Traditional German clothing dates back centuries and differs greatly by region. Today, the German term Tracht refers to traditional, historical, or regional fashion, which includes clothing, hairstyles, accessories, and jewelry, as well as symbols.

Clothing conveys information. What we wear reflects who we are and what we value. They may reveal information about our occupation or background. They can provide us with a sense of cultural identity. These are true for us, and they were true for our forefathers.

Did you have ancestors from Germany or other German-speaking countries? Continue reading to find out more about the traditional German clothing that your ancestors may have worn.

Tracht means what is worn and how it is worn in the original German, which is a style of clothing and how it is worn or accessorized. These clothes were frequently worn as work wear and indicated that the wearer belonged to a specific group of people, such as officials, workers, a guild, an order, or a specific city or region.

The Trachten was used to show affiliation to a class, religion, ethnic or professional group across the country. However, traditional clothing in Germany used to emphasize differences as much as belonging: the dress code prohibited farmers from dressing like nobility, and Germans dressed in a specific way to distinguish themselves from the French.

Traditional clothing became folklore in the 18th century in order to create a sense of German unity and nationality. In the nineteenth century, the concept of uniform workwear evolved into clothing that, while simple and traditional, was worn in a fine and splendid version to festive events.

Traditional German clothing

Men’s Clothing: Lederhosen

This Bavarian classic outfit for men is worn for a variety of occasions. It is traditionally worn with a hat and other accessories and consists of leather trousers, a shirt, knitted stockings, and leather shoes.

Lederhosen can be short, reaching only the thigh, knickerbocker-style, or reaching all the way to the ankles. They have a bib with deer horn buttons and are worn over a shirt with H-shaped braces.

The outfit originated in Bavaria’s mountain regions before spreading to the lowlands. There are at least six major regional variations, with minor variations and local styles in between.

If you want to become fluent in German, you not only need to learn the language rather you also need to know about German culture, traditions and clothing etc.

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Women’s Clothing: the Dirndl

The Dirndl is a traditional women’s outfit that originated in Bavaria’s Alpine region, but there are many variations. Other Alpine countries with local variations and traditions include Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Italy.

A Dirndl is a traditional dress with a tight bodice and a deep round or rectangular neckline. A wide skirt with a high waist and varying lengths is worn with an apron. There are local and generic variations, as well as simple and expensive designs.

Schuhplattler: Dancing in Dirndl and Lederhosen

The Schuhplattler is a traditional Bavarian folk dance performed by dancers dressed in Lederhosen and Dirndl.

To create a signature sound, the male performers stomp their feet and slap the soles of their shoes, as well as their thighs and knees. The women spin around, their colorful dresses and graceful movements providing a counterbalance.


Women’s headwear can be simple or ornate. The Bollenhut, which originated in the Black Forest, is one of the more eye-catching hats. It has a broad brim and pompoms on top. For single women, the pompoms are red, while for married women, they are black.

The Goldhaube is an elegant hat made from golden fabric and embellished with embroidery, sequins, or other decorations. The Tyrolean hat is the quintessential tracht hat for men, and it can be adorned with a band, a feather, an edelweiss sprig, or even a Gamsbart, which is a tuft of animal hair.


Hesse has some of Germany’s oldest Trachten, though they are rarely worn nowadays. Women wore traditional black clothing with colorful accents. A 1772 dress code mandated that all clothing be made from regional materials, but traditional clothing gradually changed as the French settled in the region.

Lower Saxony

Many regions in the state of Lower Saxony have developed their own traditional clothing. Trachten is highly individual and unique, but contrasts of black and white, floral patterns, and natural colors are common and play an important role.

Women’s wedding gowns are particularly ornate, with traditional headwear adorned with numerous small flowers.


Traditional German clothing in that region dates back to the 18th century when it combined traditional and popular elements of the time.

Peasants began to adopt fashionable forms and were influenced by French culture. Women wore bodices, scarves, and petticoats that were wide and puffy. A button vest, justacorps, and knee-breeches were among the male outfits. The tricorn hat is particularly noteworthy.

Carnival costumes

Carnival is celebrated in many different ways throughout Germany, as well as in Switzerland and Austria.

While the attire worn for the occasion is frequently regional and steeped in local customs and beliefs, these are actual costumes rather than traditional clothing based on work wear or affiliation with historic groups.

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Concluding thoughts  

Knowing about German clothing and German traditions such as how to celebrate Merry Christmas in German can help you get along with German culture and its people. Never miss an opportunity to get yourself immersed in this amazing culture.

You can also learn some basic German conversations such as how to order beer in German. It will make your trip to Germany memorable and interesting. Don’t get confused and get enrolled with italki and become a fluent German speaker.

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