Dirndls for Oktoberfest

Everything Dirndl + More!

from the alps to the streets

Traditional Dirndl Dress: History & Innovation

The dirndl dress has a long and interesting history. It originated in the Alpine regions of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland as a traditional dress for women, typically Alpine peasants. The style is believed to have existed since the 19th century, but it gained more widespread popularity during the 1960s. Since then, it has become a popular fashion trend and expression of cultural heritage all over the world.

The Dirndl is a calf-length traditional dress with a natural waistline and full skirt. It usually has distinctive features such as buttons, bows, ribbons and other decorative elements. The traditional Bavarian costume also includes an apron that is often ornately decorated. Today, you can find contemporary variations of the Dirndl in many styles and fabrics, making it a great choice for any occasion. From everyday wear to special events, the Dirndl is always a fashionable and fun choice!

In addition to its history, Dirndls have a really deep and personal meaning for those who wear them. Sure, you may wear a dirndl dress to dance, go to a traditional German festival, and more - but there's an added layer of meaning. By wearing a dirndl dress, you are representing and displaying your appreciation for history and culture - a special tribute to the past. If you're wearing a traditional Dirndl, you're showing your personal style while also honoring the long-standing traditions and culture that inspired it. The modern Dirndl didn't just appear - its roots are in the centuries of heritage and customs that have come before. And now we have a variety of special occasions to wear these traditional garments to!

What makes the Oktoberfest outfit complete?

The Dirndl is a timeless look that made up of several pieces. The traditional dirndl dress is typically made from woven fabric such as cotton, polyester, linen, or wool. Unlike your typical cocktail or sundress, a Dirndl outfit is composed of several elements. To help you finish the look, here's a list of all the pieces that make up a traditional Dirndl: 


The dirndl blouse is traditionally worn beneath the dirndl dress and is typically available in white, ivory or black. Depending on the event, your personal style or even the weather, you can switch up your blouse to suit any look! Fun off-the-shoulder blouses are great for warm days, but the sweetheart puff sleeve is the most popular blouse. Some styles are designed to be worn without a blouse or have sleeves already attached, so the Dirndl blouse is not essential in those cases.

If you are in need of a blouse for your outfit, look no further than Rare Dirndl! Be sure to check out our Blouse Sizing Guide blog for helpful advice when selecting the perfect blouse for your traditional outfits. Be sure to check out our selection of intricately detailed Dirndl blouses that make a fantastic choice for any occasion and come in a large range of sizes and styles! From lacy cuffs to ruffles and embroidery, you can truly make your Dirndl outfit unique.

Dirndl Bodice

This is the top portion of a dirndl dress, extending from the waist up that connects to the skirt. It often zips or buttons closed and has extra detailing like braids or ruffled trimming around the low neckline as well as ribbons, chains, embroidery and other details. For an added touch of personalization, many people will add pins or other adornments to their bodice. Most of our Dirndls have a center zipper so it's easy to put on. You'll want it to have a snug fit, but not uncomfortable! 

If your Dirndl features a lace-up or corset-style front, locate the corresponding ribbon or chain. Begin by threading the ribbon or chain through from the top hooks and crisscross it down to tie in a bow (or knot if it's chain) at the bottom. Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to lace up your dirndl.

Dirndl Skirt

The skirt is usually attached to the bodice at the waist and features a full, gathered or pleated silhouette. To add a modern twist, some Dirndl dresses will have pockets. A detail that is unique to Rare Dirndl is that we have TWO! 

When it comes to Dirndl skirts, there are a variety of skirt lengths to pick from. As a general rule, your skirt should not be shorter than the tips of your fingers when your arms are at rest. Mid-calf is a very classic length for the Dirndl skirt and gives off an elegant look, and it'll be super comfortable when you're ready to dance the night away!


The final touch to your dirndl dress look is your apron. Make sure you wrap it around your natural waist, covering the front seam. The apron should never be longer than your skirt and usually no shorter than 2-3 inches above the hemline. This is a gathered or pleated piece of fabric that's draped over the front of the skirt and fastened with a bow in either the back or front. Where you tie the bow matters! Traditionally, if you're single, you should knot it to your left; tying it to the right indicates that you are in a relationship. On the other hand, if you opt to fasten it at the center of your front, this will signify that you are a virgin. If you prefer to tie it at the back, this could mean that you are widowed or working as a waitress at the fest. 

But... at the end of the day, you are the one wearing your Dirndl, so tie your apron whichever way makes you feel best!

If you're having trouble tying a great bow, I'm your go-to gal! Check out my blog (with a handy instructional video) on how to tie the perfect bow for any of your Dirndl dresses. It will have you looking like an expert in no time! Also, for after your event, here's a blog on how to store your apron.

Bloomers or Pettipants (optional)

If you plan on getting your polka on, it's wise to wear bloomers under your traditional clothing. These go underneath the skirt, so even if you're doing a high-energy folk dance like a polka, no one will catch sight of your Unterhosen — they'll just see some cute little bloomers or pettipants peeking out from beneath your dirndl dress skirt. Not everyone will be checking out what's underneath your skirt, but there are sure to be some wandering eyes and some judging Oma’s should your skirt go a-flyin - better safe than sorry! 

You'll also find that in the heat of the summer, while it may seem like an extra layer, the bloomers keep your thighs from chafing. A pair of bloomers added to your Oktoberfest outfit is our secret weapon against the dreaded thigh rub.


Did you know that where you tie your apron bow on your traditional German attire can tell people about your relationship status? True story.

Dirndl aprons are full-length aprons that are traditionally worn in Germany. They feature a skirt-like shape and often have intricate detailing such as pleats, ruffles, lace or even embroidery. Dirndl aprons can be tied at the waist with either a bow or a knot. The type of knot or bow you use can indicate your relationship status, so that potential partners can know whether or not they can approach you!

Bow on the Right Side

According to tradition, a dirndl apron bow tied on the right means that you are taken... so in a serious relationship or married. 

Bow on the Left Side

Tied on the left means that you are single and ready to mingle babay! 

Bow Tied in the Center

Tied in the center front means that you are a virgin. (Typically where you children tie their bows.)

Tied in the Back

Tied in the center back means that you are waitressing or windowed. This one I don't really know about though because sometimes those apron ties are just not long enough to tie in a nice bow in the front... so... ya...  

Whichever way you choose to tie your bow or knot, it’s important to remember that tradition still holds strong at a folk festival in Germany.

How Should a Dirndl Fit? 

Finding the perfect fit for your Dirndl is key to creating a stunning look. The blouse should be snug and secure, but not too tight or too loose. Make sure it fits comfortably without feeling too constricted when you move around. Dirndls have nice firm bodices that should fit snugly around the bust and waist. It should just skim your body in a flattering way. The best fit will help create a beautiful silhouette that looks effortless yet stunning! The skirt should fall to your knees, or mid-calf length. The fit of the apron is also important – it needs to be tight enough to stay in place but loose enough that you can move around freely when walking or dancing.



It's not your ethnicity that matters here, what matters is that you are respecting the culture, not appropriating it. Dressing in a way that celebrates a culture is fun! Wearing a dirndl makes you feel like you belong to something greater than yourself.


Shopping for Dirndls at any size starts the same way, finding the right size. The key is to start with body measurements and reviewing the sizing chart. It's also important to measure yourself wearing the undergarments you intend to wear with your Dirndl: bra, shapewear etc.

If you know that you prefer to wear clothes that really hold their shape, look for Dirndls with bodices made of suede, brocade or cotton.

At Rare Dirndl, we add a layer of interfacing to the bodice pieces for sizes 18 and up. This creates a stronger foundation to keep curvy women feeling more comfortable and confident while tearing it up on the dance floor. You can rest assured that even our satin and poplin Dirndls hold their own and you don't need to worry about the bodice fiber content.

We've also worked closely with customers to tweak and make edits to our 18+ patterns to ensure that you have coverage where you want it without losing the flattering curves that Dirndls are known for.

While many Dirndl stores and sites do not carry extended sizes or only offer a limited selection of styles, that is not true for Rare Dirndl. We have a range of sizes up to 26 and offer a "made-to-measurements" option for anyone who would prefer to have a size customized. All body types deserve to have a garment that celebrates not only German heritage but their figure as well.

the worlds biggest volksfestival

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is a magnificent annual festival held in Munich, Germany. Attended by an average of 6 million people from all over the globe, this event is one for the bucket list!

How did the tradition of Oktoberfest start? The very first Oktoberfest took place on October 12, 1810. It was an event to celebrate the marriage of Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and the crown prince of Bavaria (who would go on to become King Louis I). This celebration lasted for five days. Over time, it expanded into an epic 2-week festival that included a parade, large beer halls, amusement rides, music, and dancing

So why is Oktoberfest celebrated in September?

The answer is simple… as the festival got longer, the start date was pushed back into September because the weather is typically better and the days are longer. 

Why do you hear Oktoberfest called the Wiesn? The grounds on which Oktoberfest takes place is called the Theresienwiese… Wiesn, short for Theresienwiese. This is what most locals call Oktoberfest.

Buying a Dirndl Online - FAQs

How do I know what size dirndl to buy?

The best way to make sure a traditional dirndl dress will fit when buying online is to take your body measurements wearing the bra you plan on wearing with it and compare it to the dirndl size chart.

Why are some dirndls sizes 6, 8, 10 etc and others are 38, 40, 42?

Dirndls made in the US are going to be sized in US sizes 2-30 whereas dirndls imported from Germany will have European sizes 32-54.

How long does it take to ship?

Depends on the company, but here at Rare Dirndl, if a dirndl dress is not labeled as MADE-TO-ORDER or a PRE-ORDER then it can ship within a day or two of being ordered.

Can a Dirndl be returned if it doesn't fit?

A Rare Dirndl can! We offer free returns and exchanges on all our dirndl dresses. Other companies, we couldn't tell ya