|Lena Hoschek Amalie Dirndl|
I spent a few days in Southern Germany this summer and was surprised at how many women I saw walking around streets in dirndls. I figured that, given that I was largely in towns heavily visited by tourists, these were tour guides and employees of restaurants. However, in Regensburg, our tour guide was a young woman who shared some facts about typical dirndl wearing there. We passed a shop window which displayed mannequins wearing long dirndls.
The guide explained the significance of the dirndl, but said that women her age would almost never wear a long dirndl, that they preferred shorter ones that show more skin on the legs and cleavage. She also said that this demographic always has at least two dirndls: a "fun" one that's for "going out," and a "nicer" one for weddings and family celebrations. She said it was very common for a bride to request traditional dress at her wedding, meaning that girls and women would wear dirndls and boys and men would wear lederhosen. (I have to say that my fascination with this traditional dress has not extended to lederhosen. In Koblenz, I passed a bunch of drunken young men wearing lederhosen and it was like a terrifying gang of Overgrown Bavarian Manboy Frat Dudes. Little boys in lederhosen are always adorable though.) Interestingly, our tour guide also mentioned that lederhosen have become more popular for women to wear but that sometimes they veer toward the short and trashy (think Hotpants Lederhosen).
So, my limited experience on the matter tells me that if you live in Austria or Bavaria, dirndls are very much a part of a typical woman's wardrobe. But what if you live somewhere else and are in love with dirndls? Do you wear one once a year to your local Oktoberfest and that's that? That seems unsatisfactory. (Also, yesterday I went to the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest and was one of only 3 women wearing dirndls [see the other two below!]. I did see a woman wearing a t-shirt that read, 'This Is My Beer Drinkin' Shirt,' which was much more typical of the dress overall. Disappointing!)
One question, to my mind, is how does a designer make dirndls more wearable to the rest of the world? What about the dirndl makes it "unwearable"? Is it the blouse? Some designers, like CocoVero, do a great job of adapting the dirndl in ways that make it more like a dress. Adding sleeves, for instance.
Designers like Julia Trentini make "dirndl dresses" or dirndlkleid which have sleeves and are more like '50s era shirtdresses than traditional dirndls. Julia Trentini's marketing copy even calls these dresses more "everyday" and mentions that they can be worn either with the apron (like a dirndl) or with a belt (like a dress).
|Julia Trentini Marta Dirndl Dress|
|Julia Trentini Traudi Dirndl Dress|
|Noh Nee Tere Dirndl|
Of course, this entire debate this assumes that you care if something is wearable on a daily basis. Lots of stylish people, especially vintage-loving ones, wear things that the average person feels they can't "pull off."
What do you think? Is the dirndl wearable on a day-to-day basis? If not, are there ways to make it more wearable? Would you wear a dirndl without an apron?