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Couple with traditional costumes in the Mirabellgarden in Salzburg | © Tourismus Salzburg / Bryan Reinhart

Salzburg: City of Folk Costumes

Salzburg is the world capital of folk costumes: Something you notice immediately, in the form of a colorful variety of dirndl dresses and lederhosen sported by passers-by on every street. The city is also home to a number of folkwear tailors and shops. The selection ranges from traditional businesses, to young designers who give folkwear culture a modern twist.

The Folkwear Dress Code

A stylish dirndl is a clear indication of good taste whenever attending an event during the Salzburg Festival: a tradition, which hasn’t changed since the 1920s. With an array of international artists and guests who love to deck themselves out in a dirndl or lederhosen, folkwear quickly became an appropriate fashion statement even in high society. That said, folk costumes aren’t only worn for special occasions: They are also quite appropriate for Shopping as well as a visit to a coffeehouse.

Shopping for folkwear in downtown Salzburg

There is a greater concentration of folkwear manufacturers and retailers in the Salzburg historical district than perhaps anywhere else. Many of these are among Salzburg’s most traditional businesses, including Jahn-Markl and the Heimatwerk on Residenzplatz Square, Madl on the Grünmarkt in the Getreidegasse, and Trachtenmoden Lanz on Schwarzstraße. The list of celebrities who have proudly sported Lanz fashions is a long one, and can be read on the firm’s website: including Marlene Dietrich, Queen Elizabeth II and Caroline of Monaco.

Folk meets Streetwear

If you don’t want to be clad in folkwear from head to toe, you might wish to simply add some extra pizzazz to your regular outfit with a “folksy” element or two: with attractive accessories, for example, such as a knit jacket, hat, scarf or a pair of suede pumps. Folk-style jewelry and purses also give any jeans wearer an extra hint of Salzburg style. The rule of thumb: If you like it, wear it! Even the likes of Vivienne Westwood recognized the versatility of folk fashions: "If every woman would wear a dirndl, ‘ugly’ would cease to exist".

Events focused on folk costumes and traditions

Whether riding a carousel at the fair, attending Gössl Dirndlflugtag, the "Ruperti-Singstund" at the Open-Air Museum or the raising of the maypole at Brauwelt – folk costumes and local traditions are a vibrant part of life in Salzburg City.

The History of Folk Costumes in Salzburg

The dirndl dress, the lederhose and the joppe jacket were one the traditional clothing of country folk in Salzburg: In daily life, a very modest work dirndl was worn made of cotton. On special holidays or to go to church, it was time to pull the “Sunday” dirndl out of the wardrobe, made of brocade, silk or satin. With the advent of tourism during the 19th century, summer holidaymakers discovered the charm of folk fashions for themselves. Even Emperor Franz Josef was a big fan of the “folk look”: And it was exclusively for him that Salzburg folkwear manufacturer Jahn-Markl created the color known as “Old Black”.

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