For centuries, the dirndl has been the traditional dress for women in the German-speaking region of the Alps, and notably in Bavaria and in Austria it is still considered the regional or national dress. Traditionally, a dirndl comprises a skirt, a bodice (these can be joined) and the dirndl blouse. An apron may be worn over the skirt too - don’t believe the urban myth that says the way you tie your apron ties denotes your availability! Over the centuries, the dirndl has won many fans - each year this style of dress is showcased at the famous Oktoberfest in Munich.

The bodice of the dirndl is usually a front fitted, corset style item. It has ties or buttons to ensure a snug fit and emphasis and enhance the bust and shape. It often has elaborate trim as well as embroidery or ribbon embellishments and pretty buttons too.

The skirt of a dirndl can be either a separate piece or attached to the bodice. They are fairly wide and have plenty of swing and sway. Skirts come in various lengths although mini dirndl skirts are now widely viewed as tacky! They can be plain or highly decorated with ruches and frills or with spectacular prints.

Dirndl tops are cropped under the bust so that the bodice fits snugly around the midriff, however they are also proving to be very popular as a top in their own right- just the thing to show off that 6 pack! Dirndl top designs differ greatly and allow the wearer to display varying degrees of cleavage, shoulder and arm. Sleeves encompass everything from elbow or to full-length for colder weather to light off-the-shoulder styles for warmer weather; Many have ruches and ruffles or sheer lace arms.  Puffed sleeves are popular to emphasise slimness at the waist. Most dirndl blouses are white although black, beige and cream ones are becoming more popular and are often enlivened with braid, buttons and tonal inserts.

A folk costume or tracht, might be a traditional dress, but that does not mean that it cannot be trendy at the same time! Growing interest in traditional clothing since the millennium has led designers to rediscover and reinvent the style. Today the so-called "mini-dirndl" is a best seller. That's probably not surprising though as these shortened folk dresses have had a fair amount of celebrity endorsement- and not just from Julie Andrews!

An acceptable alternative to the dirndl bodice is the traditional blouse. These blouses often incorporate many elements of the dirndl but are lightweight, can be less revealing and are generally easier to wear.

Dirndl dresses have bodices which are designed under the assumption that you’ll be wearing a specially cropped top. These tops are very popular and come in numerous styles and designs, suitable for different occasions and times of the year.

Whether you are going to an Oktoberfest celebration or simply following fashion, a dirndl is a brilliant choice but it can be an expensive one too. Before you invest in a reproduction high street must have or a cheap fancy dress option browse vintage – you won’t be disappointed! At www.repsycho.co.uk we stock (as available) original, quality dirndl items at reasonable prices so you can look authentic, individual and amazing!

Both men and women wear kimono, men’s tend to have subdued colours and geometric patterns while women’s favour the floral. Many kimonos are made of silk and silk blends, as they are handmade they don’t usually have labels to confirm the fabric type but silk is usually quite rough to the touch.

Michiyuki is a style of Japanese jacket/coat, with its signature square neckline and snap or button closures, is worn over the kimono for warmth and protection. Most michiyuki have a “secret pocket” beneath the front panel, accessible by the right hand. Though there are versions for men, most michiyuki are made for women. There is no standard length, and some can be as long as the kimono beneath it, which is more common for the style of michiyuki that is designed as rainwear.

Recently it has become very fashionable to wear kimono style jackets, they are widely manufactured and sold on the High Street but did you know it is really alternative to wear a real Japanese kimono? Why should you settle for a copy when authentic kimono are beautiful and handmade by experts too!

Kimono has come to denote a long, T shaped robe with collars and long, wide sleeves. They are wrapped around the body and secured with a belt/sash or obi. Traditional kimonos are handmade with fantastic attention to detail, tiny stitches and fabulous styling.

A yukata is a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined. It is very lightweight, cool, and comfortable compared to a traditional kimono. You can wear it to a casual party, events in the spring and the summer or indoor events in all seasons. They can also be your lounge wear.

A haori is a kimono shaped jacket. Originally worn by men only; women were allowed to wear them after the Meiji era and women's ones became popular in the Taisho era (1912-1926). The haori does not close but is worn open or kept closed by a string that connects the lapels. Haori are versatile garments, as they translate well into western-world outfits too, looking good when worn either dressed up for the evening or dressed down with jeans.

The 21st century has witnessed something of a kimono renaissance. Elegant kimono in beautiful modern fabrics can be seen increasingly on the streets of Japan, while second-hand kimono’ are becoming popular too, often re-styled or combined with other items of dress. The resurgence of interest in kimono is particularly apparent in the summer, when department stores are full of yukata (summer kimono), which are much simpler to wear than formal garments. After the Second World War kimono were often viewed as a product of Japan's feudal past or a symbol of women's oppression, but today they are just another choice in the wardrobe.

At Repsycho we have been selling authentic Japanese kimono for several years; people buy them to wear as jackets, dresses and as dressing gowns and lounging wear too, they are especially popular during the festival season. These are genuine handmade Japanese items which often still have tacking stitches in the clothing denoting that they have not been worn. Our kimono come in various colours and styles, gorgeous designs and often have beautiful linings too! Genuine Japanese Kimono can be hugely expensive, we offer the opportunity to own one at a snip!