What Are Characteristics of German Dress?


Quick Answer

Although there are great regional variations in traditional German dress, there are also certain consistencies between men and women's garb that can be identified. For women, there is the bodice called the dirndl. For men, there is the famous short pants outfit called lederhosen. Collectively, such traditional garb for both sexes is called "tracht," derived from the German verb, "tragen," meaning "to wear."

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Full Answer

The bodice called the dirndl typically fits close to the woman's body and is accompanied by an apron, usually of a color different from the dirndl itself. Sometimes the dirndl comes equipped with sleeves, while on other occasions it is worn above a sleeved blouse, with or without a high neck.

Men's traditional clothing typically is made from leather, linen and wool, with the lederhosen fashioned out of leather exclusively. The pants are knee-length and often worn with rustic shoes and socks, the latter made of wool. It is not uncommon for jackets and hats to be worn with lederhosen, though styles differ greatly depending on the region in question.

The men's hats most associated with tracht in the west are those made of green velour and ornamented with feathers. In many parts of the German-speaking world, especially southern Germany, Bavaria and many parts of Austria, tracht is still worn for special occasions. These include events such as weddings and festivals, Oktoberfest being a notable example. Additionally, displaced German people, commonly called the "Sudetendeutsche," wear tracht to illustrate their awareness of their heritage and their self-identification with other Germans.

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