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Traditional Oktoberfest garb reigns among today's youth

MUNICH--When the Oktoberfest opens in Munich in southern Germany, people start dressing in traditional Bavarian attire — the women in dirndls (an Alpine peasant woman's dress) and the men in lederhosen.

This year the trend is traditional. Designers might have experimented with popular patterns, such as the skull-and-crossbones and cartoon characters, but it seems most Oktoberfest guests prefer to stick with tradition.

“People who don't wear traditional clothing while visiting the Oktoberfest stand out,” said Nina Munz, a spokeswoman for Angermaier, a maker of dirndls and other traditional clothing.

“More and more young people are getting into the fun of wearing traditional clothing,” added Gabriele Hammerschick, director of the traditional clothing department at Lodenfrey in Munich.

This year with classic tailoring in style, Munich designer Lola Paltinger made her current collection a mixture of glamour and tradition. “That's really nice because the person who wears the garment comes to the fore,” said Hammerschick.

A traditional dirndl's length is between the knee and the calf. The apron should fall to about 2 centimeters over the hemline and the bodice usually has a low-cut neckline.

Tacky styles such as aprons in Asian tailoring are out, said Alois Wenger, owner of a traditional clothing maker in Salzburg, Austria. The current looks are plainer and often in a color that contrasts with the dress. Many aprons are reversible.

A new development are petticoats that give the skirt more lift, said Munz. They also come in colors or prints, but they are not meant to peek out from under the skirt, said Hammerschick.

Most dirndls are made from linen or cotton. However, there are variations made from brocade or silk, satin and jacquard. Some aprons include lace. The blouses worn under the dirndl usually are made of cotton, however, silk and organza also are gaining in popularity. To make them more eye-catching, the blouses are sometimes embroidered.

Popular colors include the classics — blue, rose, forest green and black — however there are many in red, orange, green, blue, pink and yellow. The berry and pastel colors that were popular last year are still in style. Even nude tones are included in some collections.

“An absolute must for women this year is a hat with a feather,” said Munz. Hats are being offered in classic colors as well as flashy colors such as red and pink.

Paltinger recommends women also wear a choker and earrings. Hammerschick likes long earrings that dangle, but she said women who wear earrings should not wear a necklace. Munz favours chains that lace up the front of the dirndl and attach with hooks to an eyelet sewn onto the bodice.

Shoes should also match the dress so that the look is harmonious, said Hammerschick. Munz recommends ballerina shoes, pumps or high heels in the same color as the dirndl.

While dirndls this season are longer, lederhosen are shorter. “The short variety are especially popular, particularly among young guys,” said Alexander Negovanovic of the men's traditional clothing department in Lodenfrey.

Lederhosen this year come distressed, meaning signs of wear have been artificially added to the clothing. More showy styles have colorful embroidery and men can choose from a variety of shirts, typically in a check pattern and in many colors.

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