Dirndl me up! – Why is it fun to be Austrian

Austria – green meadows, mountains covered in snow and yodelling Austrians hopping around in their traditional clothing called “Tracht“. Especially “Dirndl” and “Lederhose” are tenacious companions when it comes to the description of a typical Austrian. But watch out, wearing a Dirndl has to be learned – in some cases they already caused marital problems!

Although wearing Tracht is quite common, especially in the alpine states of Austria, Germany and Switzerland, most of the inhabitants actually don’t know much about the clothing itself. The word “Tracht“ originates from the old-high German word “drahta“ and the middle-high German word “trahte“ and means quite the same as “to wear”. In the past, wearing special types of clothes and patterns symbolized your regional origin, marital status and your profession. Consequently, a Tracht was kind of a dress code with which you were able to identify a person at a glance.

With the upcoming fashion trends after the post-war era, the traditional Tracht more and more fell into oblivion, but in particular through the 1960’s movies “The Sound of Music“ or “Sissi“, especially the Dirndl had a rebirth. Originally used as working clothes by the farmer’s wives, it has nowadays become a fashion trend.

It even seems, that in the last years a Trachten-hype, especially in the young generation, arose. Dirndl and Lederhose are not only worn at church festivals but also at proms, fairs and in discos for special Trachten-events. The Austrian fashion label „Tu Felix Austria“ even designed a leisure-Lederhose  which gives you that special traditional feeling while biking, hiking or swimming.

I do ask myself, why is everybody nowadays so obsessed with Tracht – especially the young generation? Is it a fashion aspect? Tradition? Has it something to do with prestige or does the Trachten-passion base on the wish for identity? I think that in today’s world where everything seems so hectically and short-lived, the urge to have something persistent is more and more growing – a little nostalgic straw on which you can hold on to.

For whatever reason Dirndl and Lederhose found their way back to the world of fashion; I’m glad that such an old Austrian tradition had its comeback and no matter where in the world you are – wearing a typical Tracht always feels a bit like home.

So those who want to feel like an Austrian should totally wear a Dirndl or Lederhose once. But watch out girls, the placement of the Dirndl-bow is very important. Left side means “single” and right side means “taken“. Those of you I could infect with the “Dirndl-spirit” and want to learn more about Dirndl, Lederhose and co. – here is a funny video with grinning-guarantee.


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