Though dirndls first originated as a native German costume worn at Oktoberfest, designers have reworked this traditional full-skirted silhouette into a modern must-have—and the season’s essential skirt shape. Dirndls enjoyed a moment in the ’50s, when voluminous skirts and cinched-in waistlines were a hallmark of the era’s fashions, and they’re now experiencing a runway resurrection in a variety of contemporary colors, textures, and patterns. A classic dirndl skirt calls for a circular cut with a gathered waistband and below-the-knee hemline, and while modern-day styles vary a bit, the look is always a cross between coy and sweet. Lest you think dirndls are only suitable for the von Trapps, we’re showing you exactly how to wear them in today’sTrend Report.
On The Runway
We were particularly fond of Marc Jacob’s F/W 12 take on the dirndl. An exaggerated floral print lends the skirt a playful vibe, while a boxy jacket, ankle socks, Flat Loafers With Swarovski Crystal Buckle ($1295, available in Silver), and one of the collection’s signature furry hats keeps the look cozy.
On the Street and At Events
WHO: Isabel Lucas, actress
WHAT: Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Y-3 in New York last month.
WEAR: Y-3 Poplin Dress ($340, available January 2013) worn as top and Bliss Shoes ($290); vintage cherry-print skirt.
WHY: A crisp top with a sporty collar undercuts the sweetness of a printed dirndl skirt.
WHO: Caroline Issa, Fashion Director, Tank and BecauseLondon.com
WHAT: Out and about in London last month.
WEAR: J.Crew shirt; Preen skirt; Maryam Schaeffer bag; vintage Helmut Lang shoes.
WHY: A sweater tucked into a belted dirndl is not only chic, but helps create a flattering, feminine shape.
WHO: Laura Bailey, model/cultural ambassador for the British Fashion Council
WHAT: Attending Mulberry’s Fashion’s Night Out event in London in September.
WEAR: Vintage Yves Saint Laurent blouse; Burberry Striped Cotton And Silk Skirt ($1495) in Birch Green andTall Field Boots ($995); Laura Bailey for Radley clutch.
WHY: Modest silhouettes, like a high-necked blouse and below-the-knee dirndl skirt, allow you to indulge in daring pattern mixing.
WHO: Olivia Palermo, Executive Editor/Creative Director, OliviaPalermo.com
WHAT: Snapped at the Antonio Berardi S/S 13 show in London in mid-September.
WEAR: Reiss sweater and Barrett Midi Leather Skirt ($425) in Olive; Burberry belt; vintage Hermes bag; Valentino shoes.
WHY: Give your dirndl skirt a sophisticated, modern update by adding a sweater, belt, and pointy-toe shoes.
WHO: Doina Ciobanu, blogger, TheGoldenDiamonds.com
WHAT: Spotted outside the Rick Owens F/W 12 show in Paris earlier this year.
WEAR: Vintage lace top; ASOS skirt; Moschino Love clutch; Yves Saint Laurent boots.
WHY: The dirndl looks cold-weather chic worn with opaque tights, booties, and just a touch of lace.
Get The Look/Solid Skirts
Now’s the perfect time to try a dirndl since its chaste hemline makes it ideal for fall or winter with tights and boots, and then transitions easily into spring with bare legs and sandals. First, pick one in a neutral hue, like ASOS’ Midi Skirt In Ponti ($53) in Midnight Blue, Rachel Zoe’s Delphine Skirt ($198), or DKNYC’s Pleated Skirt ($69). Wear any of these versatile options with a simple sweater and ankle boots for a stylish off-duty look. We also like Topshop’s Purple Shimmer Full Skirt ($84) and Kate Spade New York’s Sonny Skirt ($298) for a going-out ensemble, since both skirts have a metallic sheen that’s perfect for a dressier environment.
Get The Look/Patterned Skirts
If you’re ready to try a patterned dirndl, there’s an array of choices as well! Carolina Herrera’s Yarn Melange Skirt ($1990) exudes polished elegance and Erdem’s Silk Voile Susie Skirt ($1335) is a classic, feminine pick, but you may also want something a little more playful. In that case, we suggest the whimsical forest motif of ASOS’ Midi Skirt ($88) in Woodland Print or the colorful, geometric shapes of Collette by Collette Dinnigan’sPrinted Silk-Twill Skirt ($270)! Though bold trendsetters can try pattern mixing with a printed blouse, you can also team one of these skirts with a solid t-shirt and cropped blazer for an easy, fashionable combo.—Tiffany Tse
Photos of Laura Bailey and Olivia Palermo, courtesy of Getty Images; photo of Isabel Lucas, courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency; street style photo, courtesy of Vanessa Jackman; photo of Caroline Issa, courtesy of Stockholm Street Style; Marc Jacobs runway photo, courtesy of Marc Jacobs.