A dirndl (German: [ˈdɪʁndl̩] ( listen), Austro-Bavarian: Diandl)  is the name of a traditional feminine dress worn in Austria, South Tyrol and Bavaria. It is based on the traditional clothing of Alps peasants. Dresses that are loosely based on the dirndl are known as Landhausmode ("country-inspired fashion").
- 1 Description
- 2 History
- 3 Name
- 4 Dressing etiquette
- 5 Films featuring women in dirndl costumes
- 6 Musical mentions of dirndls
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 External links
The dirndl consists of a bodice and skirt or a pinafore dress, a low-cut blouse with short puff sleeves, full skirt and apron. While appearing to be simple and plain, a properly made modern dirndl may be quite expensive as it is tailored and sometimes cut from costly hand-printed or silk fabrics.
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 revealing, has short sleeves, and is often made of lightweight cotton.
Accessories may include a long apron tied round the waist, a waistcoat or a wool shawl. In many regions, especially the Ausseerland, vibrantly colored, hand-printed silk scarfs and silk aprons are worn. As far as jewelry is concerned, women often sport necklaces, earrings and brooches made of silver, the antlers of deer or even animals' teeth. 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.
Dirndl vs. Tracht and traditional folk costumes
It is important to distinguish between dirndl and folk costume that is typical for a particular region, or even village. Folk costume has various details according to the place of origin and social status of the wearer. The modern dirndl is heavily stylized but clearly influenced by typical Bavarian costume. There is also a distinction between the typical dirndl (that is, a garment with an apron made of material with traditional patterns and embroideries ) and rural domestic clothing, crafted from gray or colored linen, sometimes with leather bodice and trim.
The dirndl originated as a more hardy form of the costume worn today: the uniform of Austrian domestic workers during the 19th century . Simple forms were also worn commonly by working women in plain colors or a simple check. The Austrian upper classes adopted the dirndl as high fashion in the 1870s, making it a highly fashionable and popular must-have item in the nation soon after.
Both skirts and pinafore dresses with vest-shaped tank tops, cooking aprons and blouses were commonplace in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The basic blouse/skirt/corset idea came from the eastern regions of the Swiss Alps, and was originally a simple rural clothing. It later became female Austrian servants' work clothes as well as Alpine peasant attire in the 18th century and exclusively servant’s work clothes in the 19th century.
It appeared in its current state of decorative format and style in eastern Switzerland in the 1890s, and spread in the early 20th century to the south of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, South Tirol, Trentino and Valcanale Friuli.
Modern European usage
During the period of National Socialism the Mittelstelle German costume of National Socialist Women of the "Reich Commissioner for costume work" was established under Gertrud Pesendorfer. In the context of Nazi ideology her designs represented "renewed costume".
The "de-catholicised" (entkatholisiert) style became popular as the Dirndl was de-collared (de-Cocratisiert) (ie: the closed collars removed so it could gain an erotic decollete collar and\or off-the-shoulders neckline), the skirt was slightly shortened and the women's arms were no longer to be covered beyond the elbow, and it was thus modernized and romanticized as well as eroticized. Gertrud Pesendorfer's declared goal was to free the costume of "overburdening by church, industrialization and fashionable cries" and "foreign influences" and to let the "rogue sub-culture" back again.
Dirndls and Landhausmode were abandoned for a while after World War II. While the wearing of the corresponding garments was scarcely popular in the 1970s, it has grown strongly since the 1990s.
In the 21st century, fashion designers have adopted the dirndl, with varying results. It has become a popular Upper Tyrol and Bavarian fashion and regular party outfit during Oktoberfest. . The Dirndlkjoler is more common here[where?] with short skirts, bodice just reaching to below the breasts, and dirndl-blouses with deep neckline and bare shoulders. There are also push-up bras that lift and collect the bust at the neckline.
The scruffy, sexed-up, open-collar, or economy versions and disjointed dresses that are loosely based on the dirndl are known as Landhausmode (literally "country house style") dresses.  The children's version is called Mädchenkleid (girl's dress).
Germany and Austria have many manufacturers of the outfits. Both the open-collar and closed-collar versions are popular in Germany and Austria. Eisbergkleider are less popular in North America than in Europe.
In Austria, and other parts of south central Europe, there are literally splashy events known as Dirndlspringen, in which people, often attractive young women, are judged by how well they dive from a diving board into a lake or a swimming pool while wearing the dirndl, thus using it as a beautiful swimdress. There are many wonderful samples of Dirndlspringen events found on YouTube.
North American usage
Germans, Austrian, Swiss and Scandinavians people migrated to North America in the 19th century. Germans made a strong contribution to the gene pool of Montana, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Missouri, Wisconsin, New York City  and Chicago. The German American ethnic group (German: Deutschamerikaner) are their decedents in north America. Beginning in 1920 and especially after World War II, many Danube Swabians migrated to the United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Austria, Australia, and Argentina.
Across the United States there are dozens of German-American cultural or heritage clubs, such as the Donauschwaben heritage clubs. In these clubs, members host events and festivals to preserve and/or celebrate their heritage with the surrounding communities. During these festivals, participants often dress in traditional outfits such as dirndls and lederhosen.
In the South German dialects (Bairisch), Dirndl originally referred to a young woman or a girl, while the word Dirndlgewand referred to the dress. Nowadays, Dirndl may equally refer to either a young woman or to the dress. Dirndl is a diminutive form of the dated word Dirn(e) for "girl"; in the 20th century, Dirne (originally a euphemism) has also developed towards meaning "prostitute". The word is Dirn in standardized German and Deern in Low Saxon.
- Landhausmode: country house style [clothes]\country house mode [clothes]\Land-house mode [clothes] (AKA: country-inspired fashion)
- Diandlfestwocha- Dirndlfest Weekend clothes
- Dirndlgewand: maid girl's dressing-robe (AKA: maid girls' party [Oktoberfest] dresse/clothing)
- Dirndlkjoler: maid girl's dressing-gown (maid girl’s dress).
- Dirndl-kleid:maid girl’s dress
- Dirndlgwand: maid girl’s wreath dress.
- Dirndlkjoler-kleid: maid girl’s dressy dress.
- Dirndlkleid: maid girl's dress.
- Eisbergkleid: Iceberg dress.
- Mädchenkleid: girl's dress
- Kinderdirndl "Dior"- Children's Dirndl "Dior".
- Kinderdirndl "kennidi"- Children's Dirndl "Kennedy".
- Lautes Partydindles- Noisy party dress
- Lautes Partykleid- Loud party dress
- Dirandal- Sword dress
- Frauen Kleid- Woman's dress
- Schüren Kleid- Siring dress
- Brettekleid- Bridal dress
- Frauenkleid- Woman's dress
- Brautkleid- Wedding dress
- Entkatholisiert: de-Catholicised (AKA: uncivilized).
- Docated: de-religioned.
- Unkatholisch: uncatholic.
- Nicht katholisch: not Catholic.
- Entcraziert: de-Catholicised (AKA: uncivilized).
- Ebergötzen-kleid: Ebergötzen [town's] dress.
- Oktoberfest dirndl Almsach- Oktoberfest dirndl Almsach [town's dress].
- Oktoberfest dirndl hammerschmid- Oktoberfest dirndl Hammerschmid [town's dress].
- Stadtkleid- Traditional state (former city state/dutchy, etc,) dress.
- Trachtenrock: Traditional skirt [of a local ethnic style].
- Dirndlrock: maid girl's dressing skirt.
- Edelweiß pink Oktoberfest Kinderdirndl und schürze Delweiß pink- Edelweiss pink Oktoberfest kid's dirndl and apricot pink apron.
- Chloriert: chlorinated [bright white] collar
- De-Kokriert: open collar.
- De-cokratized: open collar.
- Dekollarisiert- De-collared.
- Rekollarisiert- Recollising the collar (AKA: Re-collared).
- De-Cocratisiert: de-collard.
- Geöffnete Kragen- Open collar.
- Offener kragen- Open collar.
- Crocrated: Crocheted collard.
- Crocratisiert: Off-the-cocratized (AKA: off-the-uncircumcised collar\off-the-uncircumcised collar uncivilized open-collar).
- Kragen geöffnet: Collar-open\Opened-collar
- De-Cocratised: uncircumcised collar (AKA: uncivilized open-collar).
- De-cocratized: uncircumcised collar (AKA: uncivilized open-collar).
- Rekollarisearre: re-collard.
- Dirndl-Dekolleté: Dirndl neckline
- Abgerissener Dekolleté-Ausschnitt: Ruptured decollete neckline
- Abgerundeter Halsausschnitt: Rounded neckline
- Disillualisiert: Disillusioned\disenchanted [neckline]
- Disillualized: Disenchanted [neckline]
- Ballonumschläge- Balloon envelopes.
- Taschenhülse- Pocket sleeve.
- Geschwollene Ärmel- Swollen sleeves.
- Bluse mit Geschwollenen Ärmeln- Blouse with swollen sleeves.
- Puffärmeln- Puffy armed
- Brêgeärmeln- Bridle sleeves
- Rekolorearre ärmeln- Recollected arms
- Colorear ärmeln-colorful arms
- Blusen mit ausgestellten Ärmeln- Blouses with flared sleeves.
- Blusen mit 'Luftblasen Ärmeln'- Blouses with 'air bubbles sleeves'.
- Zerrissene Ärmel- Torn open sleeves
- Neue explodierte Ärmel- New exploded sleeves
- Gebrochene Puffärmel: Broken puffed sleeves
- Rupturierte geschwollene Ärmel: Ruptured swollen sleeves
- Zaum Ärmel- Bridle sleeves
Whores, prostitute and wenches
- Dirnekleid- wench dress
- Dirnerock- whore skirt
- Dirneschürze- whore apron
- Dirnedirndl- wench like maid girl’s dress
- Dirne crocrate- wench collard
- Dirne crocrated kleid- Wench collard dress
- Dirne crocrated schürze- Wench collard apron
- Dirne crocrated blusen- Wench collard blouses
- Dirneblusen- wench blouses
- Dirneärmeln- whore sleeves
- Dirne-dekolleté- whore's decollete neklines
- Geöffnete dirne-kragen- opened-up prostitute-collar
- Eine bestickte schürze mit ein wenig spitze, mehrere jakobsmuscheln, ein paar rüschen, eine vordertasche und einige schlaufen auf dem rücken- An embroidered apron with a little lace, several scallops, a few ruffles, a front pocket and some loops on the back.
- Weibliche traditionelle Schürze: Female traditional apron
- Traditionelle weibliche Schürze: Traditional female apron
- Traditionelle weibliche Schürze Der Mädchen: Girls' traditional female apron
- Die traditionelle weibliche Schürze Der Frauen: the women's traditional female apron
- Die Schürze der Mädchenmädchen: The maid girls' traditional apron
- Die 'Girly' Schürze des Mädchens: The girl's 'Girly' apron
- Traditionelle weibliche Schürze der Bauern: Peasants' traditional female apron
- Traditionelles weibliches Vorfeld der Bauern: Traditional female apron of the farmers
- Duchess traditional apron: Herzogin traditionelle Schürze
- Traditionelles weibliches Schutzblech der Herzogin: Duchess traditional female apron
- Schürze- Apron
- Spodnik Schürze- Spodnik [town] apron
- Seide Schürze- Silk apron
- Blumenkopf-flower head
- Traditioneller Blumenkranz der alten Art von unverheirateten jungen Mädchen unter verheirateten älteren Frauen- Traditional old style flower wreath of unmarried young girls among married senior women and among other unarried girls
- Blumenkopf Kranz- Flower head wreath
- Blumenkranz- Floral wreath
- Blumen Kopf Kranz- Flowers head wreath
- Seidentuch- Silk scarf
- Bielska Bluse- Bielska [town] blouse
- Korsett- Corset
- Korallenkette- Coral necklace
- Schuhe- Shoes
- Dirndlleleidkleid- Lewd Marionetten dress.
- Schürze Trägerkleider für Puppen- Aproned pinafore dresses for dolls.
- Gurte Schürze für Puppen- Aporon straps for dolls.
The dirndl is mostly worn in Austria and Bavaria. It is used as an everyday dress primarily by older women in rural areas. Other women may wear it at formal occasions (much like a Scotsman wearing a kilt) and during certain traditional events. It is hugely popular also among young women at the time of a Volksfest, such as the Oktoberfest in Munich (and similar festivals), although many women will only wear dirndl-style dresses, called Landhausmode, which may deviate in numerous ways and are often much cheaper.
In Austria and Bavaria, the dirndl may often be seen on women working in tourism-related businesses, and sometimes waitresses in traditional-style restaurants or beer gardens. It is also seen in these regions on women in the Volksmusik business.
There is an urban legend that claims the placement of the knot on the apron is an indicator of the woman's marital status. In this story, which is not based in tradition, tying the sash on the woman's left side indicates that she is single, and a knot tied on the right means that she is married, engaged or otherwise not interested in dating.
Films featuring women in dirndl costumes
- Almost Angels
- Charlie's Angels
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Heidi (1937 and 1968)
- National Lampoon's European Vacation
- The Producers
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- The Sound of Music
- The Student Prince
- The Witch
- Young Frankenstein
Musical mentions of dirndls
- The dirndl is mentioned in the song "Turn Around", composed in 1959 by Harry Belafonte, Alan Greene, and Malvina Reynolds. "Dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone?" This song was originally recorded by the Kingston Trio.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dirndl.|
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|Look up Dirndl in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Media related to Dirndl at Wikimedia Commons
- image at an Austrian website
- another image
- modern dirndl
- Photo and History of Dirndl Dress and Austrian Tracht
- Folk costume