The 10 Worst-Dressed Cities

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If you live in Colorado Springs, chances are you saw the article that came out last week, stating that Colorado Springs was rated second as the worst-dressed city, with Wichita, Kansas receiving the dubious honor of the worst-dressed. I admit, when I read the article title, it didn’t surprise me that we might have been on a “list” as not being a fashionable city but number 2?

Then I read the article and saw that the “list” was written on real-estate blog Motovo (Motovo is a full-service real estate brokerage in over 30 states) and wondered why a real estate site was writing about fashion, and how they came up with the list, expecting pictures or “reasons” we made the list. But the list was made based on how many high-end (four $ marks or higher, which means expensive) clothing, jewelry and shoe stores there were per capita. Also included were how many tailors/alterations and fashion schools there were in the area.

So fashion is based on how much money you spend? I don’t think so. And without sounding snarky, if you’re going to write an article about fashion, you should probably look fashionable yourself, and author Randy doesn’t look like he’s walking around in Armani suits. Just saying. Now I do think, and have said lots of times, that Colorado Springs is the most casually dressed city I’ve ever lived in, and I am amazed sometimes -- ok a lot of times -- of how many people wear flip-flops and Crocs everywhere and with everything. (I admit I’m a Croc snob, thinking they look super cute on children and in the garden but otherwise, not so much. Of course, that’s just my opinion.)

I personally try to be fashionable and well-dressed but I don’t think that by putting on a thousand dollar dress it automatically puts me on a best-dressed list. Not that I’ve ever worn a thousand dollar dress, not even my wedding dress cost a thousand. We (this site) try to emphasize with our Goodwill makeovers and posts on clothes from affordable retail stores that you can dress stylishly without spending a ton of money. I recently attended an Ann Taylor fashion show where I wore a black sheath from Ann Taylor that I bought at Goodwill for $3.99 and no one knew I was wearing second-hand. Now if the article and ranking came from interviews where people said, “We don’t CARE about fashion” and then showed pictures to back that up, I would have put more merit in it, but JUST basing it on the amount of expensive stores available in the area, well, is just plain stupid. Seriously, haven’t we all seen pictures of super rich people wearing super expensive clothes and thought, “Really?”

To me, there’s a difference in not being fashionable because you choose to be versus not knowing quite how to dress best for your body and accessorize. I meet a lot of women who want to learn how to put outfits together so they’ll look and feel more pulled together.

I read a local story about this Motovo blog and went to the comment section to see what others were saying. Lots of comments were made that we were one of the healthiest cities, one of the nicest cities, one of the prettiest cities, and that was more important than being stylish. My thought was yes, we are, but why can’t we be fashionable too? One of the comments came from a local boutique owner who expressed her disappointment when going to the symphony here and seeing so many people in jeans, tees and tennis shoes. She went on to say, referring to going to events or places like the symphony, that she enjoyed occasionally “dressing to impress.” The woman also said you don’t have to spend a ton of money to be fashionable, and that wearing what fits, looks good on you, not showing too much skin or dressing inappropriately were a part of what fashion was all about, along with showing your individuality and personality. Man, did people blast her! She was accused of being pompous, self-serving, materialistic, lacking self-confidence, and other not quite complimentary things. One person commented to her, “Thank you for letting me know that going to the symphony is the REAL reason to dress up and impress others…I thought it was about the music.” He then proceeded to tell a story of how he saw a street person who had a seizure in the street and that 3 men in suits passed him by and didn’t offer help. So he’s inferring that if you wear a suit you’re not a nice person or don’t want to get “dirty”? Ok, first of all, most women I know do like to get dressed up for certain events or occasions and I think there are places you go, with certain expectations of how people will dress and act. The boutique owner said “dressing appropriately”. If you are attending a wedding or funeral, you dress a certain way to convey respect to the occasion. If you attend church, you probably dress different than you do when going fishing. I agree with the owner that when I go to the symphony, (or for me, a nice restaurant, the theater, or a cocktail event), I am sometimes disappointed in the lack of style I see, or perhaps I should say the casualness, because you can be casually stylish, but it doesn’t mean it’s occasion-appropriate.) If you come to my house for dinner, I don’t expect you to wear a suit and tie but I also expect you to show up without wearing torn or stained clothes on or something that looks like you just finished gardening and didn’t make the time to change. If I took the time to cook, and plan, please make the time to take a shower and put on something nice. To me, fashion is also about having respect, not only for yourself, but for others.

When I dine at The Broadmoor, I dress differently than when pigging out at Taco Bell. When you pay for an event, like the symphony, you are there to enjoy and appreciate the music, but to me, you’re also paying for the “experience”, which includes “dressing up”. I went to a Christmas party about eight years ago, that was held at a hotel, and I was AMAZED at how many women wore sweats. AND tennis shoes. I’m not saying they had to be dripping in diamonds, fur and a beaded gown, but sweats? One comment left said if you are self-confident, it doesn’t matter how you dress and to feel extra confident when dressed nicely, means you lack self-confidence. Well, I can honestly say that I do feel more comfortable and at ease when dressed “appropriately” for the occasion. If I’m the only woman wearing jeans at a “black-tie” event, surrounded by long evening gowns, I’m not going to be feeling my “self-confident” self. Would you show up at a job interview in an office wearing shorts, flip-flops and a tank?

So why can’t we be a city that enjoys the beautiful outdoors, while dressing as casually and appropriate for hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing and also be a city that dresses “appropriately” while enjoying the restaurant/arts scene, and showing we can look fashionable even if we don’t have a Tiffany’s, Jimmy Choo or Prada in the area?

I’m not conceited, don’t spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how I look. I do like to dress up for certain events and occasions and try to look my best when out in public. I do like it when other people think I look stylish but I don’t think that makes me shallow. If I’m paying for a nice meal, I certainly don’t want to look at the next table and see some man’s hairy underarms because he couldn’t bother to change out of the wife-beater he was wearing while playing ball. I think it’s kind of funny that when people were leaving comments, they compared not caring about how you dress with being “above” being vain. That if you cared more about your health, others, and the world in general, you wouldn’t have time to think about how you look.

Bottom line, I think the list and blog, being based on the lack of high-end stores available in our area is again, just plain stupid and anyone who really knows how to look stylish and fashionable knows it’s not about how much you spend, but rather, how you pull a look together. And I’m wondering if writer Randy knows that here in Colorado Springs, we have this thing called the internet, which means we CAN shop at high-end stores if we want, without leaving the house?

Here’s Motovo’s 10 worst dressed cities and the blog on how they came up with them.

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