A few days ago we learned all about the history of the Dirndl and the different outfit elements – now let’s have a look at its male counterpart: the Lederhosen.
The Lederhosen also originated in the 18th century in the Alpine regions of Germany and Austria and were the trousers of the peasant community. They were popular among this community, because, as the Dirndl was very practical for the women, the Lederhosen were very practical for the men. Although leather trousers were worn by many hunters and riders throughout Europe at the time, the Lederhosen was unique, as it featured a flap at the front (first featured in Bavaria).
During the late 1800s it became fashionable for the rich to imitate the simple peasant life and so the Lederhosen were adapted by the upper class, however, there were still some key differences in the quality of the Lederhosen:
- Peasants: the peasants wore a 3/4 length Lederhosen, also called ‘Kniebundhosen’, which were generally made of goat or sheepskin and dyed black
- Nobles: the nobles, who were often skilled hunters, generally made their Lederhosen out of deerskin (which was much softer and a higher grade of leather) and decorated these to symbolise their nobility
As with the Dirndl, different regions adopted unique ways of decorating their Lederhosen, and soon people began associating Lederhosen with regional pride. In many regions the traditional ‘Tracht’ was taken extremely seriously and many men owned several pairs of Lederhosen for different occasions: Lederhosen for everyday life and Lederhosen for special occasions, such as weddings.
Whilst Lederhosen were popular for many years, they were eventually replaced by jeans, which, ironically, were invented by the Bavarian Levi Strauss after he emigrated to San Francisco. In recent years, however, Lederhosen have come back in style and people of all ages can be found wearing them at cultural festivals. Basic Lederhosen, usually made out of goat’s skin, start around 250€ but can go up in price to around 1,000€ for those made out of deerskin and with intricate embroidery.
Now let’s have a look at the outfit as a whole:
1. Die Lederhose (the Lederhosen)
The Lederhosen themselves are the most expensive part of this outfit since they are made of genuine leather, however, that being said, most men wear their Lederhosen for many years, if not for life, so they are a worthwhile investment. There are many options which you have when choosing a pair:
- Quality of leather (the better the quality, the higher the price)
- Lederhosen ending above the knee, below the knee, or going down to the ankles
- With or without suspenders
- Basic to intricate embroidery
2. Das Hemd (the shirt)
The most common colours of shirt worn with lederhosen are plain white with embroidery and bone buttons, or checkered shirts – often blue/white, red/white, or green/white. Whilst the colours traditionally represent different regions of Bavaria, simply choosing a colour which you like is the norm nowadays.
Ditch your sneakers when wearing the Lederhosen and opt for brown shoes, generally the Haferlschuhe (half-shoes). Socks worn with these shoes are usually cream or grey in colour and go over the calf. Finally, you can choose to top off your outfit with a green or black felt hat
Now you are ready to hit the Oktoberfest dancefloor and dance the night away to the Fliegerlied!
Images and information retrieved from: