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!