A few months back, Gail and I were telling her BFF about our trip to Germany and our Oktoberfest experience when she said: “Let’s get dressed in the German outfits and go to Oktoberfest in Kitchener this year!”
Having gone to Oktoberfest in Stuttgart, it was seeming kind of odd that we’d travelled some 5,000+ kilometres to Germany, but had never bothered to drive an hour up the highway to visit Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario for Oktoberfest – especially since it’s said to be Canada’s best Bavarian Festival!
Gail & I looked at each other…and thought, hmmm not a bad idea, but we’re not German – wouldn’t we be insulting them if we bought authentic Bavarian outfits and went to Oktoberfest as frauds?
What to do!? … Google it (of course)! After a bit of quick research we found that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dressing up as Bavarians – quite the opposite in fact! Information we found indicated that lots of people get in the spirit and “fake it ‘til they make it” at Oktoberfest – in fact, most people said that the festival was that much more fun wearing the right outfit! And so THAT would be the key – find the right outfit and do it with class – not some cheesy T-shirt or a cheap Halloween costume.
One of the best articles we came across was: Why wear authentic Bavarian clothing at the Oktoberfest? It had some great advice on fitting in while enjoying the atmosphere, and best of all it directed us to a great shop that sells not only authentic traditional pieces, but also updated options with modern themes – the official StockerPoint brand clothing is pretty cool! Be sure to check out the Rock ‘n’ Roll themed clothes that are traditional-looking but have a bit of attitude – very unique! Definitely something I think I’d feel more comfortable in.
So how do you dress to join in on the fun? Here’s a crash-course on what to get…
Lederhosen – everyone has heard of Lederhosen, basically/loosely translated as “leather trousers,” but they are usually leather shorts (short or knee-length) worn with thick socks. The lederhosen are work or leisure wear, not part of a national costume as some people think. Because they are made from leather, they last much longer than traditional materials such as cotton or man-made materials. An excellent example of modern but traditional lederhosen are these:
You can see the quality details in the shorts with the elaborate hand stitched designs, and they have horn buttons on the waistband in the event that you want to add the traditional h-beam braces/suspenders.
They aren’t cheap – good quality never is, but we saw old ratty-looking, very well worn lederhosen at a farmers market in Heidelberg selling for €150 and up – for children’s sizes! Men’s were over €200, just to give you an idea for what is out there.
The lederhosen are usually worn with a checkered shirt, long beige socks – worn by pushing down on them and scrunching the sock. The traditional shoes are called haferl shoes which are brown or black – they look a bit like Doc Martins. Not all men stick to the complete outfit and don’t always wear the traditional shoes/socks – but NEVER wear Nike/adidas/Puma shoes!!! The lederhosen have a leather string on the back that is made to be loosened in case you’ve had too much to drink or eat. The leather lederhosen should fit snug when first worn and will loosen up as the leather starts to stretch.
Dirndl – For the ladies there is a lot of variety within the traditional dirndl dress. A dirndl skirt generally describes a light circular cut dress, gathered at the waist that falls below the knee. The outfit consists of a bodice, blouse, full skirt and apron. While appearing to be simple and plain, a properly made modern dirndl may be quite expensive as it is tailored and sometimes cut from costly hand-printed or silk fabrics Modern interpretations usually have a dirndl dress (see picture) with the blouse and apron added to it.
The summer style is lighter, made of lightweight cotton and has short sleeves, while the winter style dirndl has long sleeves and heavy, warm skirts with aprons made of thick cotton linen, velvet or wool. Shoes are generally flats or loafers. Like the lederhosen, the dirndl has lace up openings at the back that are adjustable so you can be pull it tighter or loosened up to give you more “breathing space.”
NOTE: It is tradition that single women wear their dirndl with the apron tied on the left to indicate they are single. Married, engaged or otherwise “taken” women tie their apron on the right. A knot tied in the front means that she is a virgin and a knot tied at the back showing that the woman is widowed.
So what do we plan on wearing and how was the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest?!
You’ll have to wait and see! Unfortunately, in the end we just have too many other travel plans scheduled at the same time this year so we won’t have the opportunity to go to the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest – we will however make a plan to do it next year for sure!
In the meantime there’ll be the problem of deciding just which one of the outfits to get for our next Oktoberfest celebration. One thing we won’t be doing is buying an “I heart Oktoberfest” T-shirt!
Our advice: Buy authentic Bavarian clothing ’cause believe me – once you’ve gone to one, it won’t be your last!!! Have a look at this web site to get a great idea of what to buy – www.oktoberfest-dirndl-shop.co.uk
About Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest. www.oktoberfest.ca/
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest consists of authentic Festhallen located throughout the Kitchener- Waterloo region. Celebrating its 45th year in 2013, (it has operated since 1969) Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has become the largest Bavarian festival in North America.
See our other articles:
Oktoberfest Comes Alive At Night – Wunderbar!
Oktoberfest Isn’t Just For Beer Drinkers – Stuttgart, Germany
Iain Shankland & Gail Shankland started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.
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