Of course I know that the Oktoberfest, or Wiesn as we call it, isn’t until September.
A dirndl, as Wikipedia describes it, is a traditional dress worn in Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol. Historically, a dirndl used to be a servant’s costume and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that it was adopted as formal attire by the higher classes. Today dirndls are extremely popular to be worn during Volksfesten (traditional festivals) (such as the Oktoberfest) or other traditional events.
However, one thing I love, love, love about Munich is that despite Munich’s international flair and its respectable size, tradition is still lived and breathed by the locals. You’ll frequently see Bavarian symbols, such as the Bavarian Lion or the colors blue and white. You’ll hear Bavarian spoken on the streets. You’ll find plenty of Bavarian restaurants and beer gardens. And you’ll see men and women wearing traditional costumes, such as the lederhosen and the dirndl, on a random Sunday – just because.
I’ve been wanting to own a dirndl for a long time, not just because it’s become fashionable to attend Oktoberfest in traditional clothing, but because I think dirndls look beautiful and to make a woman look sexy without making her look cheap. [Note: a traditional dirndl always covers a woman’s knees. Those weird things you see tourists wear with the seam around mid-thigh are not dirndls. The cleavage, yes, that’s a must.]
One of my best friends is marrying at the beginning of August and I decided to use this occasion to buy a dirndl to wear to her wedding. Her husband is Mexican and when his family is coming to Germany, they might as well experience some German culture. Another reason why I wanted to buy a dirndl now was to avoid the Oktoberfest crowds and take advantage of the full selection.
I went to the Trachten Redl store in Munich Bogenhausen. Funny enough, it’s just across the street from my CrossFit box. It’s a relatively small store with a large selection nonetheless. The staff was great and plenty. I felt they took their time with me, showing me different models, different blouses, different shoes. Eventually, I ended up with this outfit and I couldn’t be happier with it:
What I really loved about it were the endless possibilities the colors of the dress bring. It’s fairly neutral, so if you want, you can combine it with pretty much any apron you like and done – you’ve got a new outfit. Whereas if you buy a pink or red or green or yellow dress, you’re limited in the colors you can wear as an apron. I’m extremely happy with my purchase and can’t wait till August.