Bavarian Folk Costume

Miesbach woman Play a Bavarian music MIDI...

Of course, if you look closely, there is no such thing as Bavarian costume. Traditional costumes have a habit of changing from region to region, if not from village to village, and it's no different with Bavaria: In her diverse landscapes, different lifestyles evolved and thus, different clothing.

Another dimension that is often ignored is time: Even rural, traditional clothing changed by incorporating elements of high fashion. More of that on a different page...

There are many organisations, even as far away as the US, that are dedicated to the re-creation of Bavarian folk costume, but alas, a great deal of them pays no attention to historical or regional correctness. Instead, they try to re-invent Tracht as something independent of any certain era, and use it as a uniform - which it never was - even prescribing the colour and length of the skirt etc.

It is probably on account of Miesbach being the centre of a re-creation movement that started in the late19th/early 20th century that the costume of that particular region (left pic) is today the best-known and considered typical. It is one of the most elegant and attractive Munich waitress costumes, but it is also very particular to the peasants of a mountainous region during a certain era that even exhibits influence from the capital, Munich. I cannot describe all the costumes of Bavaria here, of course, and I do have my preferences: Munich. A Munich lady's costume. (right pic)

The G'wand (Bavarian for costume) of Munich is quite similar to that of Miesbach as far as the overall makeup of the skirt and bodice and the way they're worn are concerned. The major difference is that whereas the culture of Miesbach was formed by peasants, the culture of Munich, a big city even in the early 19th century, was a citizens' culture. The fabrics are generally richer, the range of colours and patterns wider, and the influence of fashion greater. The waitress on the right here shows clear influence of the fashions of the time (early 1800s). The elegant bodice with its decorative coin-hung chain was considered everyday dress in Munich, but strictly Sunday gear (Sonntagsstaat) in Miesbach: the waitress wears it to work, but the Miesbach woman carries a bible or songbook on her way to church. Instead of the black, flat and stiff wool felt hat a small bonnet embroidered with black rocailles or gold or silver thread sat at the back of the head.

Tracht pages on this site:

A Graphic Dictionary of Tracht items

Munich Tracht and its History

Detailed Description of a Bodice

Headdress: Miesbacher & Riegelhaube

Munich Costume before 1800

Tracht pictures:

While hunting for Rococo ornaments in the churches of Munich, I ran into the members of a rather unusual Trachtenverein, the Lechler. Different from most, they don't put uniformity forward and don't care for non-local Tracht, but re-create the Munich Tracht of a certain era, the Biedermeier (c. 1820-40). Here are some pictures they graciously allowed me to take.

Other places to see pictures of Bavarian costume:

Munich Waitress and citizen family (that's the complete version of the right image. Note the woman to the right: Empire fashion, but traditional Riegelhaube.)
Miesbach women (orig. of left picture)
Miesbach men
Bridesmaids from Starnberg - as all above from the "Braun & Schneider website"
note: the women costume images above have been selected for similarity with the Munich Tracht
Online Lederhosenmuseum (leather trousers museum)
Gauverband Nordamerika (North American heritage organisation, not authentic)



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