German Traditional Clothing

In earlier times, each 'tracht' identified a person as belonging to a particular group in terms of social and legal status (married, single), origin or trade. Today, the term is used to describe any garment reminiscent of the attire of rural communities. Regional varieties vary greatly.

Women's attire, the dirndl, consists of a closefitting bodice combined with an apron in a different colour. Sometimes its sleeveless and worn with a cotton and lace blouse, sometimes it features sleeves and a high neck. Hats are often costly and elaborate. They vary according to occasion and region: 'Goldhauben' (Upper Austria) and 'Bollenhut' (Black Forest region, Germany) are only worn on festive occasions.

A man's traditional clothing is made from leather, linen and wool. The 'Lederhosen', knee-length trousers or short-pants made from leather are worn with rustic shoes and wool socks. Again, jackets and hats vary according to region and occasion.

In many regions, esp. Southern Germany, Bavaria and Austria, it is still acceptable to wear 'tracht' on official occasions like weddings, festivals, etc. Contemporary fashion adapts to traditional elements, the production of dirndl and lederhosen is a thriving industry in Germany.

There are many societies dedicated to 'tracht' revivals. Often, those efforts coincide with an interest in traditional crafts, like porcelain, glass-making or wood carving.