Are you wondering what to wear to Oktoberfest? Want to know if you have to wear a dirndl to Oktoberfest? Or what you should wear if you don’t want to wear traditional clothes? In this guide we will tell you everything you need to pack for Oktoberfest, where to buy dirndls for Oktoberfest if you want one and much more.
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But before we get into specifics about Oktoberfest, we will look at where Oktoberfest takes place and when so you know what to expect from Oktoberfest weather.
What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is the most famous beer festival in the world and is held in Germany every year. In Munich, Bavaria to be more specific.
Depending on the year Oktoberfest is 16 to 18 days long and will involve music, beer, food and fairgrounds.
When is Oktoberfest held?
Despite some common misconceptions and the name, Oktoberfest is not held entirely in October but mostly in September.
For instance this year, in 2023 Oktoberfest runs from Saturday September 16th, to Tuesday October 3rd.
What are Traditional Oktoberfest Outfits?
One thing anyone who has visited Oktoberfest will tell you is that there are traditional Oktoberfest outfits and you will see plenty of people wearing them in the Oktoberfest tents.
For women the traditional Oktoberfest outfit is a dirndl and the traditional Oktoberfest outfit for men is the lederhosen.
Now although you will see people wearing both of these items in the tents, it is not a requirement. However if you would like to wear traditional Oktoberfest outfits keep reading to find out more about them and where you can buy them from.
What is a dirndl?
The dirndl is the traditional Bavarian outfit and consists of 3 elements:
- a dress,
- an apron and
- a blouse.
Now although all dirndls will consist of these elements the dress length, pattern and style so anyone should be able to find a dress in the color and the style that they like.
Typically midi dress are the most commonly worn length in the tents amongst younger people. Maxi length dirndls are usually worn by older ladies. For this reason I recommend looking for a midi dirndl when shopping for your traditional Oktoberfest outfit.
Where to buy a dirndl?
Dirndls although official Bavarian dress, have become common place outside of Germany during the Oktoberfest season.
However I would urge you to buy dirndls outside of Germany with caution particularly from places such as Amazon. The dirndls that you buy online from retailers like Amazon are more akin to Halloween costumes more than the traditional Bavarian dress and aren’t really appropriate for Oktoberfest in Munich.
For this reason we recommend buying your dirndl in Germany rather than in advance of your trip.
Things that you need to look for when purchasing a dirndl include:
- making sure that the dress covers your chest rather than sitting below it. Dresses that fit below the chest and push you upwards are definitely a halloween costume instead of a traditional outfit.
- has an apron. Contrary to popular belief the apron does not need to be white and can be any color but should have very long ribbons which can be tied into a long bow.
- has a blouse – which is almost always white but doesn’t have to be.
Some of the best places to buy dirndls include:
- Alpen Classics – the online dirndl store
- Ludwig and Therese
- The Lederhosen Store
It is possible to also buy dirndls from amazon however you have to be really careful to pick an autenthic one rather than a costume one which can be hard to find as most of the options are more Halloween costume than authentic.
There are also many streets and markets in Munich itself where you can buy a dirndl.
Note about dirndl aprons: the way you tie your dirndl actually has a meaning. Now not many tourists know this and there won’t be a problem if you get it wrong.
But generally speaking tie your dirndl on the left means you are single and tying it on the right means you are taken.
What are lederhosen?
Lederhosen are the traditional Bavarian outfits for men and usually consists of shorts, suspenders and a bib. However some people choose just to wear the shorts.
As with dirndl dress length, the shorts can be of varying lengths. They can be over knee, on the knee or below the knee in length and are usually either black or brown in color.
The most popular length of shorts for Oktoberfest in over the knee or on the knee, with below the knee being the least common style.
What to wear with lederhosen?
Lederhosen are traditionally held up with suspenders, and are paired with a blue check shirt. Sometimes people will also add a waistcoat with the lederhosen but this isn’t a requirement.
Oktoberfest Dress Code Questions
There are no official Oktoberfest dress code rules to get into the tents other than not wearing anything offensive. However we recommend
Don’t wear a Halloween costume
In answer to what not to wear to Oktoberfest I would have to say a halloween costume Bavarian girl outfit.
This is not appropriate and is considered wrong by the locals.
Wear your dirndl correctly
When wearing a dirndl always remember to wear it with a blouse and an apron as without these items it isn’t a proper dirndl.
What to wear to Oktoberfest
In this section we will look at what to wear to Oktoberfest for women and men, both in terms of traditional Oktoberfest outfits and normal clothes. For more information on what to wear in Munich more generally check out this post.
What to wear to Oktoberfest for women
The Dirndl being the traditional Oktoberfest outfit is most commonly seen in the tents. Be sure not to pick a Halloween costume version and buy a traditional one instead.
However it is not compulsory or part of the Oktoberfest dress code to have to wear a dirndl.
If you decide against the traditional dirndl then another type of dress is definitely appropriate.
Trousers and Top
Lightweight trousers and t shirt or blouse is definitely appropriate for Oktoberfest. Just remember even on a cold day you will find that the tents get very hot so be sure to have layers if you feel cold.
Depending on the weather, you may need a top layer with you. There is no traditional top layer to put with the dirndl but we think a cardigan is a good pick whether you are wearing traditional Oktoberfest outfits or normal attire.
What to wear to Oktoberfest for Men
Lederhosen with Blue Check Shirt
The lederhosen with a blue check shirt is the traditional outfit for men at Oktoberfest.
Trousers with Blue check Shirt
If you don’t want to wear full traditional clothes then why not pair a pair of trousers such as chinos or jeans with a blue check shirt as a nod to the traditional outfits.
Best Shoes for Oktoberfest
So now you know what to wear to Oktoberfest, we will turn our attention to the best shoes for Oktoberfest.
Best Shoes for Oktoberfest for Women
For women there are no strict rules regarding footwear. Though there are some traditional shoes to wear, which can be brought with the dirndl you can also wear
These resemble the traditional shoes most closely and are great for long days in the tents.
Sneakers are good for Oktoberfest as you will be standing for long periods of time in the tents. White sneakers are absolutely fine and there are no rules against sneakers at Oktoberfest.
Best Shoes for Oktoberfest for Men
Haferl and Loferl
As with women, there are traditional shoes to wear at Oktoberfest. The shoes are called haferl and are worn with calf warmers called loferl.
The haferl are shoes with a sturdy sole as they are often work shoes. The shoes are often laced and made from leather.
While the Loferl, also sometimes called ‘stutzn’ or ‘beinhösl’, are calf warmer. And there are actually quite strict rules about how you wear loferl. You wear them with a sock lining and pair them with short lederhosen.
But what ever you do don’t wear these with anything but the haferl traditional shoe. Don’t be tempted to wear them with sneakers.
Sneakers are a comfortable shoe to wear to for long days in the Oktoberfest tents. They are not commonly worn with lederhosen however are good for those who opt for something other than traditional dress.
What else to pack for Oktoberfest
So now you know what to wear to Oktoberfest, what should you pack for Oktoberfest?
Flower Garland Crown
Lots of women wear flower garlands or crowns in their hair at Oktoberfest. If you want to wear one we recommend packing these and bringing them with oyu
If it is a particularly hot September then you may want an alpine hat with you to protect you from the sun.
Oktoberfest and Munich generally can be hot during Oktoberfest so for this reason we recommend bringing sunglasses.
You will want to bring a bag with you into the tent but remember that bags can not be bigger than 3 liters. If they are bigger than this you will be denied entry.
Therefore we recommend bringing a small bag as you won’t really need much more in your bag other than your purse, identification and mobile phone.
I like a crossbody anti-theeft bag as this will help protect against pickpockets.
- Travel Adaptor
- Power Pack / Battery recharger
- Travel Documents and relevant tickets
- Sun screen
- Aloe Vera
Do you have any other questions about what to wear to Oktoberfest? Or the Oktoberfest dress code? Then drop us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.