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Germany Dress Code Explained

Germany Dress Code Explained

We often get asked questions about what the Germany Dress Code is. In this guide we will give you advice on how not to look like a tourist in Germany by answering your most frequently asked Germany outfit questions and giving you some outfit inspiration. 

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FAQS About the Germany Dress Code

Do you have questions about the Germany dress code? In this guide we aimed to answer any questions you may have about German dress code sensibilities as well as give you advice on how not to look like a tourist.

It will cover what to wear in the cities such as Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, as well as in the countryside and on German river cruises and special events.

Is there a dress code in Germany?

Woman on bridge in Hamburg
What to wear in Germany Dress code

The good news is that there is not a specific German dress code per se. However there are some places where dress codes are encouraged and in some places are enforced.

For instance, many people who are touring Germany will visit at least one Second World War memorial site such as the concentration camps. At these places your German outfits should be modest, respectful and not cause offence in any way. For this reason we recommend wearing a more muted color palette and avoid anything with slogans or graphics.

How do Germans dress?

Street in Bremen Germany
What to wear in Germany Dress code

Generally speaking Germans tend to stick to a casual to smart casual dress code. And there are very few places that have a formal attire.

However it is worth noting that casual does not mean unstylish.

Can I wear shorts in Germany?

Yes you can absolutely wear shorts in Germany.

If you are selecting shorts to wear in a city in Germany I would select smarter shorts such as tailored shorts for men instead of cargo shorts. But women can wear a mixture of cotton shorts and denim shorts.

If you plan on doing some hiking in Germany for instance in the Mosel Valley or down the Rhine or Danube or in the mountains then you would be better with a pair of hiking shorts and something that can cope with being wet.

Can I wear crop tops in Germany?

Yes you can wear crop tops in Germany. In fact you will see a variety of fashions on the city streets in Germany, for instance in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg.

However I would not wear a crop top in a religious setting or at a World War memorial site.

Do you have to cover your shoulders in Germany?

The answer to do you have to cover your shoulders in Germany is generally no. There are very few places with strict dress codes . Personally I would cover my shoulders in a church but this is not as strictly enforced in Germany as it is in Italian churches or famous places such as the Vatican or Sagrada Familia.

Can I wear jeans in Germany?

Woman on street in Bremen
What to wear in Germany Dress code

Jeans are perfectly acceptable to wear in Germany. However I would avoid packing only jeans in Summer due to the heat.

However they are a great choice for Germany in Winter and cooler shoulder seasons. And in Summer I would pick a lighter pair or even wear ripped jeans.

And the great thing about Germany is the variety of fashion styles you will see on the streets particularly in the cities. For this reason pick the style of jeans you are most comfortable in.

Can I wear sneakers in Germany?

Sneakers are my go to shoe for Germany no matter the season or place. They are most comfortable for walking in. And trust me there is lots of walking involved in German city breaks or even in the German countryside.

They can also cope with cobbles and uneven surfaces in some of Germany’s more historic places. I would never personally travel to Germany without a pair of sneakers.

Can I wear flip flops in Germany? 

Yes you can wear flip flops in Germany, there are no rules against it however I would strongly advise you not too in the cities. In fact I usually put them on my what not to wear in Germany list.

However if you plan on visiting one of the coastal areas such as Warnemunde and plan to spend time on the beach then flip flops are a good addition.

Do people wear leggings in Germany?

Leggings are commonly seen on locals and tourists in Germany. So if you find these comfortable feel free to pack them.

What do you wear at night in Germany?

What you wear in Germany at night will largely depend on the season of travel and the location.

Be sure to check out our other guides on seasons and regions in Germany:

Normally I would recommend wearing a smart casual outfit in Germany at night, unless you are specifically told otherwise in dress code rules. And it is always worth taking an extra layer when out in Germany at night as the temperatures do drop.

And if you are traveling in Winter I would always have thick tights to pair with dresses as well as ankle boots with a good sole.

For more information on what to wear in Germany for dinner check out this post.

Do I need swimwear for Germany?

Beaches are not a big part of many Germany vacations. Therefore unless you are visiting a beach or are staying a hotel with a pool you won’t need to have swimwear with you.

Germany Dress Code for Special Events

Friends in Traditional Oktoberfest outfits
What to wear to Oktoberfest

There are two main special events in the German calendar that many tourists attend. They are:

Oktoberfest has the strongest dress code out of these two events as many people wear national dress i.e. the dirndl. For a complete guide on what to wear to Oktoberfest check out this post. And for a GErman Fall Capsule wardrobe this post is an essential read.

And for the German Christmas markets the main thing you need to dress for is extreme cold weather especially if you are visiting at night.

Are you traveling to Germany? Is there a question you have we haven’t answered? Then please leave us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.