If you’re going to an Oktoberfest this year, you might suddenly think the place is overrun with waitresses—those women wearing traditional dirndl outfits with a corset top, apron and peasant skirt. But this year, according to a recent report from Reuters, it’s the female customers who are donning the fashion, embracing that when-in-Bavaria spirit in increasing numbers.
The fashion trend is spreading outside the beer gardens, too. Flight attendants on some Lufthansa flights in recent weeks have been wearing dirndls, in honor of Oktoberfest season, and as perhaps the ultimate stamp of approval, Pippa Middleton was spotted wearing her own dirndl at a recent festival in Austria.
The craze may have some revelers, however, a little confused about how German locals actually dress during this century. “Everybody told me it would be nicer if I wore it,” a dirndl-clad visitor from Sao Paulo told the reporter. “Otherwise you'll look like a tourist.”
Regardless, the look takes a little more effort than just throwing on a sombrero for a Cinco de Mayo party. Tents at Oktoberfests often sell them for about 50 euros, according to the report, but retailers such as Loden Frey, Angermaier and C&A also sell trachten (another term for the folk dress) for anywhere from 60 euros to 1,000 euros (the latter being silk). Design houses such as Hugo Boss, Esprit and Escada have even produced their own versions.
With its hourglass shape (and perhaps with some slightly shorter skirts for modern wearers) the dirndl is pretty across-the-board flattering, too—at least compared to the male equivalent of lederhosen. To maximize your dirndl—whether you’re going to an Oktoberfest or just want a show-stopping Halloween costume—don’t forget the importance of the old-school, Spanx-style foundation: European lingerie maker Triumph offers corsets that complete the look—and a spokesperson told Reuters that the dirndl trend is giving their sales the proverbial lift.