Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Sebastian Lehner

Tying a dirndl — which side to choose?

Spoken for or single: The bow on a lady’s dirndl tells you just that

You’re at Oktoberfest in your trendy dirndl — but be careful which side you tie the bow of your apron! Left, right, in the middle or at the rear. Each one tells its own story. Our bow guide reveals what you as a woman should watch out for when it comes to Bavarian Oktoberfest code and what your dirndl reveals to men about your relationship status.

Tying a dirndl - short summary

In short - this is what the position of the Dirndl tie says about its wearer:

  • Bow on the right: The wearer is spoken for.
  • Bow on the left: The wearer is single.
  • Bow in the middle: Relationship status is none of your business!
  • Bow in the back: Widow, waitress or child

You can read the exact meaning and origin in this article.

Bow to the right: The woman is spoken for

If the dirndl wearer ties her apron to her right, according to tradition she is married, engaged or in love, i.e. spoken for. How do you remember the rule? Well, right is also the side where you will usually find a man’s wedding ring. What the bow means for men: You can assume that the woman is either actually in a relationship or just wants a bit of peace and quiet.

Bow to the left: The woman is single

A woman who ties her apron to the left is trying to indicate that she is technically still available, probably unmarried, or even flying solo. That could mean that there is a good chance of flirting with her — of course that doesn’t mean men get a free pass when it comes to making unwanted advances! No means no, no matter where the bow happens to be!

Liesl Weapon explains how to tie the dirndl

Bow tied in the middle: virgin or “It’s none of your business!”

According to tradition, a dirndl bow tied in the middle of the apron shows that the wearer is a virgin. Young wearers therefore often wear a bow in the middle. Although, lately it has taken on a new meaning: “It’s none of your damn business!” Maybe the woman doesn’t want to give away whether she’s spoken for or single. In that case, it’s up to the man to find out in a charming and discreet way what the woman is trying to say - if anything at all.

Bow to the rear: widow, server or child

Of course, a dirndl bow cannot only be tied to the right, left or in the middle at the front, but may also be tied at the rear. But be careful ladies: It’s only children, Oktoberfest servers or widows that tie the bows of their apron at the rear. Tip for men: Maybe the woman with the bow at the back simply hasn’t read our guide to bows. I’m sure there’s a tactful way to find that out.

Important: Non-updated information on this page refers to Oktoberfest 2019. There was no Oktoberfest in 2020, neither was in 2021 due to the Corona pandemic.