German culture clothing used to be about traditional folk costumes during the 18th century, but now it has evolved in a greater sense.
Whenever the topic arises 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 with a bodice, blouse, and a full skirt. These outfits are the heart of German culture clothing.
In European countries, the traditional and modern dress codes don’t vary much in structure. Skirts and trousers can be found everywhere with slight variation in almost every part of Europe.
Some unique features like a cowboy hat, boots, and motorcycle jacket are the American highlight. Bush shirts, waistcoat, and Akubra hat is the Australian highlight. A kilt (knee-length skirt with checks) is the Scottish highlight clothing.
Now, you must be wondering why we are talking so much about cultural clothing. Well, our topic of interest today is German cultural clothing.
1. Lesser Known Things About German Culture Clothing
1.1 Background of Traditional German Culture Clothing
The idea of Tracht as a German folk costume was used as a reawakening device for Germans to get hold of their cultural roots. The idea was supported and popularized by Swedish King Gustav 2 in the 18th century.
Because the Bavarian region had been the centre of all the significant changes and sufferings, it became the centre for reawakening also. Even today, the 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.
1.2 Dirndl and Marital Status
Dirndl is all the more popular among women as German culture clothing. The peasant class wears the dress since they cannot afford to buy beaded, embroidered, silken-made Tracht.
Dirndl is a semi-flowy dress with a full skirt, blouse, apron, ruffled sleeves, and bodice. It comprises washable fabrics worn on occasions like Oktoberfest, Christmas parties, and German weddings.
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 shows a woman’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.
1.3 German Culture, Clothing and Economic Status
The ideal form of German cultural clothing was Tracht, worn explicitly in the royal court. However, Dirndl became popular among the 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, the folk costume 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. The dresses made of cotton and other washable fabrics embroidered with normal needlework are for the peasant class.
Thus, be it Dirndl or Tracht, German culture clothing started as a revolution. It later became a tool for measuring existing class differences based on wealth.
1.4 Difference Between Dirndl and Tracht
Tracht dress remains the same as there is no variation in length. It is mainly paired with a red pompon hat and shoes and is the most practical form of traditional German costume. At the same time, Dirndl varies in length and design.
As per the current trend, it is handier and often called a maid’s costume. It is more common in the southern German side, especially in the regions of Austria and Bavaria.
In northern Germany, the most famous traditional outfits are Friesische Tracht and Finkenwerder Tracht. Some traditional costume is regional, and 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 short length was about comfort during labour work. But later, the short distance was rejected and regarded as non-suitable.
1.5 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 famous in other parts of Europe as well.
The contrasting thing is that the Oktoberfest doesn’t begin in October. But instead, it ends on the first week of this month.
It is a beer-drinking festival along with a funfair. As per the tradition, Germans wear their traditional costumes.
If somebody from outside wants to experience German culture, they should 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 other, there is a great effort to bring nostalgia to fellow citizens. And to familiarize foreigners and travellers with German culture.
1.6 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 will not be a replica of the 18th and 19th centuries. They are mostly worn at weddings, Christmas parties, and Oktoberfest.
A dull-coloured 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
too many accessories
bright colour clothes
Traditional German clothing was 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 critical events.
Dirndls and lederhosen were used to display class differences and the economic statuses of the person because the quality of clothes varied between the labour class and royal groups. But as per the modern trend, comfort is mainly 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
simple dresses and no accessories
1.7 Fashion Icons Then and Now
During those days, the fashion icons of German audiences used to be kings and queens. The general public used to admire them and take 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 will be maintained at any cost.
But for modern-day Germans, fashion icons are famous people. For example, actors, models, musicians, athletes, 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 famous 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 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 entering existence and reviewing dresses from famous brands and online stores, designing dresses, and bringing new street-style fashion into reality.
The Internet has helped their passions to grow and let them build their own set of audiences.
1.8 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 to design dresses for royal groups and kings and queens. There are recognizably different sets of people involved in creating and selling clothes to the peasant class and royal groups.
However, the concept of clothing labels only emerged recently, where the clothes aren’t recognized by the fabric or design but by the brand tag.
Nowadays, the higher class can mostly wear them daily and occasionally. Popularity and brand promotion go hand in hand.
All the more prominent brands popularized by celebrities have their stores in Berlin. Some of the most famous German clothing brands are
H&M and Tom Tailor (clothing items)
Puma and Adidas ( footwear)
These German clothing brands are internationally famous and have 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 that are 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.
1.9 Fashion Trends and Stereotypes
The fashion trend of the older days used to be very simple and cliched. During any critical 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. 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 selected 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 event 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
wearing the same colour outfit
wearing old fashion
wearing duplicate or cheap fabric.
Royalties and famous people believe in performing as ultimate fashion icons.
2. Popular Shopping Spots to Understand German Culture Clothing
2.1 Dusseldorf, Germany
The fashion capital Dusseldorf of Germany is too good to be questioned for its shopping scene. The famous streets of Dusseldorf are over 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, which provides an elegant space for shopping. Numerous types of boutiques, premium shops, and shopping centres border the neighbourhood.
People more interested in brand outlets can hit the place and shop for quality clothes.
If you want to shop your heart out but on a budget, your go-to place will be Schadowstrasse. The place has over 200 shops, and almost all kinds of clothes can be shopped here.
These shopping streets remain busier almost daily, but shopping here could be delightful.
2.2 Cologne, Germany
We are 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 designed as the whale is known as Weltstadthaus. This complex has a good number of stores to shop from.
Other than that, there are big departmental stores and famous 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.
2.3 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 visit and enjoy the water view.
The most famous street exists between the central train station and the city hall of Hamburg. Brand outlets like H&M, C&A, Zara, Armani, and personalized retail shops stand beside 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 makes this street of Hamburg pretty good for hanging out.
2.4 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 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 an amazingly preserved historic old town in Germany.
There are cafes and restaurants available nearby to feed your tummy with German dishes.
2.5 Mauerpark, Berlin, Germany
The most exciting 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.
Mauerpark flea market in Berlin has a bunch of goodies to offer. For example, clothes, books, furniture, street foods, crafted beer, wine stalls, jewellery, 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 famous 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.
3. What is The Fashion Style in Germany?
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 becoming popular in Asia.
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
There is too much of a colour splash
body hugging clothes
Germans love to stay balanced. If you are in Germany, then while dressing, occasion and season must be taken care of. For example, sleepwear 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 an essential part of culture and lifestyle. And it tells a lot about Germans, like how much they appreciate freedom of choice.
Dirndls and lederhosen, an essential part of traditional German culture clothing, can be mostly spotted in the countryside. People in cities with their fast-paced lives have a lot to tell about new arrivals.
German cultural clothing is thoroughly discussed in this article, dating back to the 18th century till the modern age. The critical, impactful events have been listed to support the argument.
The fashion revolution and cultural evolution in terms of clothing, fashion capital, the fashion industry, and the fashion icon of Germany have much 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 slightly different. Social media platforms have a significant 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 much to offer regarding 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.