Munich for Oktoberfest is one of the first locations you must travel to when studying abroad in the Fall. What first started as a small wedding celebration for King Ludwig and Princess Therese back in 1810 has now transformed into a world-renowned festival.
Famous for beer, food, and revelry of all kinds, this iconic party is an unforgettable experience.
But, to really experience the world’s largest beer festival, you’ve got to dress the part. Not sure what to wear at Oktoberfest? That’s what we’re here for! There are two completely different attires for men and women, and we’ve got the breakdown.
A huge part of your study abroad experience is learning about other cultures and places by actually being there and taking part. So also be sure to explore more of Bavaria during your Oktoberfest trip!
You might also want to check out how to pack for an Oktoberfest camping weekend if you’re planning on staying outdoors.
Now, onto the iconic Oktoberfest outfits so you can rock the look!
Ladies First: All About the Oktoberfest Dirndls
Dirndls, once called Dirndlgewand or “maid dress”, are the go-to outfits for women at Oktoberfest.
They consist of multiple pieces including the bodice, the apron, the skirt, and the blouse. They range in colors and uniqueness, so don’t be afraid to be creative with them!
Beyond being beautiful and unique and just fun to wear at Oktoberfest, Dirndls are also a form of communication. How you tie the apron and where the knot is located says a lot about your relationship status.
A knot tied on the woman’s right side means that she’s taken, married, in love, or in a relationship. If the knot is on the left, she is single.
When the knot is located at the front, she’s a virgin and when it’s tied in the back, she’s either a widow, server, or child.
Dirndls play a large role in the German culture, so make sure to do it justice! We love how they help us feel like a local. Plus, they’re super cute and more than flattering!
Now, Gents: Learn About Lederhosen
Introducing the traditional Oktoberfest lederhosen for the fellas.
Historically, these were made from tanned deer leather, making the outfit both durable and soft. Today, there are many variations so it’s possible to find a cheaper (or vegan) version.
The shorts can be found in different lengths, typically right above the knees, and are full of pockets to hold your necessities. The most distinctive part of the look is the codpiece, or drop front, that sets it apart from all other traditional wear across Europe.
Then, to complete the look, pair the shorts with matching overalls and finish with a button-down underneath.
It’s most traditional to wear a plain white button-down, but a colored, checkered shirt is a modern, fashionable choice that lets you make lederhosen your own!
Lastly, don’t forget the stockings. Not only do they complete the look, but they also can provide some much-needed warmth if the sun isn’t shining in Munich.
Where to Get the Oktoberfest Outfit
Don’t worry, you can get the perfect outfit after arriving in Munich!
If you’re coming with us, we’ll help you find the perfect dirndl or lederhosen after we arrive in the city. We know all the best shops and where you’ll get the perfect look.
As always, it helps to have a local expert on your side!
Send us a message if you have any questions about the outfit, getting to Munich, or anything Oktoberfest!
What Shoes to Wear at Oktoberfest
The festival days are long in Munich, and sometimes a late September or early October weather surprise can make it a little brutal to get through.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes that will last you all day.
Traditional shoes are known as Haferlschuh for men. They’re made of leather, of course, with a very durable sole.
Traditional shoes for the ladies were heels! Today, you can get away with just about anything.
For the gents, we highly recommend timberline-style boots if it’s chillier. If it’s nicer out, or you want to really dress the part, look for a loafer with a raised heel, rounded toes, and rough leather laces.
For the ladies, we recommend flats. It’s not the most traditional option to rock a pair of converse or over-the-knee flat boots, but if you’re comfortable and warm, you’ll be happy and it’ll still look super cute on the ‘gram!
Lastly, if there’s room in your luggage, we recommend bringing a pair of rain boots along for the ride, just in case.
A Note About Bags
Large bags are not allowed inside the festival. If you can avoid taking a bag altogether, we suggest it!
But if you feel like you’ll need one, the smaller the better. All you need is your cash, ID card, and a place to stash your phone, anyway!
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This article was originally written in May 2019 and updated most recently in July 2022.