In earlier times, each 'tracht' identified a person
as belonging to a particular group in terms of social and
legal status (married, single), origin or trade.
Today, the term is used to describe any garment reminiscent
of the attire of rural communities. Regional varieties are
Women's attire, the dirndl, consists of a closefitting
bodice combined with an apron in a different colour. Sometimes
its sleeveless and worn with a cotton and lace blouse, sometimes
it features sleeves and a high neck. Hats are often costly
and elaborate. They vary according to occasion and region:
'Goldhauben' (Upper Austria) and 'Bollenhut' (Black
Forest region, Germany) are only worn on festive occasions.
Man's traditional clothing is made from leather, linen and
wool. 'Lederhosen', knee-length trousers or short-pants
made from leather are worn with rustic shoes and wool socks.
Again, jackets and hats vary according to region and occasion.
The traditional 'Steireranzug' a greyish garment made
from loden with green embroidery has managed to become a semi-official
tracht all over Austria and can be worn to all sorts of official
occasions from formal dinner, ball or political meeting.
In Austria, people still enjoy wearing 'tracht' on official
occasions like weddings, festivals, etc. Contemporary fashion
adapts traditional elements, the production of dirndl and
lederhosen is a thriving economical branch with Sportalm,
Geiger or Tostmann being favourite brands.
There are many societies dedicated to 'tracht' revivals. Often,
those efforts coincide with an interest in traditional crafts,
like porcelain, glass-making or wood carving and traditional
folk music and dancing.
With the great success of the Trapp
family in the States and the even greater success of 'The
sound of music' tracht became famous in the states, too!