The Dirndl Dilemma

What do you do when one of your favourite articles of clothing looks kind of ridiculous?

Part of the explanation for this odd choice lies in my childhood. Just before I turned five, my Oma made me a dirndl. It was red with coloured flowers and had a white broderie anglaise shirt and matching apron. I loved it. I wore it to my fifth birthday party, my school pictures, and every other chance I got. I was very sad when I outgrew it, but quickly got over it when a frilly flower girl dress took its place. I guess that, given my favourite childhood dress, it’s not surprising one of my favourite dresses is a red, floral-print dirndl.

Here is a picture of my childhood dirndl

I made my dirndl just over a year ago. It’s not the most obvious looking dirndl ever; it doesn’t have any laces up the front and I rarely wear it with a traditional blouse or apron. I find it oddly comfortable and often wear it at home like some people wear sweatpants at home. I generally find full, knee-length skirts very comfortable in the summer, because they’re pretty much the closest you can get to wearing no pants while still remaining clothed. Still, despite its lack of laces or apron, it does look like a dirndl. When I put it on this morning, my boyfriend called me “Rotkäppchen” (Little Red Riding Hood). I’ll wear it around the house, but I feel weird wearing it out and about. I’m not in Munich during Oktoberfest, so it’s a strange clothing choice for a summer day in Berlin. Every time I wear the dirndl and have to run errands or go out somewhere, I’m faced with the same dilemma: do I change, or do I keep wearing it? I don’t really want to change, because it’s comfortable and I like it. But I do care what other people think to an extent and I don’t want to be the weirdo wearing folk dress for no reason.

I don’t have a picture of the finished dirndl, but here is a photo I took while I was working on it.

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