For day 11, I thought I would throw it back with my American Aid Society Jugendgruppe dirndl. I was impressed that it still fit and also impressed by how great I felt in it. It is a polyester embroidered dirndl from Ernst Licht with a white apron, white blouse and white socks. Throughout my years with the youth group I added pins from our trips, labor day weekends and gifts from other clubs and friends.   

From age 14-25, I danced with the youth group and I must say for a vast majority of those years... AAS was my everything! As the secretary of the Jugendgruppe, I had my nose in everything, and I loved just about every minute of it (yelling at people during meetings to shut up wasn't my favorite).

Performing with the Jugendgruppe | Karlsruhe, Germany 2007


AAS Jugendgruppe Group Photo | Mosbach, Germany 2007


Me and my best friend | Labor Day Weekend Cleveland 2008


The Jugengruppe is literally where I met my now husband and all of my friends. Grade school, high school, college... never made the kind of connections that I did in the jugend. I lived and breathed AAS youth group. Such wonderful memories came flooding back to me when I put that dirndl on and looked at all my pins. The subtle stains on my apron that have been there for years now, the slightly pit-stained blouse and the $2 I found in the pocket all reminded me that this is the dirndl that made me who I am today and I have also worn the shit out of this bad boy!

 Me and some of my great friends | Labory Day Weekend Detroit 2009

Me with my sister, Monika and our friend, Jamie | Labory Day Weekend Detroit 2009


Me and my husband (when we first started dating) | Labor Day Weekend Detroit 2009


Without having been a part of AAS, I would not have met my husband, not have met any of my friends, not have done all the research on the traditional dress, not have wore a dirndl and subsequently not have needed to start Rare Dirndl! So essentially I owe my whole livelihood to the AAS Jugend. I still help them out where I can by bar tending at events and helping them with their trachten for competition, but planning a wedding and being all-in with my small business has made it harder. I can't wait to one day bring my kids to kindergruppe and I can only hope that they make great friends like I did and enjoy their culture in a way that helps them grow. (and have a shit ton of fun!)

 Me with my best friends performing at US Cellular field for the Chicago Sox Game | 2011

Part II of day 11 involved going to a late lunch at the Angry Crab with my good friend Jill (also part of the AAS jugend back in the day and in the middle of the above picture). OMG, it's so freakin good. I needed to change dirndls because I didn't want my freshly cleaned AAS dirndl to get stinky (you leave there smelling like garlic no matter what!). I wore my custom Feigling dirndl with the black collared because I knew it needed to be washed. It was a great time and a perfect way to end the day.  

Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take our quiz and find out now! 

May 06, 2016 — Erika Neumayer

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.