History of German Fashion

Did you go to the German Fashion show on Monday (Aug 30)? Hosted by Beauty Box Boutique, this event was sure to get you inspired for Oktoberfest later in September at Fountain Park. But have you ever wondered about the history of the famous German fashion?  


Lederhosen never started out as an iconic costume for Oktoberfest. Peasants used this clothing. Germans had been using leather for centuries but up until the 16th century, French fashion began to influence Europe. Culottes (or knee-breeches) were designed for leisurely and aristocratic fashion as they were softer fabrics. By the 18th century, German workers adapted the culottes into their attire but instead of using a softer material, they went with their trusty leather. This is what we now know as the lederhosen, which translates to “leather breeches.”

Although the lederhosen was designed for peasants, the upper class eventually adapted the clothing for outdoor recreation like horseback riding and hunting. In the 18th century, they also used lederhosen as a fashionable ensemble to mimic the peasant style. Thus, lederhosen became a common German attire for peasants and noblemen alike.

By the 19th century, the city-dwellers lost interest in the lederhosen, making it, once again, the attire for peasants. Eventually, a new fabric was introduced to country workers: jeans. Levi Strauss, a German immigrant, invented jeans in 1873. Not only were jeans durable for manual labor, but they were also seen as hip American fashion. Eventually, this caused the lederhosen to become unpopular in Germany.


The dirndl has a very similar history as the lederhosen. They were originally used as a maid’s dress for house and farm workers. By the 18th century, the upper-class adapted this style into their fashion, much like the lederhosen. The only difference between the peasants and upper-class fabrics was the materials they used. Wools were more affordable for the peasants whereas the more lavish materials included silk and satin.

Eventually, the dirndl also started to fade out by the 19th century. It wasn’t until more recently that fashion emerged as costumes for Oktoberfest. Additionally, the tradition of apron knot-tying is a more modern practice since women did not wear these outfits to impress anyone centuries ago. If the girl’s knot is on the right, she is taken. If it’s on the left, she is single.

When you’re attending the Fountain Hills Oktoberfest later in September, remember to toast to the peasants that began this famous tradition. Prost!

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Local Events

Can I get a “Prost?!”

Are you eager to celebrate Oktoberfest before the actual days? Now you don’t have to wait! The Chamber of Commerce has put together a few events to get you in the spirit of the holiday. Take a look at the exciting days to come before you attend the real Oktoberfest later in September.

German Wine Tasting

Beer and brats are not the only things to enjoy during Oktoberfest. Wine lovers can enjoy 5 authentic German wine samplings at Grapeables. Hosts will be there to create a fun experience and guide you through your tastings.

All are invited to attend on Monday, August 23rd at 5:00 pm. The cost is $20 for 5 wines. Don’t forget to sign up! Registration is required. CLICK HERE to sign up.

German Fashion Show

Break out your dirndls and lederhosen! Get inspired for your Oktoberfest costume and watch the men and women show off their best authentic German outfits. Hosted by Beauty Box Boutique.

The show starts at 5 pm on Monday, August 30th at DC Bar & Grill.

Taste of Germany

Fountain Hills Sister Cities is here to give you “A Taste of Germany,” so be sure to bring your appetite. There will be authentic tastings of traditional German food including frothy beer, juicy brats, and warm pretzels. You will be dreaming about the food until the actual event in September. Is your mouth watering yet?

This event is Tuesday, September 14th at 5 pm located at Phil’s Filling Station.

German Polka Dance Lessons

The final pre-party event is for those who love to shake and groove. Local dance company Love 2 Dance will teach you the steps of traditional Polka dancing. Show off those moves at Oktoberfest and impress your friends and family.

This event will take place Monday, September 20th at 5pm located at Georgie’s.

Pre-Sale Tickets

Order your tickets for Oktoberfest ahead of time. Tickets are just $5 if you pre-order online; $10 at the door. If you dress up in costume, you will receive $5 in food/drink tickets.