Prost! What to Wear to Oktoberfest - Chicago Costume
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Prost! What to Wear to Oktoberfest

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Oktoberfest is an important German holiday and cultural celebration that started as a wedding celebration in 1810. Today, Oktoberfest is an annual holiday celebrated by Germans or those of German descent all over the world.

For over two whole weeks every year, Germans listen to Bavarian music and drink beer to celebrate their heritage. Ironically, the majority of this festival takes place in September, with only the last few days being in October. If you attend, you'll have a lot of fun, listen to some great music, and see a lot of people walking around in traditional costume.

What exactly makes up this traditional costume, though, and how much of it do you need? Here, we'll talk about what you should wear to Oktoberfest.

1. Do I Have to Wear Full Costume?

It's not necessary to wear a full costume, or even dress up at all. Some people wear only a bit of traditional clothing and substitute modern clothing for the rest of it, while others go all-out.

It's up to you what to wear to Oktoberfest, but dressing up is encouraged to some extent.

2. The Dirndl

You may not have heard of a dirndl, but you've probably seen one. It's a combination of three pieces of clothing: a peasant blouse with a shoulderless dress over it and an apron over that.

You can typically find these online or in many costume stores like ours. 

There's also an old tradition that goes with the apron on the dirndl. Where you tie the apron indicates your relationship status. The knot tied in front indicates either a child or a young woman who is a virgin.

Tying the knot on your right means that you're married or in a relationship. Tying it on the left indicates that you're single, and tying it in the back indicates that you're widowed or a waitress.

3. Accessories for Women

There are a few different options for accessories when it comes to Oktoberfest. For women, one option is to wear a flower crown, a traditional piece that's been popular around the world since ancient times.

You may also wear a necklace or other piece of jewelry with a pretzel on it. Pretzels may have been invented in Italy, but they became very popular in Germany and nearby countries.

Another option is a choker with an edelweiss on it. It's a symbol of Switzerland, but it also ends up on German and Austrian clothing. One of the biggest reasons for its popularity may be where it's grown. It's native to the Alps, which go through parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Italy.

In popular culture, it has come to represent strength, courage, and love.

4. Knee-High Socks

Knee-high socks are often worn by both genders. Ideally, they should match with the rest of your clothes, so don't get socks with different decorations than the ones on the rest of your outfit.

Some choose to wear their socks at mid-calf or substitute leg warmers. Either way is fine. Keep in mind that this is Germany in the middle of the Fall, so go with whatever you feel will be warm enough.

5. Lederhosen

While women wear dirndls and flower crowns, men traditionally wear lederhosen and suspenders over a white or checkered button-down shirt.

While lederhosen isn't the only option out there, it's among the most well-known and is the easiest to get. Traditional lederhosen was made out of leather, and there's still an argument to be made for going traditional.

Leather tends to be a more comfortable and durable material than cotton or other, less costly options. Whether you'd prefer more affordable or more functional material is up to you.

Even if you do choose to go with leather, you don't have to pay top-dollar for it. There are many different kinds of leather that lederhosen can be made of. We rent authentic Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses too

6. Suspenders

Some lederhosen comes with suspenders, but not all of them do. You can shop for traditional ones, which were also made out of leather. Or you can substitute your own.

Ideally, your suspenders should match your lederhosen, but don't worry if you can't find any. Wearing lederhosen without suspenders is also an acceptable look.

7. Shoes

The last item on our list is shoes. Shoes often differ based on gender. For women, it's best to go with something simple and low-heeled, while the best option for men is a simple loafer.

Nobody's going to bat an eyelash if you choose not to wear traditional shoes, though. The only rule that applies to shoes is to not wear sandals or anything open-toed.

In an environment where you're dealing with a lot of beer, you're also dealing with a lot of glass. Any foot that's even slightly uncovered is a safety hazard.

What to Wear to Oktoberfest

When deciding what to wear to Oktoberfest, you have a number of different options. Traditional outfits are encouraged, but not necessary.

There's a lot more to Oktoberfest than the outfits. It's an incredible celebration, and we encourage you to do more research on your own if you're interested in learning more about it.

If you want to know more about the costumes of various kinds and where you can get them, feel free to visit our site or stop into our store if you are in Chicago. For instance, if you're looking for the perfect Halloween mask, we can help with that.