Thanksgiving Feature- Guest Blogger Erika Neumayer from Rare Dirndl

We have a special Thanksgiving Guest Blogger today

I’m so excited to be issuing a special Thanksgiving Guest Blogger post today. I have been lucky enough to snag the uber-cool Chicago-based fashion designer Erika Neumayer of Rare Dirndl to write about The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl.

Let me first say that Erika is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. She reminds me of Helen Hunt in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun; she designs bad-ass Dirndls for a living; and is a blogger extraordinaire! But in addition to all of that, she is super-tight with her family. Her own strong family ties are evident in everything she does and fit so well with the UK Yankee focus on family that I invited Erika to come by and blog over here. So on this day that we Americans set aside for gratitude and family (and food!), sit back with an extra serving of pecan pie and have a read about the intricate structure of heritage and family that the Dirndl represents.

**for the unitiated, a Dirndl is the name of a traditional feminine dress worn in Austria, South Tyrol and Bavaria. It is based on the traditional clothing of Alps peasants (Thank you Wikipedia!)

Over to you Erika!


The Deeper Meaning Behind Wearing a Dirndl

The other day I was laying in savasana at the end of my yoga class and I was thinking about my grandparents. I was thinking to myself, “I hope when they look down on me from above they are proud”. And then I started thinking about how they were always so proud to see me in my dirndl. That got me thinking… there really is so much more meaning behind wearing a dirndl than just, “it’s what I have to wear to dance,” or “this one is my favorite color and makes me feel like a million bucks”, or “it’s just what you wear to Oktoberfest”.

Wearing a dirndl means so much more than that.

A picture of a Dirndl Thanksgiving Guest Blogger

If you are wearing your club tracht, then you are representing the entire club! The people who founded the club, who gave their time and most likely money to start an organization to keep their heritage alive. You represent your other club members, your friends and family that you dance with, laugh with and sing with.

traditional german dancers Thanksgiving Guest Blogger

a young lady wearing a dirndl and dancing Thanksgiving Guest Blogger

 

If you are wearing a vintage dirndl, you’re representing the era or town that it came from. It might be an old club tracht, in which case all of the above applies. It might be your Mom’s or your Oma’s, and in wearing it, you are then honoring them, their style or their past. It might be a dirndl from a specific town that your family passed down. Then, just by wearing that garment you are proudly showing your love for your family’s heritage.

 

If you are wearing a modern dirndl, you’re representing your personal style… while simultaneously proudly symbolizing the cultural dress that came before it. A modern dirndl wasn’t born out of nowhere… it was inspired by the traditions and culture that existed for hundreds of years.

a bridal party posing for a phtogoraph Thanksgiving Guest Blogger

 

 

They may not have grown up in Bavaria, but my grandparents saw me wearing a dirndl as representative of their heritage just the same. And I think that’s how parents feel too. It’s kinda crazy to think that a garment can do all that, but I believe it does. No one has ever said, “Wow, {deep exhale} look at my daughter [granddaughter] in her jeans. Makes me so proud.”

a young woman wearing a dirndl and standing with her grandparents Thanksgiving Guest Blogger

 

Do I think everyone feels this way… no. Do the folks who got their “dirndl” aka beer wench costume on Amazon have a feeling of cultural pride, mmm… ich don’t think so. But I do hear from many customers that come back from festivals in Germany that they, “felt like they really ‘fit in’ wearing their dirndl”. They felt it too… the feeling of pride that wearing a dirndl brings.

So the next time you put your dirndl on, take a 2nd (or 4th ;-)) look in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back for proudly representing all those who came before you; whether it’s your fellow club members, your family, or the locals and their heritage.

 

Erika Neumayer

Ever wonder which dirndl style you are? Click here to take our quiz and find out now! 

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thank you Erika, our Thanksgiving Guest Blogger, for sharing your own heritage and family over here at UK Yankee. I love the idea of passing garments from generation to generation. My family have passed quilts between generations and those too have their own story to tell!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, dear readers. When we go around the table to say what we are thankful for, I will be thankful for all the support I have received from my family and friends this year in launching The Baby Files: another special record of family heritage and love.

A banner that says love makes a family.

 

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