Beer, schweinebraten, lederhosen, and a seemingly endless amount of scantily clad (busty) women sauntering about in flatteringly uplifting traditional dirndl.
You know the drill gents — it's Oktoberfest!
For you see, hidden beneath the drunken revelry is its definitively signifying role of being the unofficial kickstarter to the changing of the seasonal guard, in both an environmental and sartorial sense. And it is to that very account that it joyously accentuates and helps usher in autumns fresh crisp air, it's refined stylish pedigree, and its perpetually invigorating renewal of life and vitality — there is just something magical about it all.
Historically speaking, Oktoberfest and the beginning of autumn have (befittingly) fallen hand-in-hand with one another since the year 1810. And like all relationships in life that are given the proper time to organically blossom, they too have managed to combine into becoming the perfect bedfellows, together weaving a wonderfully colourful backdrop — in both a cultured & scenic sense — that historically owes its heritage to what was first a Royal wedding reception held in the beautiful city of Munich, Germany — which I'd be remiss not to account, also originally featured a horse race that was once the crowning (and concluding) event (being cut from the calendar in the 1960s).
All-in-all, it's an inarguably intoxicating spectacle that is further punctuated by the gorgeous autumnal backdrops that consistently inspire — despite the dreadful upcoming offerings of winter — us forward (stylishly I must add) into the doldrums of said awaiting frigid season.
But, how about the style? Is it too "costume-esque"?
Well, yes and no.
The correct answer is a matter of personal opinion, being highly contingent upon the nature of the discerning gent at hand.
On the latter (no) side, one would have to be blind to miss the traditinal sea of lederhosen, luxurious knee-high socks, and the gingham shirting (to name but three) that consistently adorn every pureblood Bavarian, visiting tourist, and event worker taking part in this 16-day festival. They are the style necessities — the lifeblood of both the celebrations and the culture — carrying with them all of the charm and atmospheric aura that have come to personify it over the years. In layman's terms: they are what make Oktoberfest uniquly special, being neither gimmicky nor tacky.
Of the former (yes) opinion, there is the modern discerning gent — the unrelenting sartorialist — who is not looking to be a part of said marching costumed troops. He, on the contrary, has his desires set upon the stylish duality of looking not only the traditinal part, but also modernly appropriate all the same; he seeks to blend-in whilst being unrelenting in his belief of not sporting EVERY single (stereotypical) piece of traditional garb in the process.
How is he to proceed?
Well, seeing as we are not all cut from the costume-donning cloth, so to speak, here’s how…
Practical (& Versatile) Modern Oktoberfest
SPORT IT WELL: Start by thinking traditionally by openly utilizing the Oktoberfest essentials that — in all likelihood — play a weekly role within your own personal style arsenal: a cotton gingham (Auensee/Tracht) dress shirt (for rustic charm + breathability), a pair of brown brogues (Haferlshoe; timeless for good reason), and some luxuriously woven A/W appropriate wool socks (knee-high is preferable).
Beyond that, I'd advise opting for a more (casually) refined pair of slim dark-rinse jeans (or even cords) in lieu of a pair of lederhosen trousers — they are far more practically applicable outside of the festivities themselves (ie. This is the only place you will ever wear the lederhosen...so no real ROI). With that said, lederhosen can be enticing, but they have no place in a modern gents wardrobe. So proceed accordingly.
To that tune, you need not invest in a completely new wardrobe, but should rather take it upon yourself to add a few touches that will truly define your classic approach, but with a modern flair.
To accomplish just that, I'd recommend completing the look with a classic Bavarian cardigan (which will thereafter be a practical/versatile piece for everyday wear) or a refined blazer (as shown) alongside a comfortable wool-felt German Mountaineering (Alpine) hat and a simple neckerchief in order to pull the look seemlessly together — which when all is set and stylishly settled, will afford you that heritage-inspired modern aesthetic that you are going for.
Seeing as this feature paid heed to more of a modern Bavarian (and autumn) style sensibility, I felt that providing a soundtrack that befits that theme would be more apt then that of including some traditional instrumental tidings. So, resting above this paragraph is one of my favourite German pop hits by I'M NOT A BAND.
I hope you enjoy it (whether or not your tongue is skilled in German or not).
Utilize the aforementioned pieces in which you already own and compliment them with a few definitively modern updated classic festival essentials like those outlined above — the stylish Alpin hat, an appropriate (and thereafter practical/versatile) cardigan sweater/blazer, and the knee-high socks.
It's about thinking traditionally, but with modern sensibilities. You are looking to sport a look that is both historically accurate and contemporarily transitive; to investing in festival appropriate clothes that can be worn beyond the events expiration date.
So, 3 pieces! That is all you (ideally) should really need to invest in to craft this modernly genteel take on the traditional Oktoberfest outfit.
Sport these pieces both at your local festivities as well as throughout the autumn season (aside from the Alpine hat) — they will keep you appropriately warm and surprisingly stylish (the green cardigan/blazer is very on trend tonally speaking this A/W) no matter the occasion.
And yet, Oktoberfest is most certainly not the only reason to stylishly fall in love with the season. Here are 5 additional things that could inspire you sartorially forward…
Do you revel in the Oktoberfest festivities? What sartorially excites you most about the autumn season? And what are your favourite autumn activities to personally partake in or watch? Post below or tweet me @monkandeero!