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Dressing like a Bavarian

Sarah N Walker

Photos: Bavaria, mix of photos related to life in Bavaria.

Traditional costume in Bavaria (Tracht) includes the Dirndl and Lederhosen. The Dirndl is completed with three separate pieces: the dress (das Kleid), the blouse (die Bluse) and the purely decorative apron (die Schurze). Normally women wear a short sort of hiking boot in light brown suede with thick, folded knit socks. Lederhosen (or leather pants) are either shorts or three quarter length pants that are accompanied by a special cotton shirt, long knit socks and mountain-climbing boots. Some women wear 3/4 length Lederhosen as well.

Other accessories include:

  • Hut (hat) - worn by men and often topped by a Gamsbart (goat's hair decoration).
  • Tuch (handkerchief) - tied around the neck, or shaped like a necklace with a large metal pendant, the most common print is the stylized Edelweiss flower.
  • Charivari (chain with hunting paraphernalia) - worn by men and women, these charm chains have all of your hunting trophies: bear claw, deer horn, metal figures, a small Gamsbart, etc.
  • Kropfband (choker) - a necklace usually adorned with a silver pendant in Edelweiss motif.
  • Gürtel (belt) - made of leather and decorated with metal relief plates.
  • Hosenträger (suspenders or braces) - also made of leather, and often linked together in front by a stitched strip featuring flowers.
  • Gamsbart (decorative piece) - this long swath of stiff goats' hair is bound at the bottom by metal and attached to mens' hats.

When to Wear It

Munich adheres less to traditional customs than the countryside does. According to locals, the Oktoberfest and the whole Bavarian costume thing went out of style during the 70s and 80s. Now, however, it is 'in' again to go to the fest and to dress up for it.

In the city some people own Tracht, however, many don't at all. Those who do, and like to wear it, will most likely pull out the clothes for three occasions: Oktoberfest, Starkbierfest ('Strong Beer' festival in March) and, perhaps, for a local Folksfest (seasonal neighborhood festival). Plenty of the expats and foreigners who live here enjoy wearing the local costume, whereas others don't feel comfortable. It is a personal issue, and it can take guts to go in Tracht when you can't even order your beer properly in German.

Where to Buy It

But, nevertheless, whether you want to dress up yourself, or make a gift out of some of the items described above, there are a few shops you should do your shopping at. The months before Oktoberfest offer the greatest selection, but you can find all of the above year-round, if you know where to look.

Pat's Second Hand Boutique

Tal 14 (from Marienplatz, about one block down, on the right)
Sonnenstrasse 2 (near Karlsplatz/Stachus)
Hohenzollernstr. 44 (Schwabing)
Bayerstr. 6 (Near Hauptbahnhof)
This chain with several (10?) stores around Munich offers the largest selection and lowest prices for their second-hand Dirndl and Lederhosen. A three-piece Dirndl costs about 80 euro, about one third of the retail price. The selection for men is not as wide, but the savings as good. The shop on Tal is the closest to the city center and offers the largest selection. Across the street and towards the river is another (seasonal) second-hand store specializing in Tracht.


Rosental. 10 (Marieplatz/Viktualienmarkt)
Landsbergerstr. 101-103 (Tram 18/19 to Trappentreustr.)
This is a shop specializing in Bavarian clothing and has two well-stocked and well-advertised locations, one just off the Viktualienmarkt and another on the way to Pasing, just off the Mittlerer Ring.


Ruppertstr. 32 (U6/U3 to Poccistrasse)
Reputed to have great prices, this is a place I have yet to visit. Look at their website to get an idea of traditional pieces, as well as the tradition-inspired modern wear.

Bayerwari Dirndl-Eck
Fürstenriederstr. 70 (corner of Gotthardstr. In Laim)
A small, family-run shop featuring new and used Tracht, they specialize in women's and children's dresses. Online you can see many of the styles on sale in full and close-up.


Lindwurmstr. 15 (near Sendlinger Tor)
(U3/U6 to Senglingertor. Walk down the eastside, just over a block)
This is a lovely little shop with more than one location in the greater Munich area. (Link to shop outside of Munich)
This is only a very limited list of the possible places you could buy Tracht. Many department stores, such as Ludwig Beck (Marienplatz), Galeria Kaufhof (Marienplatz/Kaufingerstr.) and Konen (Sendlingerstr./Rindermarkt) sell Tracht during the Oktoberfest season, though sometimes only womens. Have a good wander around, you'll find many possible sources. And, if you visit the Auerdult Fair, you will find inexpensive pieces at some of the stands.


Sarah Walker Photo Essays: Photo essays on Munich, Berlin, rural Germany, Bavaria, Austria, Vancouver, New York City.

Sarah was born and raised in Seattle, Washington but currently lives in Munich, Germany.

© Sarah N Walker, 2004

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