Our 6 Lederhosen Tips Traditional Austrian Garments – Wearing a traditional folk costume is an important part of daily life-defining an own identity in the mountains of the Alps. In the German-speaking South Austrian state Carinthia alone more than 80 different kinds of traditional garments are officially registered, one more beautiful than the other, for women and men, of course. Unsurprisingly, we as gay couple travel bloggers traveling to Austria wanted to know more about the tradition of wearing real Austrian Lederhosen as they are traditional national clothing coming originally from the farmers. And of course, we still needed the perfect outfits for our Almdudler Almrausch Party during the Pink Lake Festival in Pörtschach am Wörthersee.
Therefore, we got in contact with the “Heimatwerk Kärnten” under the direction of Reg.R. Dir. Ewald Opetnik. With its long-standing tradition in preserving the historical heritage of the folk costumes of the Carinthian mountains and valleys at the so-called “Trachtenarchiv” (archive for folk costumes), the Heimatwerk Kärnten is a family-owned outfitter for most of the local costume groups as well as for locals, visitors, and tourists, who like to wear real leather pants and/or traditional dresses from the Alps. After arriving at the store in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, we recognized for the first time, that there is much to learn about how to buy the right Lederhosen, which is meant to last a lifetime. Enjoy our photos, video, and tips on how to buy and wear your Lederhosen in the Austrian Alps during Pink Lake Festival and experience a day in a traditional garments shop in Carinthia through a couple of men‘s eyes.
“Lederhosen”: How to buy & wear South Austrian Garments
The store of the Heimatwerk Kärnten is located right in the center of the Carinthian city Klagenfurt just at the east shore of the lake Wörthersee. Customers arriving with their own or a rental car can park behind the building on a private parking space. We entered the shop coming from the front side “Herrengasse” marked with a huge red flag. The vaulted entrance was already spectacular and guided our way to the main part of the building beautifully decorated with wooden boards with sayings, mannequins wearing beautiful dresses and blouses as well as the roof made of glass. The men dressing room was upstairs. There we met Reg. R. Dir. Opetnik, the owner of the Heimatwerk Kärnten who introduced us to the world of traditional garments, costumes, and dresses of Carinthia, Austria, and the Alps.
6 Tips for your Lederhosen (especially in Summertime)
The role of tradition in clothing was one of the most interesting parts of our conversation while trying on different models of Lederhosen. It was such fun to see how short legs are definitely not made for Knickerbockers (pants leg over the knee) while slim calves should be supported by wool knee socks. The fact that the Heimatwerk Kärnten also tries to reach out to the younger generation with “renewed” traditional garments was very charming as we thought folk costumes aka Tracht and Lederhosen are only for very conservative local costume groups and their very strict rules of how and when to wear them. But if you are not a member of a group for the cultivation of customs and traditions, it is all about new trends, your own style, and your own taste. After quite some time we found our favorites, brown knickerbocker lederhosen for Daan and a short dark one for Karl. Ready to rock the Pink Lake Festival 2017, Reg. R. Dir. Opetnik had some special tips for us, how we should wear our lederhosen especially in the hot summertime in the Southern Alps. Check them out!
Tip 1: Pull your socks down and show some leg!
Socks are a necessary accessory, but they can be hot, especially in summer. So don’t hesitate and pull them all the way down. Men in socks are even more handsome when wearing traditional shoes called “Haferlshoes” or some matching leather or hiking shoes. After all, in traditional costume groups, the knee socks have to be up over the knee with the lederhosen pant legs on them.
Tip 2: Show some Hair and open up your traditional shirt!
While you have to close up your shirt in the office you can go more relaxed with your traditional shirts. Open up the highest buttons and show some hair. And roll up the sleeves of your shirt ideal wise over the elbows. You can also wear a more modern shirt or a polo shirt with traditional floral patterns as we did together with the owner of the Heimatwerk Kärnten (see photo below). The people in Austria call it simply “fesch”!
Tip 3: Unlace your Knickerbocker Lederhosen!
If you went for a Knickerbocker Lederhosen with two laces at the end of your pant legs, leave them unlaced. Especially with a dance night ahead, you will see how nice it is to get some fresh air in your pant legs. By the way, wearing Lederhosen is like wearing a second skin. The leather will adopt the temperature of your skin and you will sometimes even forget that you are actually wearing leather pants.
Tip 4: Pull the front of your hat down!
We had no idea what is important to know about how to wear a hat, although we love wearing our caps. A hat should sit comfortably on your head when you pull down the front and pull up the back of the hat. When it comes to buying a new traditional hat, you should know your hat size. Especially if you are looking for a specific type it is advisable to call beforehand and request your size in advance.
Tip 5: Buy your Lederhosen tight and not comfortable!
Yes, a Lederhosen has to be tight, very tight. A good way of testing the right size is to sit down with the pants closed. If it is working, even with a bit pressure around your waist, it is the right size. Don’t forget that the leather will widen up to 2 centimeters around your waist, and up to 3 centimeters around your upper legs, always depending on the leather type, quality, and thickness of your Lederhosen of choice, of course.
Special Tip: Wear your braces upside down!
The best way to explain how to be super special cool is to watch our video above this text. In the video, Daan is showing you how to undo the buttons of your braces in the front, turn the braces over your head and back, and pull them through your legs fixing them again in the front. This tip comes from Reg. R. Dir. Opetnik himself with a wink “… this tip is only for a time after midnight…”. And now it is time to enjoy your Lederhosen and be proud to continue a part of the Austrian tradition.
When to wear your Lederhosen?
Choice made! We found our Lederhosen. But when are we able to wear them? Are there any guidelines, no goes or prohibitions when to wear traditional garments and lederhosen? Well, Lederhosen and all the other traditional garments are made to wear them all year around to every occasion you can think of. Even for a marriage, everyday work, hiking, shopping, even to a funeral, you have dressed accordingly with a Lederhosen. During our trip to the South of Austria, we wore them for a party night at Pink Lake Festival, a hiking trip into the Carinthian mountains, and during the day in Velden am Wörthersee. To be honest, we sometimes even forget, that we were in traditional costumes since our lederhosen were so comfortable. We are looking forward to traveling back into the mountains to wear them again… We found our new favorite outfits!
Interesting posts for your Gay Trip to Austria:
- Attend the LGBTQ+ Festival Pink Lake Wörthersee >
- Stay at the gay-friendly ROCKET ROOMS Hotel in Velden >
- Activities in & around Carinthis with view over the Austrian Alps >
- Get a feeling of the gay-friendly side of Carinthia in Southern Austria >
- Read all about Austrian Alps: Gay Travel Guide Austria >
- Our City Trip to Austria’s Capital: Vienna Gay City Weekend >
- Music Trip to Northern Austria: Sound of Music & Mozart in Salzburg >
Historical Background Heimatwerk Kärnten:
The Kärtner Heimatwerk was founded in 1953. It was assigned to preserve the tradition of folk costumes and garments in the South Austrian state of Carinthia. As part of the Carinthian government, most of nowadays local costume groups in the valleys of Carinthia have been founded and outfitted by the Kärtner Heimatwerk. The archive of all Carinthian traditional costumes is part of the Heimatwerk, too. In 2006 the economic part was signed over to Reg. R. Dir. Ewald Opetnik. Since summer 2016 the Heimatwerk Kärnten officially is owned by the family Opetnik. Lucky us, we had the chance to get first-hand purchase advice from Reg. R. Dir. Opetnik himself including all the tips we are sharing with you in our blog article.
Talking about Austria … The first things that come to one’s mind are endless mountain ranges of the Alpes, juicy green meadows and blossoming seasonal mountain pasture, crafted beer and delicious local dishes, the traditional garments “Lederhosen”, and the cultural heritage and the cities of Vienna, Salzburg, the region Carinthia and more.
Lederhosen Tips Traditional Austrian Garments
Lederhosen made in Austria is made for a lifetime. They are easy to clean, long-lasting, and sturdy. You definitely get what you pay for, but unfortunately, that is not an insignificant amount either. Our two outfits consisting of 2 hats, 1 Lederhosen without braces in dark leather with green embroidery, 1 Lederhosen brown with braces and 1 green check shirt for Karl costs in total 672 Euro. And this was not even an expensive pair of Lederhosen since they can go up to more than 2,000 Euro apiece. But knowing we will have them for a long time, the material and manpower are, where and when possible, made in Europe, and locals are sitting and sewing in the in-house stitching rooms of the Heimatwerk, gives us the feeling we did the right thing to finally get our personal Austrian Lederhosen during our trip to Carinthia. For more photos, stories, and real-time updates stay up to date on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. See you in Austria and around the world!
Thank you, to Tourism Carinthia and Heimatwerk Kärnten to make this article possible. Nevertheless, our writings, photos, and opinion are our own, as always.
Karl & Daan.