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What Is a Dirndl Skirt: Types and Fashion Tips

Dirndln being displayed in a shop in Rosenheim, Germany.

Dirndln being displayed in a shop in Rosenheim, Germany.

A dirndl skirt is a traditional German and Austrian folk dress which is worn by all types of women in Germany, Austria, and the Alps region. A dirndl (pronounced "dirndel") skirt or dress is derived from the word dirndl, which means a young woman or girl. When you hear somebody mentioning dirndl, he or she either refers to the girl or to the dress.

What Is a Dirndl?

A dirndl consists of a full tight bodice, an integrated blouse which has a very low neckline, a short, 3/4 or long sleeves and a skirt. An apron is attached to the skirt which can either be short or long.

The everyday dirndl is usually made of cotton and simple in design. This is usually used for women who are working and living in the countrysides like in Tirol and in Bavaria, Germany. Modern, fashionable dirndl is usually made of cotton, velvet, or linen with lace and creative embroidered designs.

Dirndl originated in Austria and was used as a uniform for servants in the 19th century. In the south of Germany, which is the Bavarian region, older women who live in the countrysides wear dirndln (plural of dirndl) as everyday dresses.

Types of Dirndl

Summer Dirndln

Summer dirndln are made of light cotton, linen or velvet and it is short or just below the knees. Embroidered or not, they are typically used during festivities like a town festival or Oktoberfest in the last two weeks of September. Oktoberfest is a beer garden festival traditionally located in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

Winter Dirndl

Winter dirndln are made of thick, warm cotton or wool and have long sleeves, long skirts, and a long apron. The neckline is high. It is usually in a dark and rich color.

The Knots on the Apron

The locals say the knot of the apron on the skirt indicates the status of the woman wearing the dirndl. The knot situated on the left side of the apron means the woman is single. The knot on the right side means married or engaged, the front side means she's a virgin, and the knot in the back means she's widowed.

The Knot's Message

What to Wear With a Dirndl

A dirndl can be worn with many different accessories depending on the occasion. You can wear it with:

  • A shawl, embroidered or not. It depends on how warm or cold the weather is.
  • An embroidered silk scarf for a special day.
  • Boots in the winter.
  • Sandals or ballerina shoes in the summer.
  • Sports jewelry.
  • Silver earrings.
  • A brooch.
  • White socks.
  • Dirndl Purse.
Dirndln Shop in Rosenheim, Germany

Dirndln Shop in Rosenheim, Germany

Dirndln for Work

Women who are working in tourism branches in Germany and Austria wear dirndln to show their traditional folk-wear to tourists. Some waitresses in restaurants wear dirndln as their uniforms. German folk theater actresses sometimes wear these clothes during their plays.

A dirndl is a sexy dress to wear, especially those embroidered ones. I have worn one when we had an Oktoberfest in the restaurant where I worked before. I was thrilled and delighted to get to wear the dirndl. It was a beautiful dress which I got from my lady boss. She bought them for us to wear just for Oktoberfest in our restaurant.

How Much Does a Dirndl Cost?

The prices of dirndln ranges from €100 to more or less €1,000. It depends on what kind of material it is made of. The more embroidered it is, the more it costs. However, if you buy dirndl out of season in the Trachtenhaus (costume shops), you might have the chance to buy it cheaper.

Where to Wear a Dirndl

A dirndl is not an everyday casual dress except when it is required at your work. It is a comfortable dress to wear but for me, it is only good for special occasions like Oktoberfest and German folk parties. Don't get me wrong, but I will only use this dress when everybody else does. I don't want to be stared at in the streets.

© 2012 Thelma Alberts


Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on September 19, 2017:

Hi Farhaj! I am glad you like Dirndl. Yes, there are different types of Dirndln here in Germany. At the moment, they are expensive which costs at least 50 Euro. Especially now that Oktoberfest started last Saturday. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great week.

Farhaj Hussain on September 19, 2017:

Oh wow... I never knew that this dress called dirndl skirt... Felt so good to read about these traditional dress.... And they have different types of dresses for different season... Would love to wear one some day if I get a chance to wear this Dirndl skirt.... Thanks for sharing.... Love reading this

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on September 10, 2017:

I see. Thanks Carol for dropping by. Have a great week.

Carol Taylor on September 07, 2017:

I haven't but mum did..I love this post :)

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on May 12, 2013:

Thanks for dropping by Christy. When you see a woman wearing this dress in your country, you now know that it´s a German and Austrian traditional fashion dress. This kind of dress is an export article from Germany. Have a lovely week!

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on May 12, 2013:

I had never heard of this type of dress before. Very neat to learn more about your culture, Thelma!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 19, 2013:

Yes, they are very fashionable dresses. You can buy dirndl online or when you are planning to visit Germany. Thanks for stopping by Mama Kim. Have a lovely weekend!

Aloe Kim on January 18, 2013:

those are some fashionable Dirndls! Hmm.. now I want one! ^_^ thank you for the great hub Thelma! Voting a bunch and pinning!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on January 10, 2013:

I love dirndl too, but it should not be a mandatory dress because then I will not like it when I´m force to wear it. Thanks for stopping by TravelinJack.

Jack Baumann from St. Louis, Missouri on January 09, 2013:

Oh I love the dirndl, should be mandatory dress!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on December 15, 2012:

Thanks Justsilvie for another visit. I appreciate that. Thanks for sharing as well. Have a lovely day!

Justsilvie on December 14, 2012:

Lovely article! I also have worn a dirdle and I think it was the most flattering dress I ever wore. Voted up and shared!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 27, 2012:

Thanks ignugent for dropping by. I appreciate that. Have a great day!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 27, 2012:

Yes, tammyswallow. These clothes were worn by the Von Trapp family in the movie The Sound of Music. It is a beautiful film. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

ignugent17 on November 26, 2012:

Very interesting. It is always nice to know something new about things from different countries. Dirndl added to my list of words.

Tammy from North Carolina on November 26, 2012:

These are really pretty. It looks like something worn in the movie Sound of Music. This is a very beautiful, interesting, and well written hub!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 21, 2012:

Thanks Eddy for your wonderful comment. I appreciate that. Have a great day!

Eiddwen from Wales on November 20, 2012:

I had never heard ofthese skirts before but i do now. Thank you for sharing this great hub Thelma and here's to so many more hubs for us both to share on here.


Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 19, 2012:

Thanks for your visit Crystal Tatum. Have a good day!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 19, 2012:

Hi Glimmer Twin Fan! I could imagine how lovely you were as a young girl wearing a dirndl. Dirndl is beautiful especially the fancy one for special occasion. Thanks for your comment and for sharing this hub to others. I appreciate that. Have a lovely day!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on November 19, 2012:

What an interesting topic for a hub. Voted up and interesting.

Claudia Porter on November 19, 2012:

This is a great hub. My mom is german and growing up I had a dirndl as a young girl. They are far too unflattering to me now, but they really are beautiful. It's always fun to see some of the more "fancy" ones when going out for a special occasion in Germany. Shared and voted up!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 19, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by Nell. I did not know about the `Teddy Girls´. I´ll google them later. Have a great week!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 19, 2012:

Thank you Bas yor your comment and encouragement. Take care. Regards to all;-)

Nell Rose from England on November 18, 2012:

I remember that the 'Teddy girls' of the fifties wore them, fascinating history of the dirndl skirt, thanks! nell

Bastinck from The Netherlands on November 18, 2012:

Well, you wrote about something I knew nothing about, apart from the oktoberfest that is. It was interesting. Keep up the good writing.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 18, 2012:

Dirndl is one of the fashions in Germany. In fact, there are special companies making dirndln all over Germany as these clothes are popular now all over the world especially in USA and Japan. Thanks for your visit GoodLady. Have a great week!

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on November 17, 2012:

Beautiful! It's a wonder the drindle dress hasn't become more fashionable, but perhaps it makes a great Goth outfit? I really like this hub, it's so feminine and sexy.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 16, 2012:

Hi drbj! I did not know the significance of the apron knots placement until I was researching for this hub. I might have tied my apron knot on the left side without knowing that I should put it on the right side as a married woman. No wonder some men were twinkling their eyes to me when I had dirndl on, lol. See...Men should not rely on the knot placement on the apron. Have a lovely weekend drbj.

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 16, 2012:

Thank you for your visit vespawoolf. I appreciate that. Have a great day!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 16, 2012:

Hi Tracy Lynn Conway! I love the materials used for dirndl too, especially the velvet one. I don´t have dirndl, but I think I´ll buy one when I find something that suits me. Ready made dirndln are to big for me. I always have a trouble finding clothes for me in Germany. Thanks for your comment. Have a lovely weekend!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 16, 2012:

Fascinating dirndl information, Thelma. Never knew about the significance of the apron knots before. They can make a significant, positive difference for guys seeking gals who are unattached.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 16, 2012:

What an interesting hub! I've always thought the dirndl to be sexy and feminine. Thank you for sharing!

Thelma Alberts (author) from Germany on November 16, 2012:

Hi Carol! I´m glad to know you own some dirndln. Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely weekend!

Tracy Lynn Conway from Virginia, USA on November 16, 2012:

I just love the fabrics that are shown for these dresses! I also love that they are still being worn and sold. I am always attracted to history and beauty and I enjoyed reading the story behind the dinrdl.

carol stanley from Arizona on November 16, 2012:

I have had a few of these throughout the years. Great hub..