Costume (clothing)

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Festive men's costume from the Marburg area
Reconstructed costumes of the Saar - Moselle region, Society for Useful Research in Trier , 1901
Visitors to the VI. German Esperanto Congress 1911 in the Lübeck Schabbelhaus in their national costume

The term Tracht (from Old High German wire (a) , Middle Low German dracht "that which is worn" or "the way it is worn") describes all the equipment that is worn on the body for fashion reasons. This includes clothing , jewelry , hairstyle ( hairstyle ), make-up , accessories and insignia . In a narrower sense, the word is used for traditional , historical or regional fashion . The costume follows a traditional dress code .

An official costume is part of the work clothing of a distinguished group of officials .

  • Professional costume

The professional costume is part of the work clothing and expresses belonging to a specific professional group.

  • Guild costume (rift)

The guild costume is the traditional dress of craftsmen who belong to a guild .

The religious costume is the characteristic clothing of the members of religious orders.

  • Bourgeois costume

The civil dress has its origin in the cities.

The folk costume has its origins in rural areas. It shows the affiliation to a class, a denomination or a population group, e.g. B. ethnic group ( ethnic group ), occupational group . In the countryside, the costume has developed differently from region to region. It was subject to the influences from the cities, the neighboring regions, the available commodities, the influences from court fashion and the military. The first rural costumes emerged at the end of the 15th century. The highest form of the festival costume is considered the ideal of a folk costume.

Traditional costumes are the result of lengthy developments. Up until the 19th century, strict dress codes hampered the free development of rural costumes. The rulers wanted to prevent the subjects from getting into debt through ostentation. Furthermore, it should be achieved that the different stands can be recognized by the clothing.

The imperial decree of 1530 determined:

  • "That everyone, whatever their dignity or their origin, should carry themselves according to their class, honor and ability, so that in each class there may be different understandings [...]".

On the history of costume in German-speaking and European countries

The origin of the national costumes

The first evidence for the idea of ​​a folk costume can be found at the end of the 18th century. In the 1770s there was a discussion in various European territories about the introduction of a national costume. The idea, initially only discussed in smaller circles, was then taken up again in the aftermath of the French Revolution , during the German Wars of Liberation from 1813–1815. Closely related to this development was the idea of nationality .

For Friedrich Ludwig Jahn , who coined the term “Volkstum”, the folk costume played a very special role in preserving one's own folklore. According to his idea, popular clothing “and individual types of clothing according to class” were also common in Germany before the Thirty Years' War. In his opinion, ornamental addiction and fashion contributed to the downfall of the German Empire . In his work Deutsches Volksthum , published in 1810 , Jahn demanded "with genuine folk sense and a high folk spirit" to invent a folk costume that could only be worn by Germans. The direct result of this development was the invention of the old German costume , which enjoyed great popularity in nationally-minded circles. During the 19th century the idea of ​​the folk costume was further developed. Especially in peasant clothing it was believed that a folk tradition untouched by modernity could be grasped.

Return to traditional costumes as a trend in the 21st century

In the last few years in Germany and Austria traditional costumes and the associated traditional costume fashion have experienced an upswing. In particular, globalization , the economic crisis and the associated or opposite return to traditional values ​​and old cultural assets, for example, are considered to be the cause of this development by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung . The cultural journalist Alfons Kaiser commented on the way in which traditional clothing is being increasingly integrated into today's world by many people :

“Just as jeans, also originally a rural item of clothing, were used as an urban antidote to tradition, so dirndl and lederhosen show a generation later that in one's metaphysical homelessness one misses rural-moral values ​​in a tricky way. Of course, if you put traditions on your body, you romanticize the difficult and sometimes brutal life in the country. This is also typical of the time. From the yoghurt 'Landliebe' to the magazine 'Landlust', people like to indulge in the illusion of the good old days, when the slices of slugs kept the cold wind of globalization out.


The interest in traditional costumes awakened in many regions in Germany in the late 19th century when, in the course of the Heimat movement, people began to think about regional peculiarities and a romantic interpretation of rural life (which certainly never existed in this form). Were to maintain the traditional costumes, first in Upper Bavaria, Trachtenvereine founded. The State Costume Association of Lower Saxony gives a comparatively objective definition of its task in its guidelines: “Costume is the clothing of the rural population, the distribution of which is limited regionally, temporally and confessionally. It changes within the limits prescribed for it according to the occasion and level of mourning and reflects the social status. ”This definition of the national costume briefly explains its characteristics and distinguishes it in particular from bourgeois clothing and professional costumes, which are not or only slightly regional and denominational are bound.

The costume is an expression of a mostly village community and a common life in this order. The focus is not on the wearer, rather the clothing serves to present possessions and wealth. The more fabric was used in the costume, the more buttons there were on the vests, the richer the wearer was. In some regions the buttons on the vest were placed so close together that they hardly had any space; the skirts were so deeply pleated that they reached an almost unreasonable weight. The form of the costume naturally had financial limits, which made the social stratification of the population clear. It was an unwritten law that one was not allowed to cross the boundaries of the individual village social classes, even if the financial basis was given to buy an elaborate costume.

The clothing provided the knowledgeable observer with a multitude of information. It clearly indicated:

  • which region the costume comes from,
  • which village the porter comes from,
  • their social position within the village community,
  • the current economic situation,
  • civil status: apron, headgear, garters, breast scarf, bodice, sleeves (red: girls, unmarried young women; green: married young women; purple: married older women; black: women in mourning, widows)
  • the level of mourning (full, half, quarter mourning, joyful time) and the
  • the occasion (communion, Sunday church attendance, ordinary Sunday, wedding, communion, confirmation, etc.).

At this point at the latest it becomes clear that the costume is a very complex topic. The uncertainty does not decrease when you consider that the costume was not a uniform with immovable structures. Rather, it also followed certain fashion laws . So there were always “dirty” traditional costumes that you couldn't wear without getting the reputation of being financially weak.

From today's point of view, these fashion preferences often seem very unreasonable, because it was not an isolated case that in the fashionable advancement of the costume, cheap, less valuable materials were given preference, the precious old pieces were put in the closet as unsustainable or sold to people to whom Due to her social position it was right to come into possession of the preciously made cap of a rich peasant woman in this way. These fashion trends were partly influenced by industry, which for example no longer produced some fabrics or ribbons and offered a replacement for them.

In Germany, the folk costume was widespread until the 20th century and distinguished itself from bourgeois clothing. The traditional folk costume is still worn today in some regions (mostly for folk festivals and special occasions). Folk costumes in their original form, which are still worn in everyday life, have only survived in a few regions of Germany. To name just one example, this is the case in the Schaumburg district (Lower Saxony), where the last offshoots of a continuous costume tradition can be found, even if today's costume looks rather modest compared to older forms. The German Trachtenverband e.V. is dedicated to maintaining traditional costumes and customs . V. who also publishes the German Trachtenzeitung .

The ethnographic research (eg Thekla Weissengruber.) Recognizes in the German and Austrian costume next to two categories: the "renewed by historical pictures costumes" and those of "traditional fashion or costume clothing". The former means, for example, the costume of club members when moving. The second category “Trachtenmode” includes dirndls, lederhosen, etc., which are also worn by holiday visitors (e.g. at the Munich Oktoberfest ). The traditional costume fashion draws on historical models with its cuts, but colors, fabrics and patterns are varied from season to season and adapted to the respective fashion trends. This traditional costume of today often goes back to hunting and hiking clothing .


In Baden-Wuerttemberg there is the regional association of the native and traditional costume associations Baden-Wuerttemberg e. V. , which joined the German Trachtenverband in 2000. Members of the regional association include a. the Southwest German Gauverband der Heimat- und Trachtenvereine e. V. , an umbrella association of Württemberg and North Baden traditional costumes and customs associations. For traditional costumes and customs associations in the area of ​​the old state of Baden there is the "Heimat und Volksleben" e. V. (BHV) as an umbrella organization based in Freiburg im Breisgau . The BHV and its member associations - especially in the districts of the administrative district of Freiburg  - organize the district costume festivals. The BHV is also a member of the regional association. The Bodensee-Heimat- und Trachtenverband e. V. and the Trachtengau Schwarzwald e. V. , the working group of singing, dancing and playing circles in Baden-Württemberg e. V. and the Trachtenjugend Baden-Württemberg e. V. Members. In addition, two associations of expellees from the formerly German-populated areas of Eastern Central Europe are represented in the regional association, who continue to cultivate their traditional customs.

to bathe

The traditional costume areas of Baden are mainly located in the Black Forest and its peripheral areas. The Bollenhut of the Gutacher costume became a symbol of the entire Black Forest, although it was only worn in three communities. The Black Forest costume museum in Haslach im Kinzigtal shows with over 100 traditional costume figures in original size an overview of the variety of traditional costumes in the Black Forest. The Seebach Trachtenmuseum has also specialized, while many local museums in Baden show exhibits on the respective local costume. Traditional costume groups and bands maintain the customs of folk costumes, sometimes with newly created costumes and with a view to tourism.


The Baumann'sche Mühle costume museum in Pfullingen exhibits the costume collection of the Swabian Alb Association, which contains costumes from the Kingdom of Württemberg and neighboring areas.


Bavarian costume is first and foremost understood as the Upper Bavarian mountain costume , with lederhosen for boys and dirndlgwand for girls . This mountain costume became at home in regions outside the mountains through traditional costume clubs and through labor migration. In addition to these forms, which are understood worldwide as "the" German costume, there is also a large number of traditional costumes that are mostly worn regionally, for example the Dachau costume, the Priener hat or the newly created Herrschinger suspenders.

Today one can distinguish six types of mountain costumes:


Women's costumes in Fläming (winged hood costume) and in Havelland (ribbon hooded costume with wide frill collar under the shawl), before 1881

In today's state of Brandenburg there were numerous traditional costume areas, only a few of which are still worn today. Two of the latter are located in the south of the state, one in the far east along the Oder . The first two are Niederlausitz , with the Spreewald and eastern parts of Saxony , and the Fläming , to which eastern parts of Saxony-Anhalt also belong. The third area is the traditional costume area of ​​the Oderkehr, which lies with its core areas north ( Land Lebus ) and south (municipality Aurith or Ziltendorf ) of Frankfurt (Oder) .

There is also evidence of an earlier coherent area of ​​traditional costumes with matching characteristic elements of both women's and men's costumes of the Kingdom of Prussia , which stretches from Westphalia and southern Lower Saxony via Braunschweig , Potsdam and Berlin along the Oder over the Uckermark to behind Pyritz to Pomerania today Poland extended into it. The connecting element was, on the one hand, the black ribbon bonnet, the shape of which ranged from the simple black silk or woolen cloth, often tied around the head over a bonnet, to the impressive, huge bonnet of the traditional Schaumburg costume stiffened with cardboard . Another connecting element of this traditional costume area was the white, mostly separate, ruffled collar, which in Westphalia, around Braunschweig and in the Havelland was apparently mostly worn under the shawl, in southern Lower Saxony, the Mark and on the Oder, on the other hand, it was mostly worn over the shawl. In the country of Lebus , the lush ruffle collar ( called "raid collar" by Theodor Fontane ) was sewn onto a woman's shirt. In the fund of the Märkisches Museum in Berlin there is a presumed original shirt of this costume. The Berlin painter Theodor Hosemann regularly depicted the Brandenburg women's costume around Berlin with a red wool skirt, shorter white apron, black bodice and shirt with a ruffled collar. Theodor Fontane also mentions the red "frieze skirt" several times as an indispensable part of the Brandenburg women's costume.

In the area southeast of Berlin as far as the former Kurmärkisch-Wendish district around Storkow and Beeskow, there seems to have been a mixed form of the Wendish costume of the northern Spreewald around Lübben and Alt Zauche or Neu Zauche and the traditional Schleifenhaubentacht called "Old Prussian" . Mainly dark colored striped wool skirts and floral shawls with black silk bow hoods ( Buckow bei Beeskow) or plain red or green wool skirts with bow hoods or black silk headscarves, flowered shoulder shawls and separate ruffle collars ( Zeuthen ) were combined.

The connecting element of the men's costumes was the calf to ankle-length, wide-swinging, blue and red-lined coat, based on the Prussian uniform coat, which could be single-row or double-row, with a small stand-up collar or wide lapel collar, with or without cuffs. The vests were usually high-necked and closed with metal buttons in a single or double row. Pants shape and headgear, however, varied greatly. At the end of the 19th century, modern vests with a pointed neckline were also very popular with the wearers of Brandenburg, an embroidered bib, which was tied around the waist under the vest and showed embroidered black velvet in the vest neckline.




In the Marburg area, in the Hessian hinterland and in the Schwalm , black traditional costumes with colorful applications were created. They are counted among the oldest German costumes. In Hesse, a dress code was issued in 1772 which was intended to prevent “large sums of money from being carried out into the country through the use of foreign goods, while the domestic factories and manufactories fell into ever greater decline”. In this order certain restrictions were imposed on the privileged classes, but the citizens, peasants and Jews were ordered "to wear no other witnesses, cloths, stockings and hats than those made in local countries, with the exception of cattun and zitz". These regulations and the different fashion styles have left their mark on traditional costumes. Through the settlement of French religious refugees ( Huguenots ) in the Central Hessian area, who were endowed with special trade privileges, they also had an influence on the development of clothing, among other things. a. through previously unknown ingredients such as braids, fabrics and other ingredients (e.g. small colored beads, thin metal wires).

Cowherd in everyday costume with ringlets and Simmental Fleckvieh cow, Wommelshausen, Blankensteiner "Obergericht"


(in northern Lower Franconia)

The traditional costume in the Franconian region is characterized by a small variety, also due to the political conditions and denominational divisions in the Franconian Empire until the end of the Holy Roman Empire . Many Franconian costumes have their roots in the Baroque period . Components of the men's costume are mostly the Franconian hat as a three-cornered hat and / or with a cord and the knotted scarf. Usually knee breeches made of fabric or leather are worn, along with vests and long skirts. There is an even greater variety in the women's costume than in the men's costume. Wearing a bodice skirt and apron is largely the same . In summer a colorful shawl is usually used, in winter the hat, a long-sleeved jacket, is worn. There is a wide variety of hoods for headgear, but also colorful headscarves.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Rügan traditional costume
Joint dance of the participants from Mecklenburg and Western Pomerania at the costume parade during the Warnemünde Week 2019

There are six traditional costume areas in Mecklenburg:

  • Schwerin costume
  • Poeler costume
  • Warnemünde costume
  • Biestower and traditional costume from Hägerort
  • Zepeliner costume
  • Schönberger and Rehnaer Tracht (Ratzeburg traditional costume area)

Lower Saxony

Bückeburg traditional costumes, worn at a tourism exhibition in the Lower Saxony state representation in Bonn
Gold bonnets that were part of the costume of married women from Bad Iburg - Glane ( Averbecks Speicher local history museum , Osnabrück district )

Along with Hesse, Lower Saxony is the state with the largest variety of traditional costumes. In 1904 the "first Lower Saxony folk costume festival" took place in the village of Scheeßel . The main costume areas are (in alphabetical order):

Of course, these individual costume areas are further divided. For example, the individual costumes from parish to parish can still show differences here and there.

Lower Saxony wedding costumes

North Rhine

The North Rhine region is the northern part of the Rhineland and the former Prussian Rhine Province and the western part of North Rhine-Westphalia . These include the Bergisches Land , the Lower Rhine and the North Eifel as cultural landscapes . The costumes in this region could hardly develop independent characteristics. With frequent changes in political affiliation and long distances from government seats, rural clothing was influenced more by neighboring regions and cities than by the ruling nobility. A variety of clothing was worn in the cities, e. B. the appropriate bourgeois costumes and the typical clothing of the various professional groups and guilds. The epochs of Renaissance , Baroque , Empire and Biedermeier have shaped the costumes. Families made everyday clothing from simple materials as best they could. Old festive clothes were put on in everyday life. The material of worn out everyday clothes could be reused differently. The festive costume made of high quality materials was made for a wedding. These were worn to church and other celebrations. It covered almost the whole body, only the face and hands remained free. The women's square handkerchief was cut in half diagonally when they died. Half was given to the deceased in the grave, the other half was inherited. There was a major turning point in the development of rural clothing after the French Revolution around 1800. From then on, the fashion of the Empire found its way and fewer and fewer men married in costume. In the Biedermeier period, striped and checked fabrics were modern. These could z. B. Can be used for shirt, waistcoat, jacket, skirt, long trousers, gaiters, peaked cap, pointed cap and neck tie. There were other major changes after the German Revolution around 1850. In festive men's clothing, black became the dominant color for waistcoats, jackets, skirts, long trousers, shoes, neck ties and hats. The male costume has slowly disappeared for the most part. Few of them wore traditional costume until the beginning of the 20th century. The King of Prussia Wilhelm II. Influenced during his reign from 1888 to 1918 with his enthusiasm for military clothing preferences of men. Therefore z. B. for boys the sailor suits and for the numerous shooting clubs the fantasy uniforms popular. The fantasy costumes in riflemen often have no regional reference, but are often inspired by costumes from the Eastern Alps and by hunter clothing. Traditional groups wear traditional costumes in a simplified form and uniform on special occasions.

In Carnival tradition, wearing out-of-date, often inferior clothing represents the upside-down world, but since the spread of the romanticized Rhenish Carnival , the pride of local or regional history has been expressed by wearing traditional costumes or their components old times ”and thus celebrated one's own identity.

Possible components

Women's costume:

  • Undergarment , ( shirt dress ), also served as a nightgown ;
  • Blouse , white with long sleeves;
  • Shoulder bag;
  • Skirt , petticoats ;
  • Bodice, lace-up bodice , with or without tails;
  • long dress ;
  • short jacket, lap jacket ( Caraco );
  • The simplest headgear is the headscarf , square and doubled, with a single or multi-colored pattern, with or without fringes . Hood , cap , iron cap, under hood . Since the end of the 19th century, older women have been wearing a more fashionable black poodle cap in various shapes to replace a traditional hood. This came from France and was crocheted or made of chenille .
  • Ear irons ;
  • knitted stockings , garters ;
  • Leather shoes, wooden shoes , lace-up boots;
  • Shoulder cloth (both ends hang freely at the front) can be placed over the head as weather protection; Umstecktuch (both ends are tucked into the front of the apron); Breast cloth (the two ends are tucked into the front of the bodice), square and double or triangular, single-colored or multi-colored patterned, with or without fringes;
  • Apron (half apron , pre-tied apron );
  • Pectoral cross on chain or ribbon, neck brooch .
  • Support ring for head loads. A bead of fabric or a ring sewn from fabric that can be stuffed with various materials for upholstery. “ The rural women carry everything into the city in baskets on their heads, as is customary in the Rhenish provinces, not only in the country but also in the cities […]. A small round wreath, which you put on your head, serves to ensure that the basket stands firmly on your head and that you do not press it immediately, and now you keep your balance so well that you do not have to close the basket with your hand hold, but have your hands free, or sit on the side. "

Male costume:

Bergisches Land

There are detailed descriptions of traditional costumes in the Bergisches Land.

Lower Rhine

The costumes on the Lower Rhine could not develop any independent characteristics. In the country, clothing and hairstyle etc. a. the influences from the neighboring rural regions, mainly from Limburg , Brabant and Gelderland , less from Westphalia and the Bergisches Land . In the city of Cologne , the rural costumes were influenced by traffic, trade and immigration from the Bergisches Land and the Eifel .

Typical regional components

Women's costume

  • Brabant bonnet, snap cap, trek cap (white for married women, black for widows );
  • after 1850 the traditional headgear and apron, based on the urban model, could be worn with a long, dark, mostly black dress.

Male costume

Traditional costume areas

  • Aachen - South Limburg

Typical of the clothes of the Aachen market women are the simple shed made of coarse straw over the headscarf or a simple hood and cape. This was also borne by the market women ( Mooswiever = cabbage women, vegetable women) in Maastricht and the surrounding area in South Limburg . The Schute was modern and widespread in the Biedermeier period. Because the market women kept it until the beginning of the 20th century, they are considered to be typical headgear. The cloak could consist of a sewn skirt, which was often striped.

  • Aachen - Cologne

In the area around Aachen, around Cologne and in the area in between, the affluent rural population orientated itself closely in clothing to urban models after 1850.

  • County of Moers

In the area of ​​the former County of Moers , the traditional costume of women has been handed down to this day.

  • Prussian- Obergeldern (Prussian upper quarters, 1713-1815)

A Madame Esmenard gives the following description of women's clothing: “A large straw hat lined with blue silk, like a shining star in the middle of the azure vault. A band is attached to this hat, which was used to press down the brim in bad weather. Underneath, she wears a delicate lace bonnet with beggar's lace, a fine nettle cloth that covers her bosom, this cloth is partly under a cloth made of fine chintz with a brightly colored floral border. The jacket made of chintz is adorned with many colorful flowers on a night black background. Under this jacket hangs the striped woolen skirt, called own goods, of which she spun the thread herself in the winter months. All of this is complemented by an apron. ” Even after the division of the upper quarter on the Dutch and German sides, the women wore the same costume. After 1850, the highest form of headgear for women consisted of a black under bonnet, a bonnet and a valuable top made of tulle and lace . This essay was created from the ribbons of headgear from previous periods. Artificial flowers were attached to the top. In Brabant this essay is called Poffer , in Limburg Toer , on the Lower Rhine it was seen as a kind of snap cap. It was customary for the groom to give his bride a basket containing a bridal scarf, a pair of shoes, and possibly a necklace. The shawl was worn by the bride on her wedding day. After this festive day, the woman kept the cloth in a drawer in the closet. It was brought out again when the first child was born, but then as a christening cloth.

Local characteristics

Local features on the Lower Rhine were created by the different designs of the local craftsmen. This applies e.g. B. for the decoration of the hoods, the shape of the wooden shoes, the intensity of the blue tone of the men's smock and the embroidery on it.

Sources of information

A contemporary source for images from around 1850 is the satirical magazine Düsseldorfer Mondhefte . In the caricatures, the rural population is clearly distinguished from the urban population by their clothing and characterized as backward, clever and simple-minded. The following painters from the Lower Rhine have a. a. occupied with the rural population in their typical clothing: Wilhelm Schmurr , Arthur Kampf , Gerhard Dickmeis , Manes (Hermann) Peters.

The Museum of European folk costumes in Wegberg - Beeck , also called Beecker Trachtenmuseum shows mostly festive costumes from different countries in Europe .

North Eifel

South of the Aachen - Cologne line, there are also colorful varieties of headgear in addition to the white or black hats and hoods for girls and women and pointed hats for men. The following has been handed down for Eschweiler - Nothberg : “ […] the women wear a fairly long housecoat. As headwear, they wear small, velvety hoods in different colors, which are bordered with golden lace at the front. She braids her hair into several braids, which are rolled up behind the hood like a snail and held in place by a large, two-finger-wide silver pin. “As a painter in the Eifel, Wilhelm Heinrich Burger-Willing dealt in his works with the rural population in their typical clothing.


Examples of traditional costumes from the Eifel and Maifeld regions are on display in the Eifel Museum Genovevaburg (Am Markt, 56727 Mayen). The City Museum Simeonstift Trier has a considerable collection of historical textiles, above all bourgeois clothing but also rural costumes.

Rhine-Moselle region

One form of traditional costume until the end of the 19th century was a hairstyle with artfully intertwined braids, held together by an iron hat and a virtue arrow . This hairstyle was worn by girls from puberty to marriage. Handed down distribution area were predominantly Catholic , left-bank regions around Koblenz , here especially the Maifeld and the Lower Moselle .

Vorderhunsrück / Rhein-Hunsrück district

Photographs from the 1870s show girls and young women from villages in the Vorderhunsrück in uniform clothing. An apron was always worn over an ankle-length skirt on special occasions (Sunday costume). A high-necked, long-sleeved top set individual accents on the collar and sleeve ends with decorations. Colors are not passed down. This clothing of the rural population can be seen - according to family photos - until the 1910s. The distribution area has not yet been recorded.





The Heimat- und Trachtenmuseum in Westerburg (Neustraße 40, 56457 Westerburg) offers a source of information about traditional costumes in the Westerwald region . It is the only costume museum in Rhineland-Palatinate (as of August 2013). It houses numerous old textiles from Westerburg and the surrounding area as well as several original costumes from various European countries and over 150 traditional costumes in small format. In addition to Westerwald Sunday and holiday costumes, everyday Westerwald costumes are also represented.

Saarland / Lorraine

Two men in frock coats, knee breeches (Buggs / Bux) and tricorns; a man with long trousers with calf buttons and a wide-brimmed hat, costume sketch by August Migette, 1866

With the end of the 19th century and the upswing of the Saarland and Lorraine industry, rural traditional clothing died out in the Saar - Moselle region. With the spread of the sewing machine and the industrial production of clothes, clothes were no longer exclusively made to measure by local or wandering tailors, but increasingly purchased as ready-made goods . While a skilled seamstress could achieve 50 stitches per minute with a single thread, the sewing machine, invented in the 1840s, was able to perform over 300 stitches in the same time by intertwining the upper and lower threads. Mass production changed the clothing behavior of broad sections of the population decisively and resulted in an increase in demand, since textiles were now cheaper and fashions changed faster. A center of German sewing machine manufacturing was in neighboring Kaiserslautern, where the companies Pfaff (since 1862) and Kayser (since 1865) manufactured sewing machines, so that the sewing machine could quickly spread in the industrially up-and-coming state of the Saar.

In addition, formed at that time in the absence of the development of a summer - tourism and a federal funding by the Prussian or Bavarian royal house , who administered the largest parts of the Saarland today, in the Saar no significant costume preservation societies such as in Upper Bavaria from. The Trier-born artist August Migette (1802 in Trier - 1884 in Metz ) handed down the traditional clothing in the Saar-Moselle region in his watercolor studies from May 1866, which are now kept in the Metz city museum (Musées de Metz).

Buggs / Bux (from "Bockslederne"), embroidered leather trousers with a decorated bib, adjustable waistband and side knee buttons from 1791, light chamois leather , culotte shape, Musée Lorrain, Nancy ; Although this type of pants was banned in the French Revolution in the decree of the 8th Brumaire of the year II (October 29, 1793), it was worn throughout the 19th century, especially on the Lorraine Moselle and Saar.

The traditional costumes of the Saar-Mosel region, like most German costumes, originated in the 18th century and combined traditional items with fashionable elements of the time. With the task of binding sized dress code in the 18th century, the farming community oriented fashionable forms of Rococo and Biedermeier . This is on the assumption of significantly cocked hat , button vest ( waistcoat ), the Justaucorps and the breeches (culotte) with stockings as components of male clothing (Habit à la française), while women's bodice , scarves and wide, puffy petticoats in their Clothing integrated.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Rock 1844 in Trier , painting by August (in) Gustav Lasinsky, 1847, Trier City History Museum in the Simeonstift
August Migette, pilgrim from the Saar-Moselle region in the cloister garden of Trier Cathedral around 1870

The men wore linen shirts with high collars that peeked out over a black silk necktie tied several times around their necks. The front of the French Revolution usual culotte trousers of the men were gradually replaced in the 19th century by the long pantaloon pants. The singular for legwear only caught on in the Saarland-Lorraine region in the 19th century. While it was previously called Buggse / Buxe, it was now called Buggs / Bux. The reason for this change was the original two-part design of the trouser legs . The name of trousers in Saarland has an English parallel: Here the leather trousers were called "buckskins".

As early as the second half of the 18th century, men's suits of the upper class had undergone a change: the upper garment was cut tighter, the waistcoat had been shortened, its sleeves had been lost and the hem had been straightened. The long trousers of the Biedermeier clothing, which were also worn over the boots when riding, could be buttoned on the lower legs like gaiters. Low buckled shoes were worn with shorts. On ordinary Sundays, when going to church, one wore a dark blue or gray blouse, which was complemented by a long, dark-colored frock coat in the style of a Justau corps on high church holidays, weddings and funerals . As headgear, the man wore a white-ground pointed cap with a blouse , which was interwoven with blue and red yarn. The matching headgear for the frock coat was a large, broad-brimmed hat. The faces were beardless and clean-shaven.

The neck of the woman's costume was framed by a finely pleated collar. The upper body was formed by a sleeveless, tightly fitting camisole with a hip bulge. On weekdays a triangular folded square scarf was worn over the bodice, which was pinned together over the chest. The two corners of the cloth were tucked under the apron band and held by the apron band. The holiday aprons were made of silk. A silver or gold cross was often worn as a necklace. The necklace was sometimes supplemented with gold earrings. The hair was parted in the middle, combed tightly and pinned at the back of the head. The woman wore a padded and quilted hood over it. Usually it was white. Widows wore a black hood.

On holidays, a short jacket was also worn over the bodice. The waistband of the skirt rested on the hip bulge of the bodice in order to create a bell shape rich in folds and material. The festive skirts were mostly made of fine silk in subtle colors. The skirts left the feet exposed. The artfully knitted stockings in white, gray or blue basic color were embroidered in bright colors in the visible area between the shoe and the hem of the skirt. The heel of the women's heelless shoes was low. The shoe was held with a small strap above the instep.

The painter August Gustav Lasinsky provides an important overview of the clothing and hairstyle of the rural population of the region for the middle of the 19th century in his picture of a group of pilgrims on the Heilig-Rock pilgrimage to Trier in 1844.

In 1901 the folklorist Franz von Pelser-Berensberg organized at the suggestion of the then Trier district president and former Saarbrücken district administrator Eduard zur Nedden in collaboration with the Society for Useful Research in Trier (originally “Société des récherches utiles du département de la Sarre “) A folklore exhibition on traditional costumes, household effects, living and lifestyle in the Saar-Mosel region in the 19th century. Costumes and household items from around 1750 to 1850 have been collected from the population of the region. For the first time, traditional costumes of the region could be documented photographically on living models.

Bridal costume of a woman from Saargau, first half of the 19th century: a veil is placed over the usual women's hood, reconstruction probably from the beginning of the 20th century ( Saarland Cultural Heritage Foundation )
Postcard motif: Allegories of traditional costume from Lorraine and Alsace are embraced by the personification of the French Republic

The costume of the Saar and Moselle region, which was worn in the area of ​​today's Saarland as well as in Lorraine, developed with the complete or partial annexation of the French departments Moselle , Meurthe , Vosges Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin as a realm After 1871, Alsace-Lorraine became a symbol of resistance against the annexation to the German Empire, which was perceived as unlawful . In numerous anti-German propaganda representations, such as by the Alsatian artist Jean-Jacques Waltz (Hansi), as well as monuments, everyday objects, costume dolls and souvenirs, women or girls in Lorraine and Alsatian costume were depicted as personifications of the two territories of Lorraine and Alsace. The white bonnet of the Lorraine costume and the ribbon bonnet of the Alsatian costume were always demonstratively decorated with a cockade in the colors of the French tricolor . The Lorraine costume hood was shown increasingly voluminous in these depictions, so as not to be visually lost in comparison with the large Alsatian ribbon hood. In addition, the edge of the hood in these depictions was provided with lush pleats. The individual components of the women's costume were often kept in the French colors blue, white and red, in order to make the viewer clearly understand that Lorraine belonged to France.

The folk research initiated in the run-up to the Saarland referendum in 1935, for example by Nikolaus Fox, breathe the nationalistic spirit of the time and the status of research on traditional costumes in their folkish intentions. Uniformity is spoken of as the most essential characteristic of the costume, which was unrestricted at the time of an allegedly purely rural culture. Modernization, changing occupations, economic changes, machine work and the "rapid increase in traffic" would have killed the uniformity of traditional costumes on the Saar. While clothing is subject to the "fleeting, traditional fashion", the costume has followed the "unconscious course of tradition". It developed instinctively and, in its only tenacious changes, was connected to popular belief, dialect and the original culture. The folk costume is said to have sprung from the feeling of the people, while clothing is to be assigned to the mind. Fox describes French influences of the Baroque and Rococo periods in the 17th and 18th centuries as the infiltration of foreign loaned items into the people, which, however, was not able to significantly affect the originality of the costume. With reference to the costume researcher Friedrich Hottenroth , Fox speaks of a "mishmash of costumes that had nested on the Rhine and further down the Moselle". In 1927, Nikolaus Fox said: “The custom of the people to dress in a uniform, plain and simple way is part of these good old traditions, completely afflicted by the cliché of the simple but unspoilt country dweller. One should not believe that with the clear form of the old costume, its origin, the healthy taste of the people, also disappeared. Today the rural dwellers still dress in a way that bears testimony to the traditional simplicity and naturalness, today one can still say that the rural people use uniform and closely related forms in their feeling of togetherness in their housing and in their clothing. " Nikolaus Fox sees another regrettable reason for the loss of the rural costume on the Saar when he quotes the folklorist Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl : “A good part of the sad fact that (sic) the farmer has given up his old costume and way of life here and there and so that finally proletarian dissipation and disorganization have fallen, these rural drivers (peddlers, junk dealers, etc.) have on their conscience. They were the right-wing apostles of the fourth class among the peasants and, with their bad calico , with their fashionable tinsel and earlier with their spices , especially with their coffee, helped subvert society at least as much as elsewhere the intellectual proletarians with their books and Newspapers. "

However, in the first third of the 20th century, Fox did not see the specter of the rural dweller, deprived of his roots, deformed by the proletariat and transformed into a “fragmented, proletarian” modern worker by hostile industrialization, as described by Riehl. Here on the Saar, as a result of the settled existence of the workers and miners and their close, lively interweaving with rural culture and peasantry, the negative consequences of industrialization had not yet unfolded to the extent that they had in other regions. A “national renewal” could emerge from these “unspoiled basic forces of nationality”. Research into the customs of the Saarland is therefore "exploring the basic forces in the national body" and "exploring the people's soul". In denial of any international, especially French, influences on culture on the Saar, Fox says: “The German land and the German people are the unity within which the Saar landscape rests. The language, customs, customs and history of the Saarland are based on the past, on the nature and character of the German people. "

The history of traditional costumes in Saarland is currently being documented in the Saarland Museum for Fashion and Costume in Nohfelden . The museum opened in September 2005. Over 200 exhibits of clothing and traditional costumes with the accompanying underwear and accessories from the period 1845–1920 are on display. The basis of the museum is formed by the costumes collected by Hermann Keuth (1888–1974), which were exhibited in the local history museum in Saarbrücken before the Second World War , as well as the collection of Franz von Pelser-Berensberg, which includes the clothing of the Trier area, the Saargau and the high forest .

Saxony / Ore Mountains

Most of the traditional costumes in the Ore Mountains come from the mining industry . In 1936 a women's costume was introduced that was based on Barbara Uthmann's renaissance clothing - an art product that did not spread.

In Upper Lusatia , between Bautzen and Kamenz , the Sorbian costume is still worn by older Catholic women. It belongs to one of the four traditional costume areas of the Sorbs .


In Schleswig-Holstein there are several traditional costume areas such as North Friesland , Dithmarschen , the Elbmarschen , fishing or the provost's office . Even North Frisian costumes can differ greatly from island to island.



Westphalia corresponds to the former Prussian province of Westphalia and, together with Lippe, forms the eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia .


In the Münsterland , the folk costume died out towards the end of the 19th century. The women wore red wool skirts on festive days and a. black aprons. Instead of aprons, some richer women wore a gold belt. The top consisted of a white or cream-colored blouse and around the shoulders a white or cream-colored cloth embroidered with roses was worn. Green skirts were added later.

In the Münsterland, dark blue colored fabrics were often worn later; A traditional clothing that is still very well known is that of the Kiepenkerl , which, however, was transfigured folklorically in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, as early as the early 19th century, wanted posters and estate inventories show that men's clothing was subject to a variety and that the skirt was worn more frequently than the smock.


In a report by the New Tyrolean Voice in 1900, the Lower Inn Valley festival costume is described as follows:

"The wide, gold-embroidered hat with the gold tassel on the intertwined cord, the magnificent necklace with a wide clasp that encircles the more or less slender neck in numerous twists, the colored, often gold-embroidered bosom cloth made from the deeply cut, black one with The corset, sewn in strands, is neatly folded, closed with a beautiful brooch, the dark skirt and the apron, which is in harmony with the colors of the bosom, adorns both the portly landlady and her young, slim daughter. "

See also:

The Austrian costumes were also represented in the corresponding stamp series ( first costume series ; second costume series ).


In Switzerland there are not only different costumes in each canton , even within the cantons, women's costumes in particular often differ from region to region, with festive and weekday costumes practically everywhere. The most famous festive costumes include the black Bernese costume with its rich silver jewelry and the Engadine costume made of red wool. In the canton of Zurich , the Wehntaler costume with the bright blue apron and the costume of the Knonauer Amt , the Burefeufi (so called because of the apron tied in a V-shape at the back) are the most common. The best known of the men's traditional costumes are the Bernese Mutz, a black, short-sleeved embroidered velvet jacket, the Appenzell alpine costume with yellow trousers and a silver spoon in the ear, and the embroidered blue traditional blouse of central Switzerland.


Many folklore museums present traditional costumes. (See also: List of Folklore Museums )

There are also several specialty museums:

See also


  • Hans Friebertshäuser: The women's costume of the old office Blankenstein . NG Elwert Verlag, Marburg 1966.
  • Ferdinand Justi: Hessian costume book . Reprint of the edition 1899–1905, Dr. W. Hitzeroth Verlag, Marburg 1989, ISBN 3-925944-61-3 .
  • Christoph Kaiser: The costume as changeable clothing. Described based on the costumes of the Hessian hinterland, especially the costumes of the lower court of the Breidenbacher Grund. Marburg-Biedenkopf district . GRIN Verlag, Munich and Ravensburg, 2008, ISBN 978-3-640-18857-4 (book), ISBN 978-3-640-18704-1 (e-book); also appeared as: Peasant costume in change and persistence. Described based on the costume of the lower court of the Breidenbacher Grund. Diplomica Verlag, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-95850-809-5 .
  • Lioba Keller-Drescher: The order of clothes. Rural fashion in Württemberg 1750–1850 . Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde, Tübingen 2003, ISBN 978-3-932512-23-0 ( doi: 10.15496 / publication-9871 ).
  • Bruno Köhler: General costume studies in six parts . Verlag von Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig, undated [1900 f.]
  • Brunhilde Miehe: Stayed true to the costume. Studies on regional clothing behavior in Hessen. Third edition, Verlag Brunhilde Miehe, Haunetal / Wehrda 1995, ISBN 3-9801197-7-7 .
  • Marina Moritz: Costumes make the man. Rural clothing styles in the 19th and early 20th centuries (= writings of the Museum for Thuringian Folklore Erfurt , Volume 11; Folklore popular , Volume 2). Museum of Thuringian Folklore, Erfurt 1997.
  • Bernd Schreiter: Traditional costume in the Ore Mountains. Thoughts, texts, pictures. Verlag Bernd Schreiter, Arnsfeld 2014.
  • Stephan-Lutz Tobatzsch : Folk costumes in the Osnabrück region and the colorful history of folk clothing up to the present day . Krützkamp, ​​Glandorf 2001, ISBN 3-9807416-2-1 .

Web links

Commons : Tracht (German-speaking area)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Costume Studies  - Sources and Full Texts
Wiktionary: Tracht  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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  9. Dirndl fever: With all costume . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . 5th October 2013.
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  12. ^ Homepage of the association , accessed on October 6, 2014.
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  25. linked PDF document at
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  27. Karl August Becker: The national costumes in the Palatinate, p. 67
  31. Marga Knüfermann: The Grafschafter costume. County of Moers. In: Heimatkalender des Kreis Wesel 8 (1987), pp. 138-142, Ill.
    Marga Knüfermann: Die Grafschafter Tracht. Grafschaft Moers II. In: Heimatkalender des Kreis Wesel 9 (1988), p. 182 f., Ill.
  34. ^ Günter Schneider: 1794 - The French on the way to the Rhine. Helios Verlag, Aachen 2006, p. 147 f.
  39. Karin Hausen: Technical progress and women's work in the 19th century, On the social history of the sewing machine, in: History and Society, Journal for Historical Social Science 4, 1978, pp. 148-169.
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  41. Francine Roze ea: L´Élegance et la Nécessité, Costumes de Lorraine, Collections des Musées de Lorraine, Catalog réalisé à l´occasion de l´exposition "L´Élegance et la Nécessité, Costumes de Lorraine", Metz 2001, p. 63, 141.
  42. Gunter Altenkirch: Who still understands ?, in: Sonah, Edition 9, 2019, p. 82.
  43. ^ Fashion, The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, A Fashion History from the 18th to the 20th Century, Volume I: 18th and 19th Century, Cologne a. a. 2005, p. 68.
  44. see illustration by Ludwig Erdman, Düsseldorfer Mondhefte, Vol. 5, No. 29, Düsseldorf, 1852 (255)
  45. Louis Pinck: Volkskundliches, in: Lorraine and his capital, a collection of orienting essays, in connection with JB Keune and RS Bour ed. by A. Ruppel, Metz 1913, pp. 242-254, here p. 242.
  46. Francine Roze ea: L´Élegance et la Nécessité, Costumes de Lorraine, Collections des Musées de Lorraine, Catalog réalisé à l´occasion de l´exposition “L´Élegance et la Nécessité, Costumes de Lorraine”, Metz 2001.
  47. Nikolaus Fox: Saarländische Volkskunde, Volkskunde Rhenish landscapes, ed. by Adam Wrede, Bonn 1927, pp. 92-102.
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  53. ^ Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl: Natural history of the people as the basis of a German social policy, Volume 2, Die bürgerliche Gesellschaft, Stuttgart 1851, p. 373.
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  55., accessed on September 17, 2017.
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