What to Wear to Oktoberfest: A Complete Packing Guide
When I was planning out what to wear to Oktoberfest, I had no idea what to pack. Do I need to buy a dirndl? I wondered. Does everyone dress up?
Despite my initial concerns, I was very pleased with what I packed for Oktoberfest. If I do say so myself, I looked festival-appropriate, cute, and comfortable. Plus, I got to wear the world’s most flattering dress.
Here are my tips for what to wear to Oktoberfest. I’ve also included a full packing guide on everything you’ll need, and how to best put together your Oktoberfest outfit.
Table of Contents
What to wear to Oktoberfest
Almost everyone at Oktoberfest wears traditional Bavarian attire; the men wear lederhosen, and the ladies wear dirndls.
A Dirndl (pronounced dern-DULL) typically comes in three pieces: a white blouse, a skirt, and an apron. When you purchase a dirndl, all three components are sold together.
The way you tie your apron at Oktoberfest signifies your marital status. If you tie it on the left side, it means you’re single. If you tie it on the right side, it means you’re taken. The front? A virgin. (Apparently this is an urban legend, but everyone at Oktoberfest cites it anyhow.)
In any case, dirndls are fun to wear and extremely flattering – especially if you sport one of these underneath.
Where can you buy a dirndl?
There are lots of places to buy a dirndl – it just depends on how much you’re willing to spend.
Because I was on a budget, I decided to buy a cheaper dirndl on Amazon for about $50, similar to this one. While it wasn’t the most authentic dirndl at Oktoberfest, it looked cute and I didn’t care if I spilled beer on it.
On Amazon, dirndl prices range from about $50-100. You can find a cheaper dirndl for $40 or a higher quality one for around $100.
If you have more money, you can buy an authentic dirndl. They aren’t cheap, but they look gorgeous and are the most authentic.
You can buy an authentic dirndl once you get to Munich. They cost around 150 euros. You can buy one at one of these stores. If you want, you can also rent a dirndl – see here.
Tip – buy your dirndl several weeks before Oktoberfest. That way you’ll be able to have alterations made or send your it back for another size.
If your dirndl doesn’t come with a blouse, you will need to buy one. Here are a few cute options: sweetheart, ruffles, lace, and off-the-shoulder.
If you want maximum cleavage at Oktoberfest, you may want to wear a bra shaper. Here’s a popular one.
What NOT to wear at Oktoberfest
Make sure your dirndl isn’t too short, as it’s considered disrespectful to wear a super skimpy dirndl. At the shortest, it should hit around the knee.
Oktoberfest shoes for ladies
The best shoes for Oktoberfest are comfortable close-toed shoes or booties. You’ll be on your feet a lot!
The best shoes to wear with a dirndl (in my opinion) are either sneakers or booties. They look super cute and will keep your feet comfortable and glass-free. Here are my recommendations:
Classic white sneakers – white sneakers look super cute with a dirndl. I wore my Stan Smiths and was very happy with them.
Waterproof ankle booties – These booties are super cute, and because they’re waterproof it’s no big deal if you splash beer on them.
Tip – I don’t recommend wearing sandals or flip flops as there may be glass or liquid on the ground. Trust me – don’t do it!
You may want to add one or two Oktoberfest-themed accessories to your outfit:
Traditional Bavarian choker – You’ll see lots of women wearing this style of necklace at Oktoberfest.
Pretzel-themed jewelry – When else can you get away with wearing a pretzel necklace or earrings?
Flower crown – You can go simple or more ornate.
Oktoberfest packing list for women
Here’s everything you need to pack for Oktoberfest:
Comfortable footwear like sneakers or booties
A small cross-body bag – In order to enter the fairgrounds at Oktoberfest, your bag must be three liters or less. So bring a small cross-body bag to store your cash, sunglasses, and whatever else you might need.
Sunglasses – Some of the beer tents have outdoor seating.
Flip flops – if you’re staying in a hostel, you’ll want flip flops for the shower.
Dual-voltage travel hairdryer – Consider bringing a dual-voltage hairdryer to Europe. If you bring your US one, it will burn out as soon as you plug it in! I recommend buying a foldable one like this one so it’s extra compact.
Dual-voltage travel curling wand – Everyone will be taking lots of pictures, so it’s nice to look your best. I curled my hair with this wand and wore a waterfall braid, which I loved the look of.
Several pairs of socks
Hangover cure – Very necessary at Oktoberfest.
Cash – The vendors at Oktoberfest don’t accept credit cards, so I recommend bringing around 50-80 euros per day for food and drinks.
Universal adapter with lots of ports – So you can charge all of your devices at once.
Eyemask and earplugs – If you’re staying in a hostel, it may be hard to sleep.
Cute Oktoberfest-themed accessories – A pretzel necklace or a flower crown would both be very apt.
What do guys wear to Oktoberfest?
When it comes to dressing for Oktoberfest, guys can have as much fun as the ladies when putting together their Oktoberfest outfit.
Most men at Oktoberfest wear lederhosen, which are knee-length leather shorts that are held up with suspenders. They are traditionally worn in Bavaria and Tyrol.
Your lederhosen may or may not come with an undershirt. You can buy a traditional checkered shirt like this one, or just wear a white button-down shirt.
Where to buy Oktoberfest outfits for men
Like the ladies, men can also buy their Oktoberfest costumes online. Amazon has a wide range of Oktoberfest clothing and footwear.
The best Men’s shoes for Oktoberfest
When choosing the best shoes to wear with lederhosen, most men go with traditional lederhosen shoes. They just complete the outfit!
Here are some cheaper and more expensive lederhosen shoes. Traditionally, men usually wear lederhosen shoes with knee-high lederhosen socks.
Can you wear normal clothes to Oktoberfest?
Technically, yes. If you so choose, you can wear jeans and a t-shirt to Oktoberfest. But 95% of festivalgoers dress in lederhosen or dirndls, so I highly recommend wearing Oktoberfest attire as well.
Is there an Oktoberfest dress code?
Nope! There is no Oktoberfest dress code. Though as I mentioned, I would steer away from a skimpy or super short dirndl.
Should you buy a dirndl?
Ever the frugal traveler, I was hoping I could forego buying a dirndl altogether. But once I got to Oktoberfest, I was so glad I had one. So yes, you should buy a dirndl – I promise you won’t regret it.
Do you have to wear lederhosen?
No, but most guys do so I highly recommend dressing up.
What else is there to do in Munich (besides Oktoberfest)?
Tons! Definitely check out the Marienplatz, the city’s most beautiful public square that has a famous glockenspiel that has three shows a day (read more details in my Munich guide here). I also recommend checking out the Englisher Garten, a beautiful public park with several beer gardens.
There you have it! All my tips on how to dress for Oktoberfest, and my best Oktoberfest outfit ideas.
What about you? Have you ever gone to Oktoberfest? Did you enjoy wearing a dirndl so much you wish you could wear it all the time? (Just me?)
About Ashley Fleckenstein
Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.
2 thoughts on “What to Wear to Oktoberfest: A Complete Packing Guide”
I attended Oktoberfest the last three times, wore a dirndl on every visit. It was fun. Looking forward to going this year as well!
That’s awesome you’ve been multiple times! Have a great time this year.
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Hey! I’m Ashley. Ashley Abroad began as a chronicle of the year I spent working as an au pair in Paris. Seven years later, this site has become a resource for travelers who love culture, history, food, and the occasional outdoor adventure.
On this site you’ll find historical destinations, thoughtful itineraries, and sophisticated city guides. Read more on my About Me page.
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A full guide and packing list of what to wear to Oktoberfest – how to buy a dirndl, which shoes to wear, what size bag will be admitted into the festival, and more tips.
How to Dress for Oktoberfest
Last Updated: March 29, 2019 References Approved
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Dressing up in traditional clothing isn’t required to attend Oktoberfest, but it does add to the festive mood and almost everyone will be dressed up! Women should wear or mimic the look of a traditional dirndl dress, which is worn with a white blouse and white apron. Men typically wear lederhosen, which are knee-length pants with suspenders attached. Once you get these essential pieces in place, you can add other clothing and accessories to enhance your look.
Dressing up in traditional clothing isn't required to attend Oktoberfest, but it does add to the festive mood and almost everyone will be dressed up! Women should wear or mimic the look of a traditional dirndl dress, which is worn with a…