Whether you are planning to celebrate Oktoberfest by dressing in traditional German costume or you're creating a German outfit for a Halloween party, lederhosen are fun to wear and easy to make yourself at home. These traditional garments are leather or suede shorts with suspenders and are traditionally worn by Austrian and German men. Today, lederhosen costumes are more often worn as Oktoberfest outfits, and they also make great Halloween costumes. Use items you already have in your closet or scour thrift shops to find suitable items of clothing to adapt.
Things You'll Need
Open-necked white shirt with collar
Brown shorts in leather, suede, faux suede, corduroy or canvas
Four large buttons
Brown or decorative suspenders
Long, light-colored socks
Hat with feather
1. Prepare the shirt
Choose a white shirt with a collar and an open neck. Either long sleeves or short sleeves will work. If time and skill allows, embroider patterns on the neckline of the shirt. Look online for traditional Bavarian motifs to lend authenticity to your Octoberfest costume or add lace-up ties to the open neck.
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2. DIY lederhosen shorts
Pair the top with brown shorts. Traditional lederhosen are made from brown leather or suede. Choose brown shorts in the most similar fabric you can find, such as faux suede, corduroy or canvas.
If you can't find suitable shorts, choose pants. Cut them off just above the knee and then hem them. Take the excess fabric you cut off to create a square panel to sew over the front of the pants.
Sew four large buttons onto the waistband of your shorts, placing two at each side of the fly.
German costumes work well for a couple. German frauleins can dress in a dirndl and wear their hair in braids. An Oktoberfest dress could also comprise a circle skirt with a corset. Make it into a beer maid costume with as many empty beer steins as you can carry.
3. Suspenders are essential
Suspenders are an essential accessory to wear with lederhosen as part of an Oktoberfest costume or German Halloween costume. Find a pair of brown or decorative suspenders. Embellish them with a horizontal band of brown fabric (this could be extra material from hemmed pants). Attach the band across the front at the chest level to join the suspenders.
Add optional further embellishments to the suspenders by sewing or gluing on decorative ribbon trim.
If you are unable to find suspenders, craft a pair using strips of wide elastic or grosgrain ribbon.
4. Finishing touches
Wear light-colored, knee-high socks paired with leather boots or shoes. Top off the look with a traditional German conical-shaped hat, or Alpine hat, or wear a straw hat with a feather. A real or faux giant pretzel is another fun accessory idea.
5. Say "prost"
Carry a large beer stein, which could be glass or ceramic. As a bonus to this costume accessory, you'll always be ready for a refill of Oktoberfest beer or your favorite Halloween party drink! Practice clinking steins and saying "prost!" (Cheers!)
Halloween and Oktoberfest are in the same month and share a love of fun and festivities. With a DIY German costume of lederhosen, suspenders, a white shirt and key accessories, you'll be ready for both!