The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl | Rare Dirndl
The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl

The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl

As the granddaughter of German immigrants, I love to incorporate bits of my heritage into my everyday. Since my grandparents past away, I often find myself stepping back, and looking at my life and thinking, "I hope I am making  them proud". I pepper my spaces with things that remind me of them and I see them in my children as well. 

Something that always makes me think of them is wearing a dirndl. There is so much more meaning behind wearing a dirndl that just, "it's what I have to wear to dance," or "this one is my favorite color and makes me feel like a million bucks",  or "it's just what you wear to Oktoberfest". Wearing a dirndl means so much more than that. 

Wearing a dirndl with family a German Fest Milwaukee

If you are wearing your club tracht, then you are representing the entire club! The people who founded the club, who gave their time and most likely money to start an organization to keep their heritage alive. You represent your other club members, your friends and family that you dance with, laugh with and sing with.

SGTV Edelweiss Buffalo


American Aid Society Jugendgruppe  


Akron German Dance Group

If you are wearing a vintage dirndl, you're representing the era or town that it came from. It might be an old club tracht, in which case all of the above applies. It might be your Mom's or your Oma's, which you are then honoring them, their style or their past. It might be a dirndl from a specific town that your family passed down. Then, just by wearing that garment you are proudly showing your love for your family's heritage.  

Vintage Dirndl 1974

If you are wearing a modern dirndl, you're representing your personal style... while simultaneously proudly symbolizing the cultural dress that came before it. A modern dirndl wasn't born out of nowhere... it was inspired by the traditions and culture that existed for hundreds of years.  

Modern Plus Size Dirndl

The more you think about about it, the more you realize that wearing a dirndl is a very powerful thing. Quite a statement really.

Quick story time. For my Grandma's funeral a few years ago, I couldn't decide what to wear. Nothing seemed right. Until I thought about this one dirndl. She and my Grandpa took me to Germany with them when I was in high school and while we were there they bought me this simple black dirndl with a darker floral apron and a classic white blouse. I loved it. However, since starting Rare Dirndl... I hadn't worn it. I always wear my own designs (because I'll inevitably be asked, "did you make that?" and it's good business practice to wear your own stuff). I decided that her funeral was the perfect time to wear this dirndl. She would have liked that very much. Just a year and a half later... I found myself in the same boat, but this time for my Grandpa, her husband. Yet again, I decided that wearing my dirndl was the best choice. But I wore a different apron, one that I made myself. He was an incredibly creative person and loved seeing my creations.

Will I ever wear that dirndl again... I'm not sure. But what I do know, is that it makes me happy to think back on that day and feel proud of what I wore.  

They may not have grown up in Bavaria, but they saw me wearing a dirndl as representative of their heritage just the same. And I think that's how parents feel too. It's kinda crazy to think that a garment can do all that, but I believe it does. Has anyone ever said, "Wow, {deep exhale} look at my daughter [granddaughter] in her jeans. Makes me so proud."  

Do I think everyone feels this way... no. Do the folks who got their "dirndl" aka beer wench costume on Amazon have a feeling of cultural pride, mmm... ich don't think so. But I do hear from many customers that come back from festivals in Germany that they, "felt like they really 'fit in' wearing their dirndl". They felt it too... the feeling of pride that wearing a dirndl brings.  

Traditional Dirndl Dress

So the next time you put your dirndl on, take a 2nd (or 4th 😉) look in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back for proudly representing all those who came before you; whether it's your fellow club members, your family, or the locals and their heritage.  

What do you think about this topic? Do you feel like you are portraying more than just your own personal style when you wear your dirndl? I'd love to hear your ideas, so please feel free to comment below.  

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

Erika Neumayer

Please note that some of the links in select posts are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

As always, ideas and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. - Erika

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