What Is a Dirndl Skirt?
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 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 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 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.
Do You Like to Wear a Dirndl?
© 2012 Thelma Alberts