The world of Oktoberfest fashion


Jonathan Ryan

While visiting the United States, German citizen Leon Wagner enjoys his time socializing at Oktoberfest in New Glarus, Wisconsin.

Katie Zee, Journalist

Oktoberfest is known for beer, cheese, partying, and it’s fashion (of course). What people wear to the festival is instantly recognizable as belonging to Oktoberfest and German culture in general. So, what makes it so iconic, and how can you get involved? 

The origin of Oktoberfest is the celebration of the marriage of a prince and princess in 1810. Lederhosen and dirndl are the traditional garments worn by event goers. They both were considered peasant attire and were used for their functionality, and they were both present at the first Oktoberfest. 

Lederhosen are leather pants, originally made with the intention of being suitable for the working class. The upper class took a liking to them as they began wearing them for hunting and horseback riding. Eventually, all of Germany was wearing lederhosen. Levi Strauss’s invention of jeans, however, rendered the pants unnecessary to workers, and new fashion trends led the upper class away from them as well. The garment then became seen as a costume rather than everyday clothing; and since 1887, lederhosen has been the official Oktoberfest attire.  

The dirndl is less recognizable in name, but it is commonly seen wherever lederhosen is. The garment is a traditional dress that is comprised of a blouse, bodice, skirt, and apron. Dirndl has a similar history to lederhosen in that they were both made for the working class, adopted by the upper class, and finally retired to being used for Oktoberfest. While lederhosen are virtually the same as they have always been, dirndl has gone through changes in fabric and skirt length. The tie of the apron is sometimes used as an indicator of the wearer’s relationship status, with a tie on the right meaning taken and on the left, single. 

 Do you want to get into festive wear, but don’t have the clothes needed? That’s okay! There are hairstyles that will do the trick. Oktoberfest hair can be summed up with one word: braids. Two simple braids tied at the ends with ribbon is easy and doable. You could also take those two braids and wrap them at the top of your head, pinning them in place to create a headband effect. If you’re feeling up to a challenge, you can French braid a crown all the way around your head. 

Fashion is an easy and fun way for anyone of any age to get involved with Oktoberfest without necessarily needing to make a trip to Germany or the bar.