German Culture Clothing: 9 Must Known Facts

German culture clothing
Image by Reinhard Thrainer from Pixabay

German culture clothing used to be more about traditional folk costumes during the 18th century but now we know it is much more than that.

Whenever the topic rises of German cultural clothing, it is the lederhosen and dirndls which are regarded as traditional German clothes.

Lederhosen is short leather pants or trousers. And dirndls are ruffled apron-like dresses consisting of a bodice, blouse, and a full skirt. These outfits are heart of German culture clothing.

In European countries, the traditional and modern dress codes of the countries don’t vary too much in structure. Skirts and trousers can be found everywhere with little variation in almost every part of Europe.

Some special features like a cowboy hat, boots, and motorcycle jacket are the American highlight. Bush shirts, waistcoat, and Akubra hat is the Australian highlight. And kilt (knee-length skirt with checks) is the Scottish highlight clothing.

So, read the article till the last to know all the important facts about German culture clothing.

9 Important Facts About German Culture Clothing –

1) Traditional German Culture Clothing

The state of Bavaria has a rich historical background. Originating from the time when the first Celtic tribe got established in this area during the Iron Age.

The Roman Empire was founded in Germany as a result of several Napoleonic battles.

Also, the continuous foreign intrusion has brought a kind of earthquake weakening the roots of culture and tradition.

Traditional German Culture Clothing
Image by Freepik

The idea of Tracht as a German folk costume was used as a reawakening device for Germans. To get hold of their cultural roots back. The idea was supported and popularized by Swedish King Gustav 2 in the 18th century.

Because the Bavarian region had been the center of all the major changes and sufferings. It became the center for reawakening also. Even today people of Bavaria are appreciated for holding greater traditional values.

Some people watch Tracht being stereotyped all over the world as a traditional German costume. Even though this folk costume is a symbol of victory over foreign infiltration after years of struggle.

2) Dirndl and Marital Status

Dirndl is all the more popular among women as German culture clothing. The dress is worn by the peasant class. Since they cannot afford to buy beaded, embroidered, silken-made Tracht.

Dirndl is a semi-flowy dress consisting of a full skirt, blouse, apron, ruffled sleeves, and bodice. It is made up of washable fabrics worn on special occasions like Oktoberfest, Christmas parties, and German weddings.

German culture clothing
Pixabay / Gaby Stein

There is a defined way of wearing Dirndl which helps in knowing the marital status of women.

The knot on the left side of the dress indicates maidenhood. The knot on the right side is the indicator of a women’s married life.

And finally, the knot on the back indicates widowhood, thus Dirndl has a strong societal norm to show off. The dress is worn by all German women regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, and social status.

3) German Culture Clothing and Economic Status

The ideal form of German cultural clothing was Tracht specifically the one worn in the royal court. But dirndl became popular among the common public because the fabric was cheaper, comfortable, and affordable.

Though dirndl for the festive season differs from the daily use one because of the quality of the cloth matters. The folk costume though started gaining popularity because it emerged as a symbol of national reawakening. But later, it became a tool for measuring wealth.

The dresses made of silken cloth beaded and embroidered are high-class folk costumes. And the dresses were made of cotton and other washable fabrics embroidered with normal needlework or left as it is are for the peasant class.

Thus, be it dirndl or Tracht German culture clothing started as a revolution. And later became a tool for measuring existing class differences based on wealth.

4) Difference Between Dirndl and Tracht

Tracht dress remains the same always as there is no variation in length. It is mostly paired with a red pompon hat and shoes and is the most practical form of traditional German costume. Whereas Dirndl varies in length and design.

As per the current trend, it is handier and often referred to as a maid’s costume. It is more common in the southern German side, especially in the region of Austria and Bavaria.

In northern Germany, the most popular traditional outfit is named Friesische Tracht and Finkenwerder Tracht. Some traditional costume is regional, some are practical. And most commonly they can be seen during national festivals like Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen is a traditional men’s costume. They are short leather pants and the reason for the short length was about comfort during labor work. But later the idea of short length was rejected and regarded as non-suitable. 

5) Folk Costume and Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is one of the most traditional and popular festivals in Germany. It takes place every year in Bavaria and Munich. Now, Oktoberfest is popular in other parts of Europe as well.

The contrasting thing is that the Oktoberfest doesn’t begin in October. But rather ends on the first week the of this month.

It is a beer-drinking festival along with a funfair. As per the tradition Germans wear their traditional costumes.

Pixabay / Jurgen

If somebody from outside wants to experience German culture then give a visit during the festive season. During Oktoberfest, there is a proper display of German cultural clothing, traditional food items, and games.

In some way or others, there is a great effort to bring nostalgia to countrymen. And to familiarize foreigners and travellers with German culture.

6) Modern Versus Traditional German Culture Clothing

Elegance and comfort are the top-notch criteria that define modern-day German clothing. People try to remain true to their cultural values occasionally. But they try bringing their remixes with them as well.

Modern-day dirndls are not going to be a replica of the 18th and 19th centuries. They are mostly worn on occasions like weddings, Christmas parties, and Oktoberfest.

A dull-colored top paired with slightly loose bottoms along with classy footwear is what looks like modern-day German clothing style.

Things that should be avoided while dressing in 21st-century Germany are

  • skin tight clothes

  • high heels

  • too many accessories

  • bright colour clothes

  • overdressing

Traditional German clothing used to be more about dignity, femininity, masculinity, and culture. There was less freedom of choice and more cultural consciousness at that time.

German culture clothing was not a matter of occasion then. The folk costume used to be more emblematic during important occasions.

Dirndls and lederhosen
Image by Birgit Böllinger from Pixabay

Dirndls and lederhosen use to display class differences and economic statuses of the person. Because the quality of clothes varied between labour class and royal groups. But as per the modern trend, comfort is mostly preferred.

So whether you wear beaded silken dirndls or dirndls made of simple fabric. It will have little to do with class or economic status. Things which are looked down upon during the 18th and 19th centuries are

  • above knee length dirndls

  • dirndls made of simple fabric during occasions

  • women wearing pants

  • loose clothes

  • simple dresses and no accessories

7) Fashion Icons Then and Now

During those days the fashion icons of German audiences use to be kings and queens. The general public used to admire them and keep notice of the minor details of their clothing style.

The folk garments worn by villagers were clearly distinguished from those worn by royal classes in the past. The general people want to be as elegant and grand as they are. As per royal groups, their royalty is to be maintained at any cost.

But for modern-day Germans, fashion icons are popular people. For example, actors, models, musicians, sportsmen, and fashion bloggers. All these people have their group audience. So in the same house, there could be different fashion highlights.

Modern trends are more inclusive with various choices and less implementation. Some of the popular German fashion icons are

  • Matthias Schweighofer (a successful about)

  • Bonnie Strange (model)

  • Masha Sedgwick (fashion blogger)

Television and internet access are leading to the popularity of a whole group working in the fashion industry. Some years before there used to be actors, musicians, models, dress designers, and show hosts.

But now different fashion bloggers are coming into existence. Reviewing dresses from famous brands and online stores. Designing dresses and bringing new street-style fashion into existence.

The Internet has helped their passions to grow and let them build their own set of audiences.

8) Idea of Clothing Brands

The royalty or the mind of the 18th and 19th-century people doesn’t support the idea of clothing brands. During those days there used to be a chosen set of people dealing with expensive fabrics and prestigious beads.

They are chosen for designing dresses for royal groups and kings and queens. There are recognizably different sets of people involved in designing and selling clothes to the peasant class and royal groups.

However, the concept of clothing labels only emerged in more recent times. Where the clothes aren’t recognized by the fabric or design but by the brand tag.

Nowadays, the higher class can be mostly seen wearing them daily and occasionally. Popularity and brand promotion go hand in hand.

All of the bigger brands popularized by celebrities have their stores set in Berlin. Some of the most popular German clothing brands are

  • H&M and Tom Tailor (clothing items)

  • Puma and Adidas ( footwear)

These German clothing brands are internationally famous and established their brand outlets in the main cities of several nations.

There are local brands, retail shops, and wholesale shops. Then there are brand stores nationally or internationally famous.

Their designing and selling aren’t for a particular class or set of people, but it is mostly about affordability.

From class consciousness to brand consciousness things have evolved.

9) Fashion Trends and Stereotypes

The fashion trend of the older days used to be very simple and cliched. During any important occasion, whether it’s a wedding, birthday party, or festival, only traditional clothes were given due preference. 

It’s not like they keep wearing the same dirndl or lederhosen for every occasion. It’s like the dresses were new but the style kept repeating itself.

But today we live in a time of changing trends in terms of fashion especially. Traditional clothes can be seen during weddings and important festivals only. Otherwise, there is a fashion trend for every occasion.

For example, formals are preferred during office work, a uniform is preferred for government officials, shimmery dresses for night parties, and summer dresses for picnics.

There is a defined dress code for every other occasion and modernism promotes variety. One mistake during dressing can put you into a difficult situation. So you must understand the occasion before you put on your favourite dress.

Fashion trends keep evolving and changing with time. But there are some popular stereotypes attached to class dressing like

  • repeating outfit

  • wearing the same colour outfit

  • wearing old fashion

  • wearing duplicate or cheap fabric.

Royalties and popular people believe in performing as ultimate fashion icons.

Popular Shopping Spots to Understand German Culture Clothing

1) Dusseldorf, Germany

The fashion capital Dusseldorf of Germany is too good to be questioned for its shopping scene. The popular streets of Dusseldorf are more than 700 years old and there is a beautiful blend of modern and traditional.

There is a Konigsallee market generally referred to as “Ko” by the locals provides an elegant space for shopping. Numerous types of boutiques, premium shops, and shopping centers border the neighbourhood.

People who are more interested in brand outlets can hit the place and shop for quality clothes.

If you looking to shop your heart out but on a budget then your go-to place will be Schadowstrasse. The place has more than 200 shops and almost all kinds of clothes can be shopped for here.

These shopping streets remain to be busier almost every day but shopping here could be delightful.

2) Cologne, Germany

Introducing to you the older existing market street which was established during the Roman empire. Yes, Schildergasse in Cologne, Germany is one of the best places to go and learn about German culture and clothing.

The utterly attractive glass building which is designed as the whale is known as Weltstadthaus. This complex has it good number of stores to shop from.

Other than that there are big departmental stores and popular clothing brand outlets standing in the queue for you.

This market street in Cologne is believed to be the busiest from older times. If you are eager to find out the German authenticity in terms of clothing, then Schildergasse is a perfect place for you to roam around.

3) Hamburg, Germany

The prettier port city with the serene atmosphere is not for the rush but for the relaxed shopping experience. Hamburg has plenty of parkland and harbour to give a visit and enjoy the water view.

The most popular street exists between the main train station and the city hall of Hamburg. Brand outlets like H&M, C&A, Zara, and Armani along with personalized retail shops stand next to each other.

This provides a perfect contrast to the shoppers, and that’s why it is one of the best shopping destinations.

The other best thing about the place is that restaurants and cafes are lined up in the same area. Also, the world’s biggest electronic store named “Saturn” lies close to it on Boulevard.

So all of this combination is making this street of Hamburg pretty good for hanging out.

4) Ingolstadt, Germany

The idea of relaxing shopping hampers our minds in such a way that shopping feels enjoyable. For another such experience, there is a beautiful village in Germany known as Ingolstadt village.

Ingolstadt village is a touristy place and visiting here could be a fulfilling trip. Along with the cloth culture, you will get to feel the German authenticity here because villages are undoubtedly human-first settlements.

The place has world-class designer brands along with historic sites of Germany.

You can visit places like the Bavarian army museum in New Castle, Klenze Park, and a very amazingly preserved historic old town in Germany.

There are cafes and restaurants available nearby to feed your tummy with German dishes.

5) Mauerpark, Berlin, Germany

The most interesting market which is a part of the German community is the flea market. Almost every big city in Germany has flea markets.

These fun markets are visited by locals mostly on Sundays for thrift, second-hand, and handmade products.

flea market, Germany
Pixabay / maxmann

Mauerpark flea market in Berlin has a bunch of goodies to offer. For example, clothes, books, furniture, street foods, crafted beer, wine stalls, jewelry, and other handcrafted artworks.

These are generally colourful market which has a funfair feel excluding rides. You can enjoy live music along with food trucks and other popular street food items while marketing.

Traditional and modern products of all kinds are offered at more affordable costs. Flea markets are never going to disappoint you.

What is The Fashion Style in Germany?

Image by Jollymama from Pixabay

Germany is a highly established country known for its fashion revolution and world-class brands. German brands have expanded their horizon from dominating Europe to getting popular in Asia as well.

Some such designer brands are Gucci, Prada, Versace, Zara, H&M, C&A, and more.

The high-class German culture clothing prioritizes comfort and elegance over anything. Germans like to wear sporty comfy clothes of balanced colour combinations.

They can be okay with the dull colours but will avoid too much of a colour splash thing happening. Some of the kind of clothing style which is not appreciated in modern German culture clothing are

  • too much of a colour splash

  • body hugging clothes

  • underdressing

  • overdressing

  • pencil heels.

Germans love to stay balanced. If you are in Germany then while dressing occasion and season must be taken care of. For example, sleep wears won’t be appreciated while hanging out and street clothing won’t be accepted in the workplace.

Germany being so practical in their dressing approach is inspiring to the youths of other countries as well.

Dressing is a most important part of culture and lifestyle. And it tells a lot about Germans like how much they appreciate freedom of choice.

Dirndls and lederhosen being an important part of traditional German culture clothing can be mostly spotted in the countryside. People in cities with their fast-paced life have a lot to tell about new arrivals.


German culture clothing is thoroughly discussed in this article dating back to the 18th century till the modern age. The important impactful events have been listed to support the argument.

The fashion revolution and cultural evolution in terms of the clothing, fashion capital, the fashion industry, and the fashion icon of Germany have a lot to do.

From traditional folk costumes to designer outlets, the story of German brands making a mark in the fashion world is inspiring.

The importance of traditional folk costumes exists in the 21st century as well. But modernism is more about freedom and equality where the idea of forceful cultural imposition is lifted.

The approach of the slow-paced countryside and bustling cities toward fashion is a bit different. Social media platforms have a major role in bringing them together.

Germany has all kinds of markets from

  • personalized retail shops,
  • designer outlets,
  • showrooms, and
  • malls, to
  • flea markets.

Germany is made for all social groups and has a lot to offer in terms of fashion. With their practical approach, German millennials have a classic understanding of fashion. They are always up with the basics and do not appreciate complex fashion choices.


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