In general, the members of Edelweiss Passaic have chosen to model our Tracht (Costume) after the Miesbacher Tracht. Miesbach is a small town at the foot of the German Alps. Tradition is held high in this part of the country, and Bavarian folk dances, as well as the Tracht, are hundreds of years old. We make every effort to keep the dances and the Tracht as they originated so very long ago. We strive to have, and pride ourselves on, our proper “stilecht” (style-authentic) Tracht of natural fibers, which does not have zippers (but instead has hooks or buttons), and is made in colors and patterns that are in keeping with the colors and pattern combinations worn at or before the turn of the nineteenth century.
Women's Performance Tracht
Dirndl, Unterrock, Strückhosen, Spitzenhosen
Dirndls consist of a jumper, blouse and apron, or a Mieder/Spencer (bodice), skirt, blouse and apron. The Dirndl is an informal performance Tracht, which is worn for most of our performances throughout the year. Many times a dancing couple will be called to dance two and three times during one weekend, so our dance group does have more than one Dirndl and matching tie set in order to present the dancers with clean and crisp alternatives for each and every performance during the weekend. Traditional colors and style/cuts, common to the mid- to late-1800s, are chosen for each club Dirndl.
In order to further promote our unique culture, imported cloth is used. Many times the look and feel of the patterns and colors from Germany and Austria cannot be duplicated or obtained in the United States. Audiences would be treated to varying hues of blues, greens, browns, blacks, reds and pinks as opposed to the fashion colors and Dirndl cuts common at Oktoberfest in Munich – as authenticity is our goal.
Materials are usually cotton or linen, and the blouses contain lace around the neckline and sleeves. Each Dirndl is custom made for each body type. Lastly, various necklaces and earrings are worn with each Dirndl.
Between the imported materials, the number of Dirndls and the custom sizing, it can become rather expensive to accumulate the full wardrobe. Doing so, becomes a labor of love.
Under each Dirndl is the classic ensemble of undergarments:
- A three yard cotton slip which has a cotton eyelet lace hem
- White opaque tights
- Pettipants or pantaloons – what is seen when the ladies spin and their skirts form a bell
Men's Performance Tracht
Lederhosen, Hosenträger, Hemd, Stützen, Socken, Krawatten, Krawattenring
All men of our dance group own and wear Lederhosen (leather pants). They are made of black animal hide with a uniform green embroidery depicting a Hirsch (deer), leaves and acorns. Often the man’s initials are embroidered on a side pocket. Their price depends upon 1) whether the pants are made of cow, goat or deer hide, 2) whether the pants are imported or not, and 3) the amount of embroidery that are on the pants. This is the single most important and expensive investment in a gentleman’s dancing career. If the pants are taken care of, and the man’s physique does not change, the Lederhosen will last for years.
The Hosenträger are black suspenders with a crosspiece across the chest called a Quersteg. Our dance group’s club emblem and name is embroidered elaborately on the Quersteg. The Hemd is a white linen shirt with long sleeves and long vertical pleats down the front. This shirt may be decoratively embroidered with the dancer’s monogram on the front. This shirt is usually imported since the shirt design is not a typical design to this area.
For informal performances, our men wear socks and Stützen. Stützen are cotton ivory or white vertical cable-knit wide calf sleeves, which are adorned with green embroidery and other knit designs. Many good stories are told as to the origin of the gap on and about the ankle area, which occurs between the socks and the calf –Stue
For informal performances, our men wear socks and Stützen. Stützen are cotton ivory or white vertical cable-knit wide calf sleeves, which are adorned with green embroidery and other knit designs. Many good stories are told as to the origin of the gap on and about the ankle area, which occurs between the socks and the calf – Stützen.
The men’s Trachtenschuhe (shoes) are leather and have a 1 inch heel with a metal horseshoe on the heel. They are exclusively made in the Bavarian region of Germany.
The Trachtenhut (hat) is a high-domed stiff, dark green, velour hat with a dark green coiled twisted around the rise and tied in a loop. The silver Club Pin, the Gauverband pin, feather holder and Auerhahn feather are pinned to the left side of the hat.
Lastly, our dancers wear matching Krawatten (ties) to the ladies’ Dirndls and Krawattenringe (tie-rings). These ties are made of the same material as either the aprons or the skirts as that of the ladies Dirndls so that the couple is aesthetically tied together.
Women's Formal Tracht
Fest Tracht — Vollsteiff or Halbsteiff Mieder, Bluse, Rock, Tuch, Schürze
This is the most festive and elaborate Tracht our ladies wear. It is only worn for Anniversary Balls, Fahnenweihen (Flag Christening Celebrations) and Gaufests. On a side note, a Gaufest is a biennial gathering of North American Bavarian Dancing Groups for a weekend of high level dancing competition, workshops and cultural events.
Besides the above-mentioned Bavarian undergarments, the ladies of the group wear a Halbsteif (half stiff) or Vollsteif (full stiff) Mieder, Bluse (blouse), Rock (skirt), Tuch (shawl), Schürze (apron) Miederkette (chain), Tuchstecker (shawl pins), Miedernadeln (acorn pins), Silberbroschen (silver brooches), Trachten Strumpfhosen (knit stockings), Trachten Schuhe (shoes) and Trachtenhut (hat).
The Mieder is a black corset like bodice and is usually imported from Germany and custom made to each dancer’s torso measurements. After an order is placed for the Mieder, it may take up to two months for the order to be completed and shipped. This is the single most expensive item in the lady’s dancing closet. The more boning the Mieder has and the more elaborate the design, the more expensive it becomes. The Mieder has a silver chain strung across the hooks with a decorative key attached to the end and is pinned to the top with simple acorn pins. Wearing coins on the chain is optional. Fresh flowers and greenery tucked in the top of the Mieder finishes off the look.
Under the Mieder there is a cotton blouse with eyelet lace, and over the Mieder is silk shawl with hand knotted tassels. One elaborately detailed filigree silver shawl back pin and two coin front pins attach the shawl to the blouse.
The skirt goes over the Mieder peplum and is topped off with a silk apron which matches the shawl. The width of the skirt and the pleats are a delicate balance of proportions that allow the dancer to “throw” the skirt into a perfect balanced bell while spinning.
Imported white cable knit cotton stockings are worn with black imported Trachten shoes. The leather is beautifully detailed with scallops and dots imitating lace with a Mary-Jane type of strap and ornate buckle closure. The manufacturer no longer makes these shoes year round as it is not as lucrative for them. As such, these shoes tend to be rather expensive.
Lastly, the hat with feather, feather holder, club pin and Gauverband pin is set upon the ladies braided and/or bunned hair. They are also imported as they are unique to this area in the Alps. The hat is a low-domed, stiff, dark green, velour hat with a dark green coil twisted around the rise and tied in a loop. Our ladies wear a feather called Adlerflaum which is a fluffy white eagle feather worn in a silver feather holder pinned to the left side of the hat. Silver chained chokers and silver filigree earrings complete the authentic formal look.
Men's Formal Tracht
Likewise for the gentlemen, the Festtracht is the most formal, festive and elaborate Tracht our men wear. It is only worn for Anniversary Balls, Fahnenweihen and Gaufests.
As with the informal Tracht, Festtracht includes Lederhosen, Hosentraeger, the ornate Quersteg across the chest with the club emblem, and the linen long sleeved shirt. However, with Festtracht the socks and tie differ, and in addition, men also wear a vest.
The men’s socks are gray knit knee socks with colorful embroidered flowers around the top cuff and green scrolls down the back of the calf. The design is a custom design, worn exclusively by the men of our club. The design is quite old as our gentlemen have been wearing the same design since the club originated. The socks are knit in Germany and the knitting is labor intensive.
Lastly, our dancers wear a matching silk Krawatte (tie) to the ladies shawl and apron and Krawattenring (tie-ring).
In conclusion, the collection of and the upkeep of the men’s Tracht is just as much of a labor of love.
Generally, the children are dressed as miniature versions of adults. Even though the articles of clothing are definitely smaller and the amount of material or leather used to produce the items are less, the cost for the products are almost the same. As such, it is fairly expensive to outfit a growing child to dance year after year. Many of the articles of clothing are passed from child to child as they grow.