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I’ll be honest with you, my favorite part of going to Oktoberfest was not the beer…. though I really liked that part! The most epic portion of Oktoberfest to me is the fun outfits you get to wear to Oktoberfest!
When I was in college (and heck, still now!) costume parties were always my absolute FAVE! Whenever we would have one I would go FULL OUT. Lick the stamp and send it mode. I never hesitate to go balls to the wall when it comes to dressing up, and Oktoberfest was no exception. I knew I was going to wear traditional attire, do my hair in braids and be super cute the whole way.
Packing for a weekend in Munich during this time of year provides challenges within itself – it can be warm one day and cold and rainy the next. Packing for a weekend at Oktoberfest adds another layer to prepare for. You’re going to want to have all the necessities when it comes to figuring out what to pack for Oktoberfest and what to wear to Oktoberfest!.
Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival celebrating, well, mostly beer. It is a drinking marathon and a once in a lifetime experience for most people. There are 14 beer halls, carnival rides, food, and a general festival-like atmosphere. There is a smaller festival in the spring known as Spring Fest.
This is age-old advice that I didn’t start listening to until I was well into years of traveling. PACK. LIGHT. The lighter you pack the easier your travels will be! Travel Guides say it all the time, yet rarely does anyone listen.
Keep it simple. Germany is a relatively reserved country and it will most likely be chilly most of your time there. Jeans, a few blouses, a great sweater, and a heavier raincoat will put you in a perfect spot. Planning out what you will do on each day will make your life simpler, and your bag lighter. I always like sticking to a color theme when I travel. That way I have more options to mix and match my clothes for new outfits.
If you buy a dirndl, this is going to be the outfit you wear to Oktoberfest every day! Make sure to leave room in your luggage if you plan on purchasing one in Munich and not beforehand. You can get some amazing dirndls on Amazon for cheaper than in Munich ahead of time if you don’t want to spend the time shopping and really find one you like! I had a harder time finding one that fit me properly that I liked because I have such small ribs.
As far as shoes go I recommend packing a pair of Birdies & a pair of Dr. Martens! Both of these shoes will look great with your outfit! The benefit to the Doc boots is that if it’s raining you don’t have to worry about your feet getting soaked!
Though Oktoberfest has been moved from October to September in hope of procuring better weather, it’s still rainy season in Germany. Expect cold weather and pack appropriately. Rain jackets, sweaters, umbrellas, and boots are quite common this time of year and would be a great idea to pack. Think warm!
Pro tip: Do NOT forget an umbrella…if you haven’t made any table reservations you will be standing out in line waiting. If it’s raining it’s miserable. Take it from someone who has been there.
No Oktoberfest experience is complete without partaking in the traditional outfits of dirndls for the women, and lederhosen for the men! It’s not nearly as fun to go to Oktoberfest not dressed up, and you will be one of the few in street clothes if you decide to opt-out.
There are many different styles, patterns, colors, and lengths for dirndls. Traditional dirndls fall just below the knee, have a full skirt with a fitted corset-type top, with a small white blouse underneath. For a nice sturdy, handmade dirndl that looks quality made (because it is) you will spend around €150. There are cheaper options, the lowest price you will find in Munich, or anywhere really, will be around €40.
What you don’t want to do is buy a “Halloween costume” style dirndl. You will stick out from the crowd, and not in a way you want.
You can purchase dirndls around Munich (there are tons of stores everywhere) or you can purchase one online before you go. Either way is perfectly acceptable. Here are some amazing dirndls on Amazon!
Usually, an apron is already paired with the dirndl at purchase. Other times it is not, and if this is the case you want to be sure to purchase an apron that is the same length as the dress, not shorter, or longer.
Where you tie the knot on your apron is equally as important as making sure you have an apron!
If you’re like me then you probably have some stress about what shoes to wear with your dirndl. I brought two sets, so I would have options. The first, a wedged pair of tie-up suede pilgrim shoes, and the second lace up pointed brown suede flats. I ended running with the flats because it was raining, and I’m glad I did. There is a lot of standing at Oktoberfest, and comfortable closed-toed shoes are the way to go. Honestly, the next adventure I take to Oktoberfest I am going to wear my Birdies as long as it isn’t raining! They match, are comfortable, I can wear them all day, and are absolutely adorable! Another great option for a rainy day is a pair of Dr. Marten boots, if it’s rainy this is a fantastic option to keep your feet warm and dry!
The price of lederhosen starts at a slightly higher price than the women’s’ dirndls. A cheap pair of lederhosen will cost around €100, and these are generally made of goatskin. Nicer ones are made of deerskin and will cost around €175 and upward. There are two different styles of lederhosen, shorts, and longer capri- style ones. Men will generally only buy one or two pairs in his adult life, and they will last him, without having to be washed. Paired with the lederhosen comes a checked shirt in whichever color you like, most men tend to choose blue or red. A hat with a feather works as well, and knee-high socks combined with a pair of Germanic-looking shoes complete the set.
Again, I’ll reiterate, keep it simple!
Pack the minimal amount of makeup you need. Go with dry shampoo for the weekend instead of packing travel bottles, especially if you’re camping.
Don’t forget deodorant and face wash!
Hope this guide helps, feel free to leave a comment if I left something out or if you need any more information!