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A couple wearing Miesbacher Tracht: The man is wearing traditional Bavarian lederhosen.

The term Lederhosen (/ˈldərˌhzən/; German pronunciation: [ˈleːdɐˌhoːzn̩] , singular in German usage: Lederhose, German: [ˈleːdɐˌhoːzə] ; lit. "Leather Pants") is used in English to refer specifically to the traditional leather breeches worn by men in Austria, Bavaria (namely Upper Bavaria), South Tyrol and Slovenia. The term Trachten Lederhose is often used in German to avoid confusion with other types of leather pants.



Leather as a material to create pants was not invented by the Baiuvarii. The French, for example, have leather culottes, which bear a striking resemblance to the Lederhose.

French leather Culottes from 1791, on display in the Musée Lorrain

Besides the ornate stitching and characteristic antler buttons, what makes the Austro-Bavarian Lederhosen truly unique from other European leather pants is their length.

While there are Lederhosen that go past the knee, these were mostly worn for special occasions; the everyday form of Lederhosen in the Austrian and Bavarian alps were cut above the knee. Workers and hunters alike preferred the added mobility, especially in the steep slopes of the Eastern Alps. While the exact origin of this cut is uncertain, the first written account of its use was made by August Lewald during his tour of Tuxertal, Tyrol, Austria in 1835.[1]

Bavarian men wearing short lederhosen

While the popularity of lederhosen remained constant in the depths of the Eastern Alps, their everyday use steadily declined along the outer edges of the mountain range. Nowhere was this more bemoaned than in the Upper Bavarian town of Bayrischzell, where school teacher Joseph Vogl set out to preserve this alpine tradition. Thus, in 1883 he established the Association for the Preservation of the National Costume in the Leitzach Valley and in Bayrischzell.[2] This association became the model for other preservation clubs known as Trachtenvereine, which spread across the outer edges of the Eastern Alps; from Munich to Salzburg and all the way over to the Austrian capital of Vienna.[3]

In Bavaria, the efforts to preserve traditional clothing and bolster a national, Bavarian identity were greatly supported by the ruling class. King Ludwig II famously supported the creation of Trachtenvereine, and King Ludwig III wore lederhosen on trips to the Alps to show support for their preservation.[4]

While there are Trachtenvereine in Austria, famous towns deep in the Alps such as Bad Aussee still to this day do not have preservation clubs, as lederhosen have continued to be common dress. Much like in Bavaria, the ruling class would don lederhosen during visits to the Alps, in this case not to show support for their preservation, but rather to blend in with the local population.[5]


  • Decorative Seams: There are 3, 5, 7, and even 9-seam lederhosen, depending on the number of stitched designs along the side trouser seam and at the front of the bib.[6]
  • Cuff: The side seams of lederhosen are either tied or buttoned together at the cuff[7]
  • Inseam: The lederhosen are held together by either a vertical seam or a horizontal seam known as a Tellernaht[8]
  • Color: Traditionally, the lederhose would either be black or brown

See also



  1. ^ Lewald, August (1835). Chronik der Gebildeten Welt. 1835 (2). {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Grieshofer, Franz J. (1978). Die Lederhose. Kleine Kulturgeschichte des Alpenländischen Beinkleids. Verlag Fritz Molden.
  3. ^ Grieshofer, Franz J. (1978). Die Lederhose. Kleine Kulturgeschichte des Alpenländischen Beinkleids. Verlag Fritz Molden.
  4. ^ "Die bayerische Lederhose". www.markgraf-1830.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-12-20.
  5. ^ Grieshofer, Franz J. (1978). Die Lederhose. Kleine Kulturgeschichte des Alpenländischen Beinkleids. Verlag Fritz Molden.
  6. ^ "Erhabene Werte :: Leder Daxner". www.leder-daxner.at (in German). 2023-07-12. Retrieved 2023-12-20.
  7. ^ "Lederhosen Knigge". CocoVero München (in German). Retrieved 2023-12-20.
  8. ^ "Die wichtigsten Begriffe rund um die Lederhose – Trachtenbibel" (in German). 2021-02-24. Retrieved 2023-12-20.