The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl

The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl

The other day, I was thinking about my grandparents... thinking to myself, “I hope when they look down on me from above they are proud”. I started thinking about how they were always so proud to see me in my dirndl. That got me thinking… there really 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.

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.

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.

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.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that wearing a dirndl is a very powerful thing. Quite a statement really.

It made me think back to 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. 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. No one has 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.

So the next time you put your dirndl on, take a 2nd (or 4th wink 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? 

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