Munich - Clothing
Although you will still see Bavarians donning their traditional Dirndl and Lederhosen on Sundays and for Oktoberfest, German clothing is pretty much homogeneous as in other Western countries.
Munich goes through extremes in climate, from daily maximums of over 30 degrees in Summer to minimums consistently below freezing in Winter. It is important to dress appropriately for both seasons.
In Winter you will need sturdy boots with soles that grip, a hat (or headband that covers the ears), gloves and a thick coat that covers the trunk, even better if it extends past the bottom. Male fashion leans towards shorter jackets rather than coats, whilst there is a lot more variation in the length of women's over-garments. Many Germans wear leather pants in winter.
In Summer, the theory of 'less is more' reigns. Singlet tops and shorts or short skirts are suitable casual wear. Bras with clear elastic straps are becoming more common to avoid the embarrassment of unsightly underwear protruding out from singlet tops and sundresses. It is not uncommon to see people wearing bathers in the city on their way to or from a (nude) sunbathe in the English Garden or on the shores of the Isar. Sunbathing in underwear is also common.
Selections of the clothing listed above, for all ages and genders, can be found in the department stores Hertie, Kaufhof and Karstadt. There is only one Hertie at Bahnhofsplatz, but there are several branches of Karstadt and Kaufhof throughout Munich.
Many labels have made their way to Munich including GAP, Esprit, and exclusive fashion houses such as Armani and Dolce and Gabana.
Other than D&G, stores with two letters signal discount clothing: C&A, K&L and H&M. Branches of these can be found in Kaufingerstr and in shopping centres.
Hirmer at Kaufingerstr 22 has a good selection of men's clothes. Women's clothing can be found in every second shop along Kaufingerstr. Oviessa, Zero and Mango are chains.
For more expensive clothing, including traditional Bavarian clothing, go to 'Ludwig Beck am Rathaus Eck' which is across the road from the Neues Rathaus on Marienplatz.
If you find yourself suddenly needing bridal or formal wear, there is a glut of shops along the east side of Sonnenstr, heading south from Karlsplatz.
If you need specific maternity clothes, look for 'Umstandsmode' (pregnancy fashion). Since winter coats are very expensive, try to plan your pregnancy to avoid having a large tummy during the winter months.
One store recommended for clothes worn during pregnancy is:
Tel: + 49 (0) 8959 4734
Second Hand Stores and Outlets
These vary from formerly expensive clothes at high prices, to dated fashions at very low prices. You can get quite a bargain for a wedding dress designed in the 80s! If you are considering buying a Dirndl (traditional Bavarian dress) these are much cheaper from the second hand shops around Tal.
this is the expensive option.
Cheaper options include the Pat's chain:
Visit the shop on the corner of Augustenstr and Briennerstr for the ugliest bridal gowns the 80's had to offer!
There are also outlets at Sonnenstr 2 and Bayerstr 6.
A little further east on Sonnenstr, on the corner of Schwanthalerstr you will find 'Pam's Direkt from Hersteller' (Hersteller means manufacturer) and Natrik Outlet. Next to Natrik there is a Levis outlet.
The majority of outfits for babies are jumpsuits or overalls that button at the shoulders. There are press studs around the crotch for easy access for nappy changing. There are also styles with press studs down the front or the back, but these are less usual. The jumpsuits come with or without attached booties.
For winter there are mittens and beanies with ear flaps.
Children do not wear school uniforms. The traditional Lederhosen are very sturdy and good for both boys and girls to wear when they're playing outdoors, although these days it is more common for children to wear jeans, tracksuit pants (jogging Anzug) or cords.
The current fashion is for girls to wear T-shirts (long-sleeved T-shirts in colder weather) with a striped or floral motif. Boys wear checked flannelette shirts in earthy colours (again practical!). Although clothes are available with cartoon characters on them, these are mainly on pyjamas.
Women can wear either skirts or trousers, although many consider trousers more appropriate for work. Decorative silk scarves are very fashionable, especially among social workers. Shoes can be high-heeled or flat, depending on the fashion of the season. Make-up is not essential, but some occupations require it. Currently items made from earthy colours such as brown, green and camel dominate the clothing market.
There is an excellent selection of available colours, fabrics and cuts. Since the sizing system varies so much throughout Europe, definitely try on everything before you buy it. G-strings are becoming more popular. Like everywhere, bras that are on sale are normally sized for women who don't need to wear them.
Depending on their specific occupation, men tend to dress quite formally for work. Bank workers always wear suits and ties, and in many cases a matching waistcoat. Comically, yellow corduroy suits are also considered formal attire, which can sometimes make it difficult to keep a straight face when meeting a business client. Like all countries, engineers do not dress up for work.
Other examples of bad fashion in the summertime include sandals worn with socks, short, tight, denim shorts and T-shirts that don't always stretch far enough to cover the fulsome 'Bavarian belly'.
It is very fashionable for teenagers to have tattoos, and to a lesser extent body piercings. The current trend is for girls to wear tight clothing, while boy's clothing is quite baggy. Showing the top of the underwear, be it boxer shorts or a G-string, is an essential fashion accessory.
Jeans are still fashionable, but they cannot be plain. Girls have embroidrey and boys have multiple panels and pockets. The 'old look denim is in.
Costumes and traditional outfits
Like most things in Germany, the times of year you can wear costumes is strictly regimented. There are two dress-up festivals, the first being Halloween, and the second traditional German festival is Fasching (Carnival). Halloween takes place on the 31st of October, and Fasching takes place from the 11th of November until the day before Lent begins. The climax of the festival is of course the final weekend and Faschings Dienstag. Lots of costume balls are held during Fasching, and on the final day there is usually a big street party and parade. Even those spectating dress up. People also dress up for Oktoberfest, but they must wear traditional Bavarian clothing rather than random costumes.
Because of the rarity of costume wearing, there are few exclusive costume shops in Munich. In the lead-up to Halloween and particularly Fasching, many clothing department stores transform part of their shop into a large costume area.
Tel: + 49 (0) 89 23 6960
Te: + 49 (0 ) 89 55 120
For ghoulish costumes that are available year-round, go to:
Halloween Gore Store
cnr Müllerstr and Pestalozzistr
Ethnic and Local Clothing
Traditional Bavarian clothing consists of embroidered brushed leather pants for men and children, held up by leather braces. These 'Lederhosen' can be either black or various shades of brown through to a dirty yellow, and can be either above the knee or full-length. Most are either just above or just below the knee so that the thick, white, woollen socks can be seen. Some socks have a small part for the foot only, and a mini leg-warmer to be worn around the calf. A shirt can either be white or checked. Heavy cable-knit jumpers and cardigans of green, grey or off-white complete the outfit. Lederhosen are particularly hardy and are worn by children when playing outdoors and by adults when hiking or going to the beer garden.
Women wear "Dirndl" on occasions requiring traditional dress. The Dirndl is basically a long pinafore worn over a frilly white blouse with puffy sleeves. An apron (that may or may not match the material of the Dirndl) is worn over the skirt and tied with a bow at the waist on one side. There is plenty of variation in the colour and pattern of the material from stripes to checks to basic florals with a singularly dominating colour.
For tailor-made Lederhosen and Dirndl, try Wallach on the corner of Hofgraben and Residenzstr. Department stores such as Luwig Beck and Hertie have a large selection of off-the-rack clothes. For good-quality, second-hand merchandise, try one of the discount stores around Tal. The Pat's Secondhand chain also deals in traditional clothing.
A word of warning: at Oktoberfest time these clothes become very popular and therefore even more expensive than usual!
Below is a list of places where to buy national costumes 'Trachten'.
Tel: + 49 (0) 89 26 5454
cnr Taunussstr and Frankfurter Ring