Where to buy a dirndl in the US is a common question and besides the obvious answer (from raredirndl.com *cough* *cough*) I have some expert advise as a person who (before I made them for myself) has bought many a dirndl. If you are buying your first dirndl here are my recommendations:
#1 – At Festivals and Oktoberfests – this is the best way to buy a dirndl if you are deathly afraid of buying something online. Places like German Fest Milwaukee will have oodles of vendors selling different styles of dirndls. From traditional cotton floral dirndls to unique and edgy dirndls (*cough* Like from Rare Dirndl *cough* Our booth is at the southeast corner of the Marktplatz by the Harley Stage *cough*) you can browse the options, try them on and find one that’s just right for you.
#2 – From a dirndl store – don’t roll your eyes at me! There are a handful here in the states. Ironically there is a dirndl store not far from me in Chicago, International Fashions by Ingrid. Then there is German Specialty Imports run by Erika in Prior Lake MN… also Bavarian Specialties in Frankenmuth MI. I believe that you can also shop at Ernst Licht in Oley PA. And you are always welcome to shop at the Rare Dirndl Design Studio by making an appointment (*cough* click here *cough*)
#3 – Online – As a lover of not trying things on, not leaving my apartment, and shopping online… this is my favorite option! Dirndls are surprisingly easy to fit and easy to alter. Dirndls are kinda like bridesmaid dresses in that you want a really good fit, so you might need alterations. Difference between dirndls and bridesmaid dresses… alteration costs on a dirndl are pretty minimal because of how they’re made! They are honestly made to be altered easily. Average cost of alterations to a dirndl are $25-$85 depending on how much needs to be done.
Most of the places I mentioned before also have online stores (*cough* including Rare Dirndl *cough*) But here is a list for you:
Now that you know where to buy a dirndl in the US… Here is my personal opinion about where NOT to buy a dirndl in the US.
#2 – On Amazon – the vast majority of the dirndls that are sold on Amazon are cheap for a reason. They are mediocre quality and typically made in huge quantities in Pakistan. I’m not saying the every dirndl sold on Amazon is made in a sweat shop or is going to fall apart, but just be sure you know what you are getting. Many of the reviews say things like, “very authentic” or “great quality for the price” but that depends on your definition of authenticity and quality.
#3- On Ebay – I have ebay on this list because this is where the Pakistani manufacturers love to sell. There are some great vintage and gently used finds on Ebay, but please be weary of the things that have fancy images and über low prices.