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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Portland Makes GQ's List of America's Worst-Dressed Cities

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

We're #36 out of "40." Not that bad if number one is supposed to be the worst of the worst, but it's hard to tell since it stops at #6 (Philadelphia). It's also a remarkably inclusive list, littered with plenty of wildly creative justifications, and its suggestion that "It may be time to plan that move you've been thinking about," doesn't leave many places to move to since everyplace besides Manhattan and Los Angeles appears to be on it unless they too are somewhere below/above Philly (Seattle is #34, Detroit is #31, San Diego is #27, San Francisco is #20, Austin is #18, Atlanta is #17, New Orleans is #12, Brooklyn is #11, Miami is #9, friggin' Maui is #7). So yeah, obviously it's highly flawed. And GQ. Still I appreciated the accompanying explanation next to Portland's listing, which I assumed would just trot out the same outdated "observations."

For the average Portlander in the city's pre-modern era—the 1980s and '90s—social convention dictated what could be worn: outdoor gear with lots of zippers; floppy sandals and thick wool socks; plaid flannel; maybe a Stetson. Anyone who tried to affect an urban look was branded a "Californian." But now, Portland, like, say, China, is no longer a traditional society and its immemorial fashions are being displaced and re-imagined as it's sucked into the vortex of style modernity. The old and the new mix freely; confused, and unencumbered by the rigid aesthetic diktats of village life (shorts + Tevas + raincoat, regardless of weather), they mate promiscuously. The result is an embarrassment of bewildering sartorial neologisms, only to be found in Portland. Under the rain and grey skies, let a thousand style follies bloom. The global and the local have spawned the Portland douche bag: True Religion jeans and rhinestone-laden shirt set off by Oregon staples—cowboy boots and a fleece. At one of the city's most New Yorkian bars, in the Ace Hotel, amid the ranks of identically plaid-shirted and black-framed hipsters, one might glimpse a fully gothed-out, red-headed woman, resplendent in a purple velvet cape and vintage Victorian dress, sitting alone eating French fries—the incongruous, the absurd—is Portland's normal.

Hey, isnt that Blogtown commenter Graham?
  • Hey, isn't that Blogtown commenter Graham?

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