Still, ever wishing to be of benefit to my fellow persons, I trudged past stores, scrolled through websites, and stared rudely at people waiting for busses. I also read a few menus. Here are some shamelessly copied and unattributed shots from a few windows and websites, with my conclusions.
There is definitely a costume-y look going on. The suppressed premise is that these are not one-night purchases, these are things that you can wear in your daily life that just happen to be Appropriate for Halloween as well. Based on personal observation, not editorial blather, the look for this fall and winter is Witches, Gypsies (the stereotypical, not the people who buy real jewelry and expensive china), and superannuated waifs and strays looking as if an evil fairy has cast a clumsy spell on them. Here, then, for your inspiration, are regular shots of new clothes and accessories, not of items meant to be sold as costumes and party make-up.
There's a lot of leather out there. I attribute this to the current tendency, noted on food blogs, to consume the whole animal, leaving the hides. Himself even called my attention - I begged him not to, it was still early - to an article in this morning's paper which featured a society of men who gather to eat parts of animals hitherto considered food only by history's victims and pet food manufacturers. Truly: if you had choice in a perfect but non-vegan society, would you eat steak or tripe? Would you eat intestines and tail or loin chops? The poor, the serfs, the enslaved did not trudge home from a weary day's work and say, "Oh, goody, here are some leftovers from the slaughterhouse that I can spend another 3 hours bending over a hot fire turning into something we can try to get down." The history of cooking can be viewed as the history of colonialism and exploitation, and if you like something only because Grandma fixed it, say a prayer for Grandma's grandma.
There's also a lot of black-and-white combinations, in shoes, in tweed-like fabrics, in houndstooth and herringbones. I wonder if this has anything to do with
a culinary controversy heating up in England. It seems badgers, another useless but cute animal, are being culled because they are suspected of spreading bovine (yes, cow) tuberculosis. It has been suggested that, the economy being what it is, the meat from the badgers be eaten. A brave fellow has stepped forward and admitted to having eaten badger meat for 55 years. This would be roadkill, as it's been illegal to kill badgers in England since 1922. Before that, it is said to have been a staple in the diet of - yes! - the rural poor. Here is a link to a story that appeared in the Manchester Guardian, which explores the history of badger consumption and the current controversy. I even found a recipe for badger, a French recipe no less, which contains the wonderful instruction to "Eviscerate and skin your badger, and soak it in a fast-flowing river for at least 48 hours. This will help you to de-grease it more easily." I have the feeling I'll never know.
One of the Bards of Long Island, Tom Paxton, has made the point that many people are more comfortable eating vegetables than animals, because animals are cute and sweet in popular culture. Indeed, gaze at the badger, above.
In his stirring anthem, Don't Slay That Potato, Tom urges that equal consideration be given to innocent vegetables:
There ought to be some way of saving our skins.
They ought to be passing a law.
Just show anybody a cute little lamb
And they'll all stand around and go "Aw!"
Well, potatoes are ugly. Potatoes are plain.
We're wrinkled and lumpy to boot.
But give me a break, kid. Do you mean to say
That you'll eat us because we're not cute?
Oh, no, don't slay that potato!
Let us be merciful, please.
Don't boil it or fry it, don't even freeze-dry it.
Don't slice it or flake it.
For God's sake, don't bake it!
Don't shed the poor blood
Of this poor helpless spud.
That's the worst kind of thing you could do.
Oh, no, don't slay that potato
What never done nothing to you!
If your kids don't have Tom Paxton's albums, they should.