Photo of the Week: Bregenz, Austria

Austrian girls dressed in the traditional costume of Bregenz
This traditional costume helped defend an Austrian village. Photo by Bregenzerwald Tourismus

Back in 1617, Swedish invaders marched into the Bregenzerwald region of what is now Austria. As the legend goes, the men of town were away, as they often were, leaving the women alone to defend themselves.

Determined, the local women dressed in white, and bravely marched against the invaders, who believed the women to be angels and turned and ran away.

The women – and their clothing – were credited with saving the town. When the men returned, they often brought jewels and furs to appease their wives. That’s how the traditional Bregenzerwald costume, known as the Juppe, adapted over time to include international flair.

Head coverings had became required outside the home in 1560, so hats were an important part of life. Spanish design influenced the contemporary black color and a wide-brimmed straw hat, while Russian design inspired a chic fur-trimmed cap.

The Juppe is still worn today for special events and occasions in the Vorarlberg region. Traditional costumes are made by hand at the Juppenwerkstatt Riefensberg, and visitors can watch its creation in a guided tour.

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