When I was planning out what to wear to Oktoberfest, I had no idea what to pack. Do I need to buy a dirndl? I wondered. Does everyone dress up?

Despite my initial concerns, I was very pleased with what I packed for Oktoberfest. If I do say so myself, I looked festival-appropriate, cute, and comfortable. Plus, I got to wear the world’s most flattering dress.

Here are my tips for what to wear to Oktoberfest. I’ve also included a full packing guide on everything you’ll need.


What to wear to Oktoberfest

Almost everyone at Oktoberfest wears traditional Bavarian attire; the men wear lederhosen, and the ladies wear dirndls.

What to wear to Oktoberfest - a female traveler's packing guide

A Dirndl (pronounced dern-DULL) typically comes in three pieces: a white blouse, a skirt, and an apron. When you purchase a dirndl, all three components are sold together.

The way you tie your apron at Oktoberfest signifies your marital status. If you tie it on the left side, it means you’re single. If you tie it on the right side, it means you’re taken. The front? A virgin. (Apparently this is an urban legend, but everyone at Oktoberfest cites it anyhow.)

In any case, dirndls are fun to wear and extremely flattering – especially if you sport one of these underneath.


Where can you buy a dirndl?

There are lots of places to buy a dirndl – it just depends on how much you’re willing to spend. You can even rent a dirndl – see here.

Because I was on a budget, I decided to buy a cheaper dirndl on Amazon for about $50, similar to this one. While it wasn’t the most authentic dirndl at Oktoberfest, it looked cute and I didn’t care if I spilled beer on it.

On Amazon, dirndl prices range from about $50-100. You can find a cheaper dirndl for $40 or a higher quality one for $100.

If you have money to spend, you can buy an authentic dirndl once you get to Munich. They cost around 150 euros. You can buy one at one of these stores.

One thing to note – make sure your dirndl isn’t too short, as it’s considered disrespectful to wear a super skimpy dirndl. At the shortest, it should hit around the knee.

Tip – buy your dirndl several weeks before Oktoberfest. That way you’ll be able to have alterations made or send your it back for another size. 

Oktoberfest packing list (for women)

What to Wear to Oktoberfest: A Female Traveler's Packing Guide

Here’s everything you need to pack for Oktoberfest:

A dirndl 

Comfortable sneakers You’ll be on your feet a lot, so pack comfy shoes.

A small cross-body bag In order to enter the fairgrounds at Oktoberfest, your bag must be three liters or less. So bring a small cross-body bag to store your cash, sunglasses, and whatever else you might need.

Sunglasses Some of the beer tents have outdoor seating, so it’s wise to pack a pair of sunglasses.

1 pair of flip flops if you’re staying in a hostel, you’ll want flip flops for the shower. I swear by these ones.

A curling iron or straightener – Everyone will be taking lots of pictures, so it’s nice to look your best. I curled my hair and wore a waterfall braid, which I loved the look of.

Several pairs of socks

Dry shampoo

Hangover cure  – Very necessary at Oktoberfest.

Cash – The vendors at Oktoberfest don’t accept credit cards, so I recommend bringing around 50-80 euros per day for food and drinks.

Universal adapter with lots of ports – So you can charge all of your devices at once.

Eyemask and earplugs  If you’re staying in a hostel, it may be hard to sleep.

Cute Oktoberfest-themed accessories –  A pretzel necklace or a flower crown would both be very apt.

Can you wear normal clothes to Oktoberfest?

Technically, yes. If you so choose, you can wear jeans and a t-shirt to Oktoberfest. But 95% of festivalgoers dress in lederhosen or dirndls, so I highly recommend dressing up as well.


Is there an Oktoberfest dress code?

Nope! There is no Oktoberfest dress code. Though as I mentioned, I would steer away from a skimpy or super short dirndl.


Should you buy a dirndl?

Ever the frugal traveler, I was hoping I could forego buying a dirndl altogether. But once I got to Oktoberfest, I was so glad I had one.  So yes, you should buy a dirndl – I promise you won’t regret it.

. . . . . . . . . . .

There you have it! All my tips on what to pack for Oktoberfest.

What about you? Have you ever gone to Oktoberfest? Did you enjoy wearing a dirndl so much you wish you could wear it all the time? (Just me?)

P.S. 20 Essential Tips for Your First Oktoberfest


What to wear to Oktoberfest: the complete packing list

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Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.