Nowadays, there are beautiful traditional costumes to see on the Oktoberfest. 15 years ago, it was totally uncool to wear folk clothing at such an occasion. But the former servants´ s garment has established itself as the dress to wear at the “Wiesn”.
The origins of the “Dirndl”…
Please don’t mistake the dirndl for a regional traditional costume! A real (i. e. historical) dress shows certain features in cut, color and equipment upon which one can assign the wearer to a certain region and a social class. Anyway, n October cebody wore a dirndl at the first Oktoberfest in 1810. This event was actually a horse-racing on the occasion of the wedding of Ludwig I. City dwellers wore their Sundays´ best, which were French fashion. Only in the second year (1811), when the Bavarian Central Agricultural Festival took place at the same time as the Wiesn, the rural population visited Munich and both festivals. But they came in their traditional festive costumes, not in the dirndl – which was then an everyday gown for work and therefore no option for the town stay. Only at the end of the 19th century, when summer holidays in the Alps became trendy, the dirndl made its career: the ladies had the servants´ garment turned into a stylish summer gown by their tailor.
…and the leather pants…
Leather pants originate from the French „culotte“, tight-fitting courtly knee-breeches. Residents of the Alps imitated that sort of trousers in the late 18th century and used leather instead of linen. This way, the usually worn pantaloons were replaced.
What to wear and not to wear at the Wiesn
Of course jeans and a T-shirt are still perfectly okay. As a minimum option, you can sew a staghorn button to the jeans. Or you spend some money on a real leather pant or a nice dirndl. If you go for the traditional costume, bear in mind, that a real dirndl never has a mini-skirt. Also a no-no: sneakers (Sneakers, Chucks etc.) with a traditional dress! Men should put on brogues, ladies traditional or ballerina pumps. Last but not least: don´t waste your money on silly hats or T-shirts with printed suspenders!