This is the second week of the Oktoberfest (http://tinyurl.com/6kv38ym). Each year, I promise myself I’ll go – my last visit was 15 years ago when I was a student and we spent most of our time in the lairy Hofbrauhaus, slept in the car near the Englischer Garten and washed in McDonald’s. I’ve never ventured there as an ‘adult’.
Last week I kicked myself yet again that I wasn’t Munich-bound when I met Lea Tucker, from the marketing team at Aspen/Snowmass, who was heading there as part of a pre-winter European tour. I was impressed, most of all, that she planned to dress properly, in a dirndl.
This made me want to plan my outfit for my hoped-for return. I’m well prepared, as I spent most of my wages as an Inghams rep in the 1990s on dirndls and four of them are still going strong.
Unlike Lea’s, and the ones I photographed at the Swiss Jodlerfest in Interlaken in June (http://tinyurl.com/6zhekyr and other June posts), mine don’t have a frilly undershirt. This makes them more wearable, extending their usability beyond beerfests and apres-ski parties.
My favourite, the cream one (label: Country Line), gets the most outings. It has been to the Tirolerhut restaurant in Bayswater, to the Battersea Beerfest, and it went well with cream ear-muffs at an apres-ski party a couple of years ago. It could get a little tight if you overdid the Bratwurst (not to mention the 1l Steins that the Oktoberfest revolves around).
Next in line is the green one (Sigi Scheiber) with a suede front and edelweiss stitching. It fits nearly everyone and is super-flattering, although the sleeves are quite puffy. You can even ski in it, as shown above.
Next up is the orange one (Sportalm, the priciest of my collection) – best worn with a tan and my sister’s favourite. It’s quite flowery, but it went down well at a wedding in Wiltshire. I like the decorative straps that dangle from the waist, and the buttons and buckle are made of bone.
Then there’s the black one (Berwin & Wolff), which is thick and heavy – I’d call on this in the unlikely event I needed a warm dirndl for proper alpine conditions.
The greatest dilemma is footwear. Lea went for little slip-ons, which I think look fine. I prefer those to boots – but boots might be more protective in Munich.
I’d aim for something in between. I used to have a tan suede pair with a decorative buckle, which were so good for normal use that I wore them out. With a dirndl, they went best with woven ankle socks with a metal edelweiss on the turn-over.
The pair in the photo belonged to Sarah Royston, my boss in Obergurgl, who was my partner-in-dirndl-shopping on our days off. With their sturdy sole, sensible laces and dark colour, this would be my top choice of style for the Oktoberfest.
So, girls, no excuse for turning up ununiformed. Sorry, chaps, to leave you in the air on the subject of Lederhosen. All I know is that they are less flattering than dirndls, not as useful back home – and that unless you buy one a few sizes too large, rather easy to grow out of…
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