The City of Port St Lucie and the German American Club of the Treasure Coast present OKTOBERFEST 2017. Friday October 6th, Saturday October 7th and Sunday October 8th!


Lederhosen is traditionally southern Bavarian and Austrian clobber. Up until a few years ago Germans from Berlin or Cologne wouldn’t have been seen dead in a pair except at the Munich Oktoberfest, where they’re manly de rigueur. But how did lederhosen become so popular? Let’s look at the story behind the shorts.

The history of using fur or animal hide for pants goes all the way back to Otzi the Iceman, the 5,300-year-old frozen mummy of whom was found near the Alpine Austro-Italian border in 1991. But lederhosen as we know and love it today first took shape in the 1700s. It had been reasonably common across Europe for peasants to wear leather pants for farm work, horse riding and hunting.

But it was the Bavarians who invented the drop-down flap at the front. The French even dubbed it à la bavaroise, meaning in “in the Bavarian style”. In those days Europe’s aristocracy liked to dress up as peasants for fun, and so lederhosen became popular across all strata of society. Poorer folk dyed goat or sheep skin black for their pants, which were either short or full length “Bundhosen” style. It was the nobility who started wearing the soft, brown lederhosen made from deer or chamois skin that’s the most common variety today.
Lederhosen fell out of fashion for a while in the 1800s as pants made from cotton or cloth started to take over. An upstart called Joseph Vogel led a revival in 1883, when he and his mates from the pub gathered to protest a decline of Bavarian values.

The six of them started the first Tracht preservation society and even wore their short-length lederhosen to a church service in the town of Bayerischzell. The priesthood condemned the shorts as an affront to decency and tried to have them banned.

Bavarian King Ludwig II professed he was a fan and that was that. Farmers and aristocrats alike started donning lederhosen again.

It was another Bavarian who really dealt the death blow to lederhosen being widely worn in everyday life. His name was Levi Strauss. Strauss hailed from a town near Nuremburg in northern Bavaria (a staunchly non-lederhosen wearing area) and migrated to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. His blue “jeans” took over as the world’s most popular pant and the rest is history. Among the most memorable lederhosen advocates in the 1900s was Bavarian writer Okskar Maria Graf who fled to New York during the Third Reich days. Graf wore his lederhosen around Manhattan until his death in 1967.
These days lederhosen are usually reserved for beer festivals like Oktoberfest and other cultural events.
You can still see Bavarians wearing lederhosen as everyday garb in über-traditional towns like Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Lederhosen are being worn by more and more women as well. They’re cut differently to men's lederhosen, are often short and are often very appealing.
Some people think women wearing lederhosen are just being trendy and they should get back into their Dirndl dresses. But that's not fair, because although girls in leather shorts are a new addition to the Oktoberfest, female farmhands and milkmaids have worn lederhosen for centuries.
Many styles of lederhosen have a long history so there's no one type that could be considered really traditional German lederhosen.

Lederhosen in Germany can cost anywhere from €100 for the cheapest, imported stuff up to thousands of euros for a top of the range, tailor-made pair.

In Munich they’re often sold as a set, coming with a shirt, socks and leather shoes. Lederhosen can be either long or short: ending above the knee, below the knee or going all the way down to the ankles.
Full-length lederhosen are often worn without suspenders. Colors range from black, different shades of brown through to light tan and gray.

There are also two types of suspenders, the “V”-style and the “H”-style, which often have a colorfully embroidered pattern on the cross piece (Stegträger).
Schuhplatten Lederhosen is the thigh-slapping Alpine dance immortalized by Chevy Chase in the film European Vacation.

The traditional Schuhplatter style of lederhosen is black, tight, and has rich green or white embroidery.