What they're wearing this year in Munich
If you're off to Oktoberfest you're likely to run into a Dirndl or two.
A Dirndl is a type of traditional dress worn in southern Germany and Austria, based on the historical costume of Alpine peasants. Dresses that are loosely based on the dirndl are known as Landhausmode.
The dirndl consists of a bodice, blouse, full skirt and apron. While appearing to be simple and plain, a properly-made, modern dirndl may be quite expensive. In the South German dialects (bairisch), 'dirndl' originally referred to a young woman or a girl. Nowadays, 'dirndl' may equally refer to either a young woman, or to the dress.
The winter style dirndl has heavy, warm skirts and aprons made of thick cotton, linen, velvet or wool, and long sleeves. The colors are usually rich and dark. The summer style is lighter and more frivolous, has short sleeves, and is often made of lightweight cotton, silk or satin.
Accessories may include a long apron tied round the waist, a waistcoat or a wool shawl. For colder weather there are heavy dirndl coats in the same cut as the dresses, with a high neck and front buttons, thick mittens and wool hats.
The placement of the knot on the apron is sometimes an indicator of the woman's marital status. When this is so, a knot tied on the woman's left side indicates she is single, a knot tied on the right means she is married, engaged or otherwise "taken", and a knot tied in back means the woman is widowed.