What To Wear To Oktoberfest: 10 Best Outfit Ideas

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It’s Oktoberfest season once again! If you’ve never celebrated this German tradition, check out our style guide on what to wear to an Oktoberfest party to find the best outfit ideas for both women and men.

It’s fall time again – the leaves are changing colors, the weather is cooling off, pumpkin spice lattes are in order, and Oktoberfest celebrations are just around the corner. If you like German beer, German bands, and great traditional German foods, then you’re most definitely already familiar with Oktoberfest. After all, it is the world’s largest beer festival with around 6 million attendees!

While the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations take part in Munich where the festival originates from, nowadays, multiple other cities join in on the fun to create their own versions of the festival. However, if you don’t live in a city that offers this, don’t worry! You can always celebrate your own Oktoberfest by doing a bar crawl with your friends.

If you’re headed to an Oktoberfest party this year, it’s important to know what to wear beforehand, so that you’ll have a guaranteed good time.

In this article, we will briefly discuss how Oktoberfest parties started and why people all over the world celebrate this fun German tradition every year, before jumping into our favorite retailers to check out if you’re in the need of some dirndls or lederhosen.

How Oktoberfest Started

The first Oktoberfest was held in Munich, Germany on October 12th, 1810, and originally celebrated the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The first year, the festival’s activities circled mainly around horse racing, but the following year, the celebrations were combined with a state agricultural fair. Later, food and drinks were introduced to booths.

Now, Oktoberfest is well-loved around the world, with different countries giving the holiday their own spin. Beer and traditional food are a huge part of Oktoberfest, and breweries are often represented through parades and extravagant floats that feature beer kegs and beer glasses, with people in folk costumes dancing to traditional German music and skipping around the floats.

In the United States, states with large German-American populations often hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations which draw out huge crowds to celebrate a few days of good food, beer, and local culture. Some notable examples include Cincinnati (Zinzinnati) in Ohio, and La Crosse in Wisconsin.

There are also some countries where breweries partake but do not celebrate with an authentic, official festival.

Traditional Oktoberfest Outfits: Dirndls & Lederhosen

Of course, Oktoberfest is definitely not complete without wearing a costume! The most iconic Oktoberfest costume for women is the beer maid outfit or more widely known as the “dirndl“. This is a traditional outfit that has become almost synonymous with the festival.

As for men, the “lederhosen”, knee-length leather shorts held up by suspenders are optional but highly recommended. Arguably, dirndls are more iconic than lederhosen, which is why you’ll often see more beer maid outfits than lederhosen on Oktoberfest grounds.

With this said, while wearing these outfits is definitely encouraged, you don’t actually need to wear them, especially if you’re on a budget. You can just go to enjoy the beer, of course!

Breaking Down The Dirndl Outfit

If you’re going to an Oktoberfest party this year, it’s important to know the layers of the dirndl costume. Traditional dirndls are made up of a white blouse, a skirt, a waist apron, and a bodice that serves to accentuate the bust.

There are different lengths of a dirndl dress for your preference. You can choose between long dirndls or short dirndls. If you’re feeling sultry and adventurous, you can also opt to wear a mini dirndl skirt!

As for footwear, we recommend closed-toe heeled sandals or open-toe heeled sandals. Since Oktoberfest is a day-long event that will surely last into the night, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible.

Also, one fun thing to remember is to know how to tie your apron knot. Nowadays, this is a little trivial, but in the old days, the position of the knot used to serve a purpose; it was to let people know your relationship status. If you tied the knot to your left side, it meant that you were single; a knot on the right side meant that you were taken.

A knot in the middle signaled that you were either a virgin or that your relationship status was none of anyone’s business and a back knot meant that you were a widow, server, or a child.

Although it’s a traditional dress, dirndls are actually a popular choice for Halloween costumes among women as well. So if you’re going to a Halloween party AND an Oktoberfest party this year, you’re already hitting two birds with one stone if you purchase a dirndl.

Fortunately, there’s no need to look far and wide to get your own traditional Bavarian dress. There are high-quality sets available for purchase online on places like Etsy (we especially love the Trachtenhans shop) as well as premium German brands such as Krueger, Dirndl.com, and Ludwig & Therese.

While you can definitely find dirndls for under $100, a very beautiful traditional dirndl can go for up to $250 or more from places like Krueger. If you think you’ll be attending more than one Oktoberfest in that particular dirndl, it may be worth considering getting a top-quality one!

For inspiration about which dirndl to wear, check out our top picks below.

10 Dirndls To Wear To An Oktoberfest Party

1. Anastasia Dirndl

At Etsy

Light pink Dirndl
2. Zeina Collection Dirndl

At Etsy

White and red dirndl with floral print
3. Isadora Dirndl

At Etsy

Light pink Oktoberfest dress for women
4. Golden Trachten Dirndl

At Etsy

Modest midi-length dirndl in blue and pink
5. Melinda Dirndl

At Etsy

Cute pink and blue Oktoberfest outfit
6. Golden Trachten Dirndl

At Etsy

Short burgundy dirndl
7. Angelica Dirndl

At Etsy

Traditional Oktoberfest outfit with green and pink
8. Martina Dirndl

At Etsy

Hot pink Oktoberfest dress
9. Golden Trachten Dirndl

At Etsy

Beautiful light beige dirndl for Oktoberfest
10. Golden Trachten Dirndl

At Etsy

Lederhosen Outfits For Men

Get the waistcoat on Krueger

As for the men, traditional clothing includes an alpine hat, lederhosen shorts and bavarian trachten shirts (checkered button-up polos). If you don’t have a pair of lederhosen, leather pants are also fine.

Traditional lederhosen Oktoberfest outfit for men
1. Brown Ledenhosen

At Etsy

Short black lederhosen
2. Black Ledenhosen

At Etsy

Commonly Asked Questions

Do you need to dress up for Oktoberfest?

No, you don’t. While wearing a dirndl or lederhosen is highly encouraged and will always be part of the festival, you absolutely do not need to wear them. You can just go to the festival (or an Oktoberfest party) in a more casual, everyday look, if that’s more your style.

Can women wear lederhosen to Oktoberfest?

Yes, women can wear lederhosen too! While the traditional men’s costume is a must-have for Oktoberfest parties and beer festivals around the world, it doesn’t mean that women should be left out of the fun.

Women's lederhosen outfit
Get these lederhosen on Etsy

However, women’s lederhosen are typically shorter than men’s, as you can see above.

Can men wear dirndls to Oktoberfest?

While this isn’t really recommended, men can (and do) wear dirndls during Oktoberfest. If you’ve ever been to an Oktoberfest parade, then you’ve surely seen men wearing dirndls complete with a wig and makeup ensemble.

It’s all a matter of having much fun without harming or offending anyone.

Will Oktoberfest 2022 in Munich push through? 

Yes! The highly-anticipated 2022 Oktoberfest has been confirmed to take place again this year after a 2-year break.

We hope you found this guide about Oktoberfest outfit ideas helpful, and that you have a great time if you’re visiting the famous German festival this year!

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