I Wore a Dirndl for 14 Days Straight and These 6 Things Happened

By Erika Neumayer on Email @RareDirndln

Just over 2 weeks ago I challenged myself to wear a dirndl every day for 2 weeks. As the owner and designer of Rare Dirndl, I have a lot of dirndls and I could probably do a 3 month challenge before repeating an outfit, so that was not going to be the issue. I just wanted to see if wearing this particular item was going to change anything and I wanted to see how a dirndl would be perceived in public. I work from my studio and home in Chicago, so I tried to go out as much as possible. My rules were I had to wear a dirndl or dirndl vest everyday for 2 weeks, except to sleep and to go to yoga class.

After the 2 weeks were over I realized that there were 6 things that happened and they are as follows:

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1

I felt more connected to my family and my heritage. Certain dirndls bring back memories, and wearing them as part of the challenge reminded me of what got me to where I am. I felt honored to have grown up in the German community and to have my family by my side.

2

I learned that I need to make my samples bigger. Haha… this one is a tad funny, but I learned something from this. When clothing is too tight (at least for me) it’s crazy uncomfortable and makes me cranky. I will be looking more closely at Rare Dirndl sizing (especially in the waist) going forward.

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3

Chicago is super culturally diverse… and no one really noticed. When I was out in public I noticed that no one seemed to notice that I was wearing anything strange. Chicago is made up of so many different types of people it’s really awesome that you can express your culture, heritage and personal style without getting ridiculed. It was refreshing.

4

I noticed tracht-like trends all over! While I was wearing my dirndl, I started to notice other dirndl/tracht-like styles walking around: full gathered skirts, off-the-shoulder blouses, and men in gingham shirts. It was everywhere, so don’t be afraid to rock your dirndl!!!

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5

Dirndls are an all-seasons outfit. Chicago, like much of the Midwest has such a wonderful (and by wonderful, I mean incredibly obnoxious) way of blending all 4 seasons into 1 week. I was able to wear my dirndl on an 80-degree day and a 40-degree day without any problems.

6

My confidence increased. Some people may say that wearing a dirndl out in public takes guts and I’ll agree. The first time I walked into the grocery store in my dirndl… I was nervous, but soon I realized that I didn’t give a schnitzel about what other people thought about my outfit. As soon as I started walking with more confidence I felt like a million bucks. My pride for my heritage set in and I felt like I could conquer the world (after I purchased my leberwurst and pickles). It is more about your attitude than what you are wearing.

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Photos © Rare Dirndl

Erika Neumayer