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Historical Evolution of Bundhosen | The New Oktoberfest Fashion

Oktoberfest is not just a regular beer party, it is the largest beer festival on the planet. And beer is not the only factor that takes Oktoberfest to the greatness that it achieves every year. The festival is a celebration of German tradition and culture, shared by people from worldwide. 

One of the major components of the Wiesn is the traditional clothing for men and women, namely, the Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses. Every year, you see more than seven million people at Oktoberfest, wearing the traditional  Lederhosen and Dirndls or the newly popular variations like Bundhosen. This is a unique part of the festival that gives it a special glow and adds to the vibrant atmosphere. 

Bundhosen, the below-knee-length version of Lederhosen, is gaining popularity among the Bavarians and international visitors alike. This fashion update brings the need to get into details of the Bavarian Trachten trouser called Bundhosen.

The Origin of Bundhosen | Has it Been Around Since the Beginning?

Lederhosen, or leather breeches, have a rich history dating back to the 18th century when the dress was worn by farmers and peasants in the Alpine region. Original goat hide or cowhide was used to make leather pants for Alpine workers to withstand the harsh conditions and protect against.  

As Lederhosen men gained popularity among the upper class in the 1800s, a longer, below-knee-length version was created and named Bundhosen, but it didn’t get the same attention that Lederhosen did. They were worn on lesser occasions by a much lesser majority than Lederhosen. 

Styling of the Bundhosen | How it Came About

Their simplicity and functionality characterized the early Bundhosen. They were typically Lederhosen, just a longer length, made as such to serve colder weather and safer labor. They usually featured straight-cut legs, adjustable suspenders, and reinforced stitching to withstand outdoor work and activities such as farming, forestry, and hunting. The longer length withstood cold and prevented the legs from getting dirty or injured if a man had to bend or kneel. Original leather, a readily available and robust material, ensured longevity and durability, making the authentic Bavarian Bundhosen well-suited for demanding physical tasks.

Rise in Popularity During The 19th Century

With the emergence of the Alpine region’s outdoor culture, Bundhosen and Lederhosen gained popularity beyond their utilitarian purpose by Alpine farmers. Apart from wearing them at Oktoberfest, they became associated with leisure activities such as hiking, hunting, and folk festivals, embodying a sense of rugged masculinity and regional identity.

Also, King Ludwig II made them a must-wear dress for the people serving him in his hunting lodge because of his love for traditional clothing. People started keeping multiple pairs of Lederhosen and Bundhosen, some for work and others for festive occasions. The original leather colors and darker shades were popular wear, while blue was a rarity. Blue was considered a premium color in the Trachten trousers, worn only at parties or festivities. 

Decline and Revival of Bavarian Bundhosen

In the 1870s, Lederhosen and Bundhosen almost went to the point of extinction as jeans became the new fashion in Europe. Oktoberfest made the rescue as Lederhosen and Dirndl were declared the official Oktoberfest outfit in 1887. Bundhosen also kept the slow pace but never got the spotlight.

After World War II, there was a major decline in the popularity of the Bavarian Tracht. The reason behind its decline was modernization and the changing fashion trends taking place all over the German fashion industry. 

However, the traditional dress has made a remarkable comeback in the recent decades and has gained massive popularity. The German authentic garments Lederhosen, Bundhosen, and Dirndl have been highly brought up by the younger generation, who embrace German cultural heritage. Those who were feeling nostalgic for traditional German attire were the happiest with this retaliation. 

Modern Prominence at Oktoberfest

Today, Bundhosen enjoys a prominent place in both traditional celebrations and contemporary fashion. During events like Oktoberfest, they are proudly worn to symbolize Bavarian culture and festivity. Beyond cultural festivals, Bundhosen has also found a place in modern fashion, with designers incorporating elements of traditional Alpine attire into their collections.

Contemporary Adaptations

Modern bundhosen has undergone many changes to meet the up-to-date lifestyle. Yet, retaining its classical charm, the subtle changes in the traditional attire are to satisfy contemporary tastes. 

Modern-day designers have embraced the different cuts for leather pants, experimenting with brighter colors like red and offering a diverse range of preferences from embellished to plain bundhosen. Additionally, advancements in leather processing techniques have also improved comfort and durability, ensuring that Lederhosen remains stylish and practical to be worn throughout the day of Oktoberfest. 

With the modern touch and customization, this German attire has become adaptable for occasions beyond Oktoberfest. 

Material And Making Of Traditional Bundhosen

The Bundhosen are typically made from leather sourced from animal skin such as deerskin, cowhide, and goat. Like Lederhosen, Bundhosen, made from deer hide, is often soft and comfortable to wear. For durability, goat skin leather pants are preferred. However, the common and affordable choice for bundhosen is cow leather, which offers fine strength and durability. 


From farm fields to fashion ramp, the traditional German dress has experienced many changes. There were days when its popularity was so high that you hardly see anyone not wearing it followed by a time when it was almost extinct. The comeback was strong as many designers introduced their own version of traditional leather pants, aka Bundhosen. Today, you will see its popularity across the globe as more than 6 million planning to visit Oktoberfest are looking for the perfect fit. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the major difference between typical and modern Bundhosen? 

Today, bundhosen are made of different materials, such as blended or artificial leather. However, the typical bundhosen was made of cowhide or deer leather. 

What to choose between Lederhosen or Bundhosen? 

The major difference between the two is in their length (Knee-length & below the knee), and it depends on the wearer what coverage they are looking for.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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