Tracht: More than just Lederhose and Dirndl

Tracht (f) is the term for traditional costumes in all German-speaking countries. Interestingly, Trachten (pl) are not that old as they only became popular in the 19th century, a period when the idea of Heimat (f)homeland started to play a more important role in society.

Gesellen TrachtWhen somebody is wearing Tracht, the person can either show Zugehörigkeit (f)affiliation to a Volksgruppe (f)ethnic group or a Berufsgruppe (f)professional guild. The costume of the Zimmermann (m)carpenter can still be often seen.

If you are talking about Tracht today, most people will think of the Trachten in the South of Germany like bayerische Bavarian or österreichische Austrian Tracht. But you have to know that also in the North of Germany, especially in Friesland, you will find beautiful and very elaborate costumes.

Based on the traditional costumes a new style of fashion has been created over the years which is called Landhausmode (f)cottage or country home fashion. Landhausmode is defined by its use of special materials like Leder (n)leather, Leinen (n)linen and Loden (m)loden. Traditional Tracht as well as Landhausmode are often reich besticktopulently embroidered.

Schwarzwald TrachtThe use of special material and embroidery makes this kind of fashion pretty expensive. Back in the days Tracht was the everyday costume of Bauern (m,pl)farmers and Landbevölkerung (pl)rural population. The more verziertdecorated the Tracht, the higher the social status of the farmer.

Today Germans wear Tracht only at weekends or special occasions like weddings or holidays.

Below is a list of German regions where you can still find Trachten (North to South)

  • Friesland (mit den Nordseeinseln)
  • Spreewald, Finkenwerder Tracht
  • Baden-Württemberg, Schwarzwald
  • Bayern
  • Tirol und Südtirol

What is the traditional costume/clothing in your country or region? Send me a picture via Facebook or Twitter or leave me a comment below.