Sartorial Saturday–National Dress

Today I’m taking a look at something completely different!

I have always loved national dress, from Norway’s bunad to the sari of South Asia. And I have long lamented the fact the the US really doesn’t have ethnic dress, unless you count jeans (which I don’t). But my ethnic heritage (Austrian and German) does have a traditional garment for women in the form of the dirndl, something I have long wanted to add to my wardrobe, and Ryan bought me a purple and floral one for an early Christmas present!

This beautiful dirndl is from Rare Dirndl, a small business located in Chicago (where else?!?). It consists of a purple dress and a gorgeous floral print apron, and I’m wearing it with a Rare Dirndl puff sleeve, lace-trim blouse. Also, the best clothing designers know that women want pockets in their dresses, and Rare Dirndl is no exception!

The details on the dress are amazing (look at the pleated trim around the neckline and the piping down the front!), and the workmanship is outstanding (check out how well the hooks on the front are sewn on, and with such a beautiful color of thread, too…it almost looks like they’re set with gemstones!). The print of the apron is fantastic, too…it has a metallic sheen, and the colors are so vibrant…and the strings are actually long enough to fit me properly, which was a huge concern of mine. It is seriously the most well-made and best fitting dress I have ever had (and I have a lot of dresses!).

To accessorize, I added a purple fedora and a petticoat with a lace edge meant to be seen:

I added a leather Edelweiss clip to my hat (also from Rare Dirndl), and then moved it to my hair, just for fun. It can also be worn as a brooch…I love a versatile accessory!

Here’s a look at the whole outfit sans hat:

Rare Dirndl also offers some lovely jewelry, and many of the pieces feature Edelweiss, a flower often associated with Austria. The scalloped necklace is so delicate and beautiful, and I love the pop of color of the wrap bracelet! (I added one of my Lake Michigan HOMES bracelets in a coordinating color, since I’m celebrating my heritage.)

I’m ready to twirl my way through the Alps!

This is my first dirndl, but it won’t be last…I’m already waiting for my second Rare Dirndl dress to arrive! Erika was such a huge help in answering all of my questions and making sure I got the dirndl of my dreams, so I’m really excited to support her small business again! It’s really not a jump for me to go from retro dressing to ethnic dressing, because they both include a nod to the past in a new, modern way, so I feel comfortable wearing this outfit not just to German events (I can’t wait to style it for Belleville’s Christkindlmarkt in a few weeks), and it’s definitely not a costume item to me. I’m looking forward to sharing more photos of my national dress(es) as I style them in different ways throughout the seasons!

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