EXPATS AGAIN! Experiencing other cultures while enriching our global view.



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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009


People, American women would not be caught dead in a German dirndl (traditional Bavarian costume once worn by peasants) on an American street. No matter what the occasion, you can bet your lederhosen, any self-respecting Miss from the U.S.A. would never wear such a dress out in public. Now, she might wear a Mickey Mouse T-shirt, ragged blue jeans, and her hair tied up in a scrunchie, but, "Nar a dirndl is worn in this here parts, by gum!"

In fact, in my entire life, I have never seen an American woman wear such a costume. (I've never heard anyone say, "By gum!," either). It's possible it could have been worn as a halloween costume or at the local German Festival, but that is about the only place it possibly could have ever been worn, trust me .

But, not so in Munich. It is so commonly accepted here that hardly a soul notices the dirndl wearer, except the expats, is my guess. Now, I have to admit that when I see a woman clad in a dirndl, in Germany, I immediately think she is a bar maid in a local beer garden eith

The Rathaus and Marienplatz from Peterskirche ...Image via Wikipedia

er coming or going to work.

However, I must admit, that if that were the case then Munich must have a large population of beer garden waitresses because the dirndl is very common on the streets, in the trains, and in the grocery stores. Women of ALL ages are seen daily wearing the dress. Even small children! It isn't just during beer garden season, either.
Furthermore, I reckon that the further away from the city, out in the small villages, for example, the more dirndl wearers you might find. It is only my hunch seeing as the villagers are collectively seen as more traditional and more conservative than the city dwellers.

Drawing a comparison between German traditional dress and American traditional dress is difficult. I don't see many American women walking about the streets wearing American Indian tribal regalia with beading, headress, and feathers. But that would be the equivalent of this costume, now wouldn't it? Or would it be the pioneer womans' ankle length dress with her white apron tied in back? Either way, we have nothing in our culture, that I can think of, to compare to the dirndl. Especially nothing quite so alluring and attention getting as the German dirndl! Ask any man!

Wiesn DirndlImage by DMWyllie via Flickr

However, while shopping in the Marienplatz just last week, I saw dirndils in the shop windows that would exclude most beer garden waitresses just by their price alone. These were not your everyday dirndls, mind you. These have been given pizzaz and style and are currently displayed in the department store windows outside of Max Ludwig in the Marienplatz, in the center of Munich. They are formal and meant for very special occasions; not your common every day attire. These garments have been updated to reflect the times and the fabrics being used are far from traditional.
Have a look on the left.

I like the hat with the feather on the mannequin to the left, and the long black lace gloves on the mannequin to the right.

Satins, silks, and taffeta are the new look of dirndls meant for evening wear.

It doesn't stop with the dress alone. Pictured on the left and below are the stockings that complete the picture. They are striking and jaw dropping. Heads turn as passers-by gawk at the amazingly gorgeous dresses in the many large department store windows. Oktoberfest is drawing near and I suppose these pretties are being displayed in the hopes of whetting our appetites for the festivities. If so, their marketing department has done an excellent job because they are stunning!

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expatraveler said...

Very true... I think the difference is that people in europe are more open to try "other" things.. Maybe I'm wrong though...

Expats Again said...

I believe you're spot on, expatraveler. It seems as though they are not as easily persuaded by the societal constraints as our culture is. At least that's how I perceive it.