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? 


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

August 28, 2020 — Erika Neumayer


Jean Germer said:

I love all your products.
This article definitely provides a deeper meaning. I shared on my Facebook pages.
Thank you

Rita Gerstheimer said:

A woman from Germany who knew my in-laws and my husband was a member of our church and at her funeral I wore my red Everyday Dirndl. One of her nieces said of course you would wear a Dirndl. I said someone had to since she and I were always speaking German together. I wore my Empress Dirndl to the memorial service for my parents. I wore my OOAK Dirndl to my niece’s wedding. Women in Germany wore their Dirndl for special occasions and celebrations because it was often their best dress.

Velma said:

I’m a 2nd generation German American on my mother’s side and grew up with a lot of German culture. Sadly I’ve never had a dirndl. My Tante Elfriede sent dirndls for my daughters when they were children. Each of them now have those dear mementos. I want to finally get one for myself to honor my German roots. Thank you for this article. It truly touched my heart.

Josephine Ford said:

I dance with the Bund der Bayern I had my child dirndl But the biggest event is when you get your first adult one I remember feeling like a queen. As well a male member also gave me my first pin and the best piece of jewellery a German lady wore a eldi wiess chocker on black velvet. To me a dirndl is part of me which my Australian husband cannot understand. It’s my culture my life.

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