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Dirndln and Lederhosen

 
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Dirndl and Lederhosen
 
A dirndl is a type of traditional dress worn in Bavaria, Liechtenstein, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol, 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 as it is tailored and sometimes cut from costly hand-printed or silk fabrics. In the South German dialects (bairisch), Dirndl originally referred to a young woman or a girl, and Dirndlgewand to the dress. 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. 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. 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 at the back means the woman is widowed.
The dirndl originated as a more hardy form of the costume we have today; the uniform of Austrian servants in the 19th century (Dirndlgewand means "maid's dress"). Simple forms were also worn commonly by working women in plain colours or a simple check. Originally, each village had its own style and crest. The Austrian upper classes adopted the dirndl as high fashion in the 1870s. Today, dirndls vary from simple styles to exquisitely crafted, very expensive models. 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 the Oktoberfest in Munich (and similar festivals in southern Germany, Austria, Brazil, Canada, and the United States), although many young women will only wear dirndl-style dresses (called Landhausmode), which may deviate in numerous ways and are often much cheaper. In Austria, Bavaria and southern Brazil, the dirndl may often be seen on women working in tourism-related businesses, and sometimes waitresses in traditional-style restaurants or biergartens. It is also seen in these regions on women in the Volksmusik business.

Lederhosen (German for leather breeches; singular: Lederhose) are breeches made of leather; they may be either short or knee-length. The longer ones are generally called Bundhosen. There is a widespread misconception that lederhosen are a traditional national costume (Tracht) in German-speaking countries. They should rather be considered to be workwear or leisurewear for working-class men. The word lederhosen is frequently misspelled leiderhosen (literally, "sadly-breeches"), or liederhosen ("songs-breeches"). The German pronunciation is [ˈleːdɐhoːzən]. In English both /ˈleɪdərhoʊzən/ and /ˈliːdərhoʊzən/ are used. Formerly, lederhosen were worn for hard physical work; they were more durable than a textile garment and easier to clean. Today, they are mostly worn as leisure wear. Lederhosen were once widespread among Germanic men of the Alpine and surrounding regions, including Bavaria, Austria, and the German-speaking part of Italy's province of South Tyrol (formerly part of Austria until after World War I). But they were not usually worn in southwestern Germany or Switzerland. Tyrol is an area in western Austria and northern Italy. Lederhosen are a characteristic of this region. La Couturière Parisienne, however, claims that lederhosen were originally not exclusively a Bavarian garment but were worn all over Europe, especially by riders, hunters, and other people involved in outdoor activities. The flap (drop front) may have been a unique Bavarian invention. The drop-front style became so popular in the 18th century that it was known in France as à la bavaroise, "in the Bavarian style."[1]

One attempt at modernizing lederhosen — “double zipper” lederhosen were once sold as workout wear in Europe during the 1970s.
 
The popularity of lederhosen in Bavaria dropped sharply in the 19th century. They began to be considered as uncultured peasants' clothing that was not fitting for modern city-dwellers. However, in the 1880s a resurgence set in, and several clubs were founded in Munich and other large cities devoted to preserving traditional rural clothing styles. The conception of lederhosen as a quintessentially Bavarian garment that is worn at festive occasions rather than at work, dates largely from this time. Lederhosen have remained regionally popular and are commonly associated with virility and brawn. Some men wear them when gardening, hiking, working outdoors, or attending folk festivals or beer gardens. They are rarely seen elsewhere and have acquired some camp connotations in the rest of Central Europe. Nevertheless, they are a symbol of regional pride in Bavaria and the other areas where they are still commonly seen. The role of lederhosen in Bavaria is thus comparable to that of the kilt in Scotland and the cowboy hat in the United States.
 
(Information and Picture of Lederhose cordially by Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia; Picture of Ladies in Dirndln cordially by Florian Schott; other pictures cordially by Eastbavarian Tourist Information.)
 
File:KurzsDiandlgwand.jpg

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