The Story behind a Dirndl

The name “Dirndl” leads back to the word “Dirne” which is an old-fashioned word for “young girl”. So the “Drindlgewand” meant nothing else then “dress of a young girl” and is today only used in the shortcut Dirndl.

The Dirndl is a traditional dress from the south of Germany and Austria, since 1870/80 it used to be a fashion trend in cities as a summer dress in countryside-style, although it originally was worn by housemaids.

In the First World War it became most popular because it was the cheapest alternative to former times dresses for women.

The lasciviousness of the dress is what made the Dirndl until today outstanding. It was the Nazi regime which made the Dirndl in its design what it is today. The designer and nationalist Gertrud Pesendorfer created the Dirndl in a way to distance it from church (so it became more lasciviousness in its design). Moreover the Dirndl was declared as a “German Array”- So that Jewish people where not allowed to wear it anymore.

Connected that strongly to the Nazi regime it does not sound like a nice story anymore. But actually the Dirndl and the Lederhosen just “survived” the Nazi regime. Germany suffered a lot after Hitlers time – Nearly no national pride is left in German people. In schools kids get educated very critical about their own country and history. But clothing always has always been a way to express in a non-communicative way. Compare it to the great fashion of the French sun-king and his wife Marie-Antoinette, Indians in America, to the New Zealand Maori and their use of tattoos and also to the way eastern women dress influenced by rules of religion. The Dirndl and Lederhosen express the down-to-earth, free and liberal tradition of German mentality – until today.  Free from church, not connected to any regime (because it existed before and after the Nazis) and something which is recoginzed by others as "typical German" - no matter if it is also Austrian or what ever-

The Dirndl and Lederhosen still allows German to express themself as Germans in a nice way. And sometimes we all need that, right? Representing the identity sometimes makes us feel home and in a warming way a little proud and connected. 

Let me know if you became a proud German now :P