Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
Faux pearl stud earrings: Claire's
1940s black tilt hat: etsy seller JoBella's Emporium
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
Vintage traditional German tracht dress: etsy seller Machine Dance Vintage
Brass, bead, and plastic charm bracelt: Handmade by me
Vintage white gloves with embroidered flowers: etsy seller 4 The Love of Vintage
Green tights: Arden
Black faux suede round toe pumps: Wal-Mart
Lip colour: Mac Russian Red
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
While it pales in comparison (one person vs millions) to the famed Oktoberfest event that takes place early each fall in Munich, Germany, these photos mark a celebration in their own right for me.
Though I am, like many North Americans, comprised of a number of different of ancestries, if you were to make a pie chart of the countries that have contributed to my DNA, the largest slice of the (Bavarian cream) pie would definitely be German.
I have German on both sides of my family tree, though it's a bit more dominant on my mother's side (where one encounters surnames like Schill and Burkhard), however ethnicity, no matter the country really wasn't something my family delved into when I was little and, save for the occasional reference, my German ancestry (or any of my other ethnic backgrounds, such as Russian and French, for that matter) weren't really discussed when I was growing up. I was "just" Canadian, and though that's completely fine, as someone who adores history and learning about different cultures, I always longed to embrace more of my European roots, too.
At the start of 2010 I began to seriously investigate my family's genealogy and in the process learned that I had even more German blood in my veins than I'd thought when I was growing up. This discovery amped up the intensity of a desire I'd been harbouring since I was knee high to a beer stein: owning a traditional dirndl dress.
I'd been actively searching online for one in my size and price range for the past couple of years, and while I saw tons along the way that made me go weak in the knees, it wasn't until this past spring that I finally found the vintage dress that I knew was meant to be mine. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. I don't know if I've ever bought an item off of etsy quite with the lightning fast speed that I did this one.
Much as I wish I was, at this point in time, I'm not - and certainly do not claim to be - an expert on traditional German and Austrian styles of clothing. Some definitions say that to be a dirndl, one needs a dress with a distinct bodice, a short or long sleeve shirt worn under the dress, and (more optionally) an apron over top. Others say a buttoned or lace bodice, swooping neckline, and full-ish skirt are what it takes. I have seen dresses with their own built in sleeves called dirndls numerous times, but an expert on the subject may say that such garments fall into the category of landhausmode (dresses based loosely off of dirndls).
Dresses (and other items of clothing such as lederhosen) that are classed as traditional German or Austrian wear, but which are not strictly dirndls, may fall under the heading of being tracht (traditional national clothing found in German speaking countries), and while I'll leave it up to those in the know to determine if the dress I'm wearing in this shots could be called a dirndl or not, it's safe to say that it can fall under the heading of tracht.
Whatever you call it, I utterly adore this dress and have been quite literally counting down the months, then weeks, then days until it was Oktoberfest (which kicked off this year in Munich on September 22nd) so that I could debut it, as it was important to me that I wear my first piece of authentic German traditional clothing during a time of the year that is so closely tied to this famous European nation.
I had a blast putting together this outfit. To compliment the deep red dress with its darling cream and green floral pattern and metal buttons, I went with a German suede handbag with a cute pheasant embroidered on it, a pair of vintage gloves with flowers (they look a bit like daisies and a bit like edelweiss blooms) made in West Germany, a beloved 1940s black tilt hat, pearls (the necklace is my usual strand, I just temporarily shortened its length with a hair elastic to give it more of a chocker style look), a dangling charm style bracelet I made, green tights, and a beloved pair of suede shoes that I've had for years.
In the soft early evening sunlight this past Sunday, Tony and I went out into the front yard to snap these shots, and the weather couldn't have been more heavenly. When we were done, we took a drive out to the neighbouring community of Kalenden and went for a walk on the beach there, the water still comfortable warm enough to dip my feet (tights removed of course!) into the water.
It was a serene, beautiful night and one that while not nearly as action packed or party filled as Oktoberfest, truly meant a lot to me because I knew that the photos captured that day would finally give me the chance to wear, and share, my German dress (the label of which says "Salsburger Trachten", if anyone was curious as to the manufacturer) with all of you.
I truly hope to visit Germany one day in person - both to see the country itself, as well as to do some family history research - perhaps even during Oktoberfest. Until then though - and certainly long after - I will sport traditional tracht clothes (be it this red dress or other wonderful dirndls I may pick up over time) and celebrate my German heritage along with all those who do the same thing this time of year in Germany and around the world.
Whether you have German ancestry in you as well, just love beer, or share my passion for dirndls, there's something for everyone to celebrate and enjoy about Oktoberfest, so let's all raise a glass and toast to the spirit of this fantastic event!