Going clothes shopping in Germany has become a disturbing experience of late.
Many normally respectable stores have completely changed their clothing range. For example, when I was in Mönchengladbach yesterday, I passed an otherwise normal department store and the shop window looked like this.
I should point out that this type of clothing – the Dirndl for women and the Lederhosen for men – is not what Germans wear in normal life. You may come across people dressed like this in Bavaria, but not up here. A Rhinelander wearing a Dirndl or Lederhosen would be like a Londoner wearing a kilt and sporran. If you see someone in this garb, they are either a very lost Bavarian… or more likely an American tourist. But most definitely not a local.
So why are these weird foreign clothes everywhere all of a sudden?
The reason is the upcoming Oktoberfest. The Oktoberfest is Germany’s biggest beer-party, and the most famous of all is the one on the Wiesn in Munich. In an un-Germanic fit of anti-logic, the Bavarians hold the Oktoberfest in September. Possibly to confuse non-Bavarians and thus prevent them turning up until all the beer has been drunk.