents.

8. Bavarian Socks:

Socks for Oktoberfest can be cotton, but are normally wool with stripes on them.  While slouchy socks are common, the coolest combo is a low cut wool sock with a matching mid-shin wool leg warmer worn on your calves.  If you go with the calf warmer style (Loferl), note that in Bavaria the stripes go on top and are folded either a piece of elastic or string used to keep them up.

9. Vests & Jackets:

Most of the established Bavarian men have either a sturdy vest or wool collar-less jacket (janker) to accent their outfit for Oktoberfest.  A traditional vest is called a Prien and it is often worn along with a leather belt instead of using suspenders with your lederhosen.  While some of the vests for Oktoberfest are flat material, many are quilted and often have decorative metal or bone buttons as embellishments.  The vests can be accompanied by a tracht tie (not a business suit tie) while is usually are worn plain or with fancy metal tie rings.

We are also huge fans for the tradition collar-less Bavarian jackets, although they can be very expensive.  You will notice that most well-to-do fathers who are with their families have these sleek looking coats.  Alternatively, you can get a button up wool cardigan sweater for about half the price of the jackets ($60 versus $150+).

Best Places To Buy Your 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.

What To Wear For Oktoberfest In Munich, How To Dress At Oktoberfest Outfit Ideas

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 Dirndls 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.  They are a small family run Ebay store but do a lot of business with a very good rating and United States based shipping.  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. Trendswear 4U Ebay Store: A great place to buy a complete guy’s outfit from head to toe is Trendswear 4U’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 $125 total.  They have a very strong  Ebay rating and ship from the United States which takes some stress out of buying, especially with shipping.  The outfits bought here for $99 can be over $250 anywhere else.  Ebay Store: (HERE).

What To Wear For Oktoberfest In Munich, How To Dress At Oktoberfest Outfit Ideas5. 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).

6. Lederhosen For You: Outfits range from 99-149 euros, but they often have coupon codes up to 30% off on their Facebook Page here.  Website: (HERE).

7. Bavaria Lederhosen: Has a good range of pre-made outfit sets as well as mix-and-match items.  Website: (HERE).

8. Authentic Lederhosen: Has guys outfits only, but has some of the best deals for real leather lederhosen.  Website: (HERE).

9. Ernstlicht: Great place to buy Oktoberfest hats plus hat accessories like feathers and pins.  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, except 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.

how to dress for oktoberfest in Munich
1. Resales Second Hand & More (Sonnenstrasse 2):
 Is a great consignment location for 2nd hand outfits.  This store has the most stuff and best prices out of the 2nd hand places.  They have 5 locations in Munich including one between the train station and Old Town in Karlsplatz, one right in Old Town, and another on just South of Oktoberfest.  The general hours are open Monday-Saturday from 10am-8pm.  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€.  Dirndls 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.

What To Wear For Oktoberfest In Munich, How To Dress At Oktoberfest Outfit Ideas3. 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).

4. 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).

5. 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).

6. C & A (Kaufingerstrasse 13 & Bayerstrasse 21): C & A is a newcomer to our list and we couldn’t get over how may high-quality items they had at affordable rates.  The website is pretty good but if you get to their stores in Munich they have over 10,000 items and even second-hand stuff. They’re open Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm.  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.