Did you know that in the past, clothing in Germany was actually a reflection of the social and legal status of a citizen? Studying the outfits that Germans wore traditionally helps us get an insight into their culture.
Every region in the world is easily identifiable by the kind of clothing that was traditionally worn there. From the ‘kimonos’ worn in Japan to the ‘sarees’ draped in India, from the ‘kilts’ of Scotland to the ‘pueblas’ of Mexico, these outfits were, and still are, synonymous with the culture of the country. Clothing that was traditionally worn in Germany is no different. The clothes that men and women wore traditionally tell us a lot about the country and its culture.
What Germans Wore
To actually understand the German clothing of the years gone by, it is important to understand the concept of tracht. Clothes helped identify a person’s standing in society. Along with accessories, the style of facial hair, and adornments, the entire outfit and way of presentation was called tracht.
It allowed people to know certain things about another person. These details included their marital status, their place of origin, and also their trade. According to these details the clothing patterns changed slightly. With time, these clothing patterns became more integrated, resulting in common designs. We have described for you two of the most common outfits worn by women and men in Germany, especially in Bavaria. In the northern parts of the country, there were other styles of clothing that were prevalent.
Traditionally, every village even had its own particular style of this dress, in accordance with the concept of tracht. The dirndl comprises many garments that make up the entire outfit. It was made up of a fitted bodice which was worn with a blouse, a full skirt, petticoat, and an apron.
Originally, the dirndl was the uniform of the Austrian servants. The blouse was generally made of either cotton or lace. Some women chose to wear the outfit without a blouse. The apron was more often than not of a contrasting color. For festive occasions, the dirndl was often accentuated with embroidery, elaborate hats, and accessories like lace, ribbons, trims, etc., that were plaited.
The word lederhosen translates to leather pants in German. These are knee breeches, and were worn by the Germanic men of the Alpine areas and the surrounding locales.
The pants were made of leather. This traditional style was also worn by young boys. Lederhosens worn in the Bavarian region had features such as suspenders and front flaps, and these were quickly adopted by other countries. These pants were worn with shirts and sweaters made of coarse linen or wool. Other clothes teamed with the pants were wool stockings and country shoes. Jackets and hats were worn by some men.
Today there are several clubs and societies that are devoted to the preservation of traditional German clothes. These societies are working towards reviving the clothing traditions so that more people choose to wear them on occasions like weddings, festivals, etc. Wearing trachts is a patriotic sign chosen to display their pride in their country and their ethnicity.