Germany: Black Forest (Schwarzwald) – General information

Women’s wear

The women of the German Black Forest (Schwarzwald) wear various types of Dirndl, but their costume is world famous because of their special wide straw hats decorated with large red or black woollen pompoms, the Bollenhut.



The Bollenhut (hat with wool balls) consists of a wide-brimmed straw hat covered in white plaster with 14 large woollen pompoms (only 11 can be seen) arranged in the form of a cross on its crown. The colour of the balls is red for unmarried women and black for married ones. However, nowadays, it seems that virtually all women wear the red pompoms independent of their marital status. The hats weigh 1.5—2 kg and are held in place by ribbons tied around the head. A silk mob cap is worn underneath the Bollenhut, tied under the chin. In former times, young girls before confirmation and old women only wore the mob cap.


The Bollenhut has been worn by Protestant women in the three neighbouring Black Forest villages of Gutach, Kirnbach (near Wolfach) and Reichenbach (near Hornberg) since around 1750. The majority of the Black Forest was and is Catholic.

The Bollenhuttracht (costume) is normally passed on within a family and new Trachten is only rarely made. The production of the Bollenhut is time-consuming and difficult and there are on a few milliners (Bollenhutmacherinnen) still making them. It takes about a week to make such a hat and 2 kg of wool is needed.


This is a variety of Bollenhut but with woollen roses instead of pompoms.



Skirt and apron
Skirt and apron

Skirt (Rock)

The skirt used to be made of a special type of material (Wifel) consisting of hemp and wool, which is glued and dyed. It is therefore very sensitive to rain and is no longer produced and other materials are now used. The heavy skirt is pleated at the waist.

Apron (Schürze)

A silk apron is tied over the skirt.

Waistcoat and blouse
Waistcoat and blouse

Waistcoat (Mieder)

The waistcoat is made of velvet and is embroidered with flowers.

Blouse (Bluse)

This is made of white linen and has puffed sleeves. It has a rectangular neckline which is covered by a yoke (Goller) consisting of embroidered velvet ribbons decorated with small metal plates called Flenderli. The initials of the wearer and a year are embroidered on to the yoke.

Socks (Strümpfe)

These are knitted using angora wool.

Jacket (Tschoben)

During the colder months, a short waist-length jacket made of black silk and a red lining is worn.

Men’s wear

Both men and boys wear black trousers (Hose), white shirt (Hemd) with a black tie (Schlips) and a black velvet waistcoat (Samtweste) with buttons. They wear a long (to the calves) open black velvet coat with red lining. Their hat is black and has a high crown.


Source(s) of information (accessed 2012) (accessed 2012) (accessed 4th August 2015) (accessed 4th August 2015) (accessed 4th August 2015)



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