It seems people are in a tizzy this week over Indianapolis being one of the “10 Worst-Dressed Cities in America.”
Fashion writers locally are scrambling to make suggestions and perhaps fuel a John Varvatos-clad revolution in the “crossroads of America.”
Before they get their Calvin Klein briefs in a wad, here’s a few things I think they’ve lost sight of:
1. This is not a big deal: Sure, Indy has been on its share of “bad” lists, including Indiana being the third most depressing state in America. However, we’re not the “Murder Capitol of the US” (two other nearby cities have been given that distinction in recent years – Gary and Chicago). We’ll never see a hurricane and earthquakes are extremely rare.
The cost of living locally is quite nice, when compared to places along the East and West coasts. All in all, we’re not in half-bad shape (at a time when places like Chicago and Detroit are struggling with financial and safety concerns).
2. We have bigger problems than booming sales at Central Indiana Gap retailers: Gun control, violence and our youth, gay rights – these are just a few of the issues we deal with every day. What guys are wearing to work or play is not a big issue in the grand scheme of Indianapolis history.
3. Don’t make us something we’re not: One of the core pieces of measurement on this list was how men tend to favor khaki-and-polo-shirt combination for “business casual.” Well, that happens everywhere. I lived in New Orleans for three years and let me tell you what I saw at my job daily: guys in khakis and polos. Let’s face it – this is Central Indiana, not the coast. People want comfort. Trust me – I’ve seen my fair share of well-dressed men throughout my years as a journalist. Men who are in the public eye can rock a suit with the best of them. But, if you’re an engineer and are behind a desk for eight hours, I don’t expect a Tom Ford level of style and neither should the community-at-large. If you’re a doctor or nurse, you’re in scrubs – period.
If you can’t afford a tailor, fine. But, as long as you’re making the effort, then that’s what counts. My husband is not a supermodel, but he does wear clothing that fits his body.
4. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: The local fashion group Pattern sent out a newsletter yesterday, picking on “The Indianapolis Star” (the exact words were “attempt to soften the blow backfired”). I don’t find this assessment particularly fair. For Pattern to jump to the conclusion that there was an initial “blow” I think is pushing it. The newsletter goes on to praise a member of the “Star” staff for raising awareness on the issue via social media, which is all well and good, except they insulted the publication in the previous sentence! Don’t insult on one hand and then try to be gracious on the second. It looks cheap and makes it seem as though you didn’t just get a slew of free publicity off this issue!
As for it being a “blow,” again, that’s a stretch. Best and worst lists of cities in various categories come out on what seems like an hourly basis.
Finally, it could be far worse – we could be Anchorage, Alaska!