Wondering what to wear to Oktoberfest as a woman?
Well, you’re in luck!
This guide will hold your hand through all the must-knows for dressing up to Oktoberfest properly, from how to choose the perfect dirndl and blouse to cute accessories that’ll complete your outfit.
Read on for a simple guide on ladies’ attire at Munich Oktoberfest.
First: Do I Have to Dress Up for Oktoberfest?
While it’s by no means mandatory to dress up (there will be many people in normal clothing as well), getting the opportunity to prance around in traditional Bavarian attire is part of what make Oktoberfest such a fun and unforgettable experience.
So, put simply, no it’s not mandatory. You’ll be allowed in with regular clothes… but it really does make the experience a lot more fun if you dress up.
With that in mind, here is a guide on how to do that!
A Quick Overview of Oktoberfest Outfits for Women
At Oktoberfest, ladies mainly wear dirndls. Dirndls are the traditional Bavarian dress you most commonly associate with Oktoberfest (see here for some modern and fun examples).
Of course, the prevalence of “ladyhosen” (lederhosen for women) increases every year. This is much less traditional, but at the end of the day, you should be aiming to wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident!
We say this within reason, of course, bearing in mind that dirndls and lederhosen are traditional dress (Trachten) so wearing cheap, costumey versions can be seen as offensive, like these:
|Beer Wench "Costumes"||Cheap Costume Dirndls||Overly Short Dirndls||Apron Dirndls||Fabric Lederhosen Copies||Dirndl Shirts|
This post will focus more on dirndls, as that’s the most typical thing worn to Oktoberfest. So, what should you look for?
Dirndls: the Ultimate Oktoberfest Staple
Made up of a blouse, dress and apron, Dirndls are a dreamy outfit that will make you feel like a true Oktoberfest princess!
Dirndls can usually be purchased in a set but not always. Often the blouse is sold separately, so do double check before you buy!
NOTE: While from a tourists’ perspective, most dirndls look the same, remember that locals can spot a “cheap” dirndl from a mile away. I’m not sure whether or not you care about this, but if you’d rather not get judged by grumpy Bavarians, then it’s worth it to spend a little extra on a quality one.
If you’re buying a new dirndl, expect to pay at least 60 euros for something that’s of ‘passable’ quality. You could likely find cheaper in touristy shops or at places like Munich’s central train station, but the quality of these will very clearly reflect the lower price point, like so:
So what goes into a proper dirndl outfit? Here are the separate components:
With an outfit that so clearly “shows off the goods”, having the right bra is pretty important. Don’t believe me? “Dirndl bras” (AKA balconette bras) are a real thing (here’s one off Amazon).
You can even get a specialty dirndl push-up. This is serious business, so make sure you have a good bra to carry you (and your girls) through the beer-fuelled nights to come 😉
With most dirndl styles, you will need a blouse to wear under your dress.
First off – Don’t be alarmed by the small size of these blouses – they’re not meant to cover your entire torso (that’s what the bodice is for!)
White blouses are most common, but you’ll sometimes see black ones as well.
The sheer variation in blouse types will blow your mind, from the sleeves to the neckline, etc. I recommend you always try your blouse on if possible (with your bodice) because the sizes fit differently depending on the cut. I’m a big fan of the off-shoulder hippie type look, but there are SO many different styles.
Dirndls are known as THE quintessential Oktoberfest dress, but most people don’t know just how many varieties there are. Some will have a zippered front, others will have a lace-up, some will have a super conservative neckline, others will let the girls hang out…
Either way, your bodice should fit you like a glove. Don’t worry – they flare out perfectly to conceal any food/beer bloat
Practice sitting down with it to see if it wrinkles or puffs out strangely. Do a few dance moves in the change room, because why not? You want to make sure it’s tight, but comfortable.
Most dirndls will have at least one pocket sewn into the skirt. Super convenient. Make sure yours has one because you’ll need it for storing things like your phone!
In terms of length, traditional dirndls usually go past the knee, and are actually not as short and ‘scandalous’ as you see in most costume shops. Remember, the goal here is to buy an actual dirndl dress, not a dirndl costume.
Here are a few examples of bodice types/colours (click on them to check the latest price):
No dirndl outfit is complete without a great apron. Aprons are great for adding a pop of colour to your ensemble, so be sure to pick one that matches well with the colour of your dress. Usually dirndls are sold with an apron to go along with it, but you can also mix and match if you feel like switching things up and being creative.
EXTRA IMPORTANT: The side on which you tie your dirndl apron bow is meant to indicate your marital/relationship status. So keep the following in mind:
- Bow on the Left: Single and ready to mingle
- Bow on the Right: Taken/unavailable
- Bow front and centre: Virgin
- Bow back and centre: Widowed
What Shoes to Wear to Oktoberfest
Heels are a no go, unless you want to be hobbling home by the end of the night.
Comfy shoes are a must because you’ll be on your feet a lot more than you might think. The festival grounds are huge and you should be dancing on the benches by 8pm if you play your cards right.
Close-toed and comfortable are what you should go for.
What Bag to Bring to Oktoberfest
One of the major Oktoberfest must-knows before your visit is that big bags over 3L aren’t allowed.
I mean, you wouldn’t want to bring a big bag anyway because there’s a very limited coat check. SO, a nice small purse is a necessity!
Most dirndls will have a pocket, but a small cross-shoulder purse is perfect for holding your cash, phone, etc. Don’t bring anything you wouldn’t mind losing/getting dirty.
My best tip is to just bring a small purse and wear it at all times, that way you don’t need to worry about keeping your purse on the ground/getting tasty Oktoberfest beer spilled on it.
How to Accessorize Your Oktoberfest Outfit
The Oktoberfest clothing items mentioned above are the bare minimum, but if if you want to accentuate and jazz up your outfit, here are some additional ideas:
Flower crown: Forget Coachella, flower crowns like these are totally a thing at Oktoberfest too. You’ll find a lot of them for sale at stalls around the festival.
Cardigan/coat: There’s a lot of really beautiful traditional coats and sweaters that you can buy that look really elegant over a dirndl. That said, it’s a pricey addition and probably not worth it if you’re only going to Oktoberfest once. Here’s an example of the sort of style you commonly see (grey wool).
Pretty braids: It’s very common to see girls dressed up with some elaborate braided hairdos. It really helps complete the look! That said, if you’re hopeless with hair like me, braids aren’t mandatory.
Here are some general ideas:
We Hope You Enjoyed This Guide on What to Wear to Oktoberfest for Women!
Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about what to wear.