History: Dirndls and Lederhosen

History of Dirndls

If we go way back to the beginning, the history of the dirndl is a humble one. Mainly used for girls and women who worked as servants in the mid-1800’s. The original name “Dirndlgewand” actually translates into “maid’s dress”. Servants and farmers had a strict dress code of only wearing servant clothing and no extravagant jewelry. Only people of nobility could wear any imported clothing or fancy jewelry.

It only turned into a high fashion statement by the upper class in the 1870’s. When Prince-Regent Luitpold decided to dress in the traditional Alpine Bavarian dress. Therefore, high class women were scouring for beautiful dirndls. They wanted summer dresses for their country homes and country side vacations. So, it turned into a fashion statement for those wanting to show off their Bavarian Pride before it disappeared from history.

Now women from all over Germany wear it different ways. Women wear it as a common everyday dress in rural Austria, The Black Forest, and Bavaria. In other regions of Germany, women wear it as a dress for formal or special occasions only.

History of Lederhosen

A deeper look into the history of Lederhosen will also showcase it’s humble beginnings. Once only worn as a farmers pants or something common folk wore daily. Lederhosen directly translates into “Leather Pants”. The heavy and durable leather made it perfect for hard labor. They say one pair of genuinely made lederhosen can last you a lifetime.

In the 1870’s it also became all the rave with the high class society. Once it was worn by their Prince-Regent, all of society wanted to get a hold of one of these. They began to use it for any outdoor activities. Such as, horse back riding and hunting. They adorned their lederhosen with fancy embroidery, and used deer skin to make them more comfortable.

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Keeping Traditions Alive

After the turn of the century, in the 1900’s the interests in Lederhosen and Dirndls dropped immensely. The high class society in Germany had moved on to other trends, and were slowly leaving tracht and traditional wear behind. Levi Strauss came to American from Germany, and created a cheaper and more modern fabric than Lederhosen.

To keep the Bavarian culture alive, Munich began to create clubs. These clubs were dedicated to ensuring people remembered their history. Later, they even announced that Lederhosen and Dirndls were the official costumes for Oktoberfest.