Burlington is many things, but an international center of high fashion it isn't. Sure, there's Karl Lagerfeld's island vacation home, and our state inspired a New York Fashion Week line earlier this year. But that's about it. But just because we're not uber-fashionable, that doesn't mean we actually dress badly, does it?
Let's ask GQ Magazine. According to GQ, Burlington is the 28th-worst dressed city in America. That makes our fair city more poorly dressed than other urban-hippie enclaves such as Boulder, Colorado and Portland, Oregon. But we're better off than San Francisco, Austin and Las Vegas.
The ranking itself isn't exactly inaccurate, as sightings of fashion disasters are near daily occurrences in the Queen City. Hippie ponchos are in, for example, year round. Half of the college population can't be bothered with more than sweatpants and cheap rubber flip-flops when leaving the house. I'm pretty sure baby birds live in some of the beards I see everyday. Even Burlington's hipsters always seem to be two years late to the party.
But what gets me is that GQ couldn't elaborate on its Burlington ranking! All the other worst-dressed cities got a paragraph detailing their fashion transgressions. All we get is the photo pictured here, and three dismissive words: "Cool hat, stoner." Ouch. Talking about what's wrong with Burlington fashion apparently isn't even worth the (digital) ink.
But the listing has to be taken with a grain of salt, in all fairness. I mean, this list of worst-dressed cities doesn't even consist of cities! Brooklyn, Martha's Vineyard, the Jersey Shore? Not cities, GQ. And the magazine included both Asbury Park, N.J. (#33), and the Jersey Shore (#19) as separate entries on the list, which suggests that GQ's qualms are with certain groups, not cities. (Poor New Jersey.)
So what can Burlington do to up its fashion cred? Well, saving the sweatpants for a night curled up on the couch would be a start. But GQ has plenty of tips for summer fashion. (Sorry, ladies, you're on your own — GQ is a men's mag.) Here are some items every fashionable guy's closet should have in 2011:
- Cargo pants. Aren't cargo pants already all the rage in BTV? Yes. But GQ calls this new generation of cargos "the no-bro cargo." Now you can get the hip, skinny-jeans look, but have pockets in which to stash your weed jar and one-hitter. Practical!
- Leather strap sandals. These are kind of like those Chaco sandals that are popular in Burlington, except made out of leather. Oh, and they cost $1760. Totally reasonable.
- The ketchup bottle look. Who needs blaze orange when you've got this? P.S. Are those windbreaker pants?
- Banana yellow shorts. Or just wear a sign that says, "Make a dick joke at my expense." The results will be the same.
- Ray-Bans. You can buy the Ray-Ban imposters at Downtown Threads for, like, $10. About three people will ever notice the difference.
- The "artfully disheveled" suit. OK, snark aside, I actually love this suit. Anyone want to lend me two grand?
- An American Eagle fisherman's hat. I can't decide if this look is more "Gilligan's Island" or "90s middle school years I'd rather forget."
- A grinder. Um, GQ? If grinder as fashion statement happens anywhere, it's here. Give us some credit.
Also, GQ suggests that you take a road trip with your bro and dangle an air freshner in front of his crotch. Why? We don't know. But buy an ironic NASCAR hat with a Shell logo while you're at it.
And BTV fashionistas, don't let GQ's Haterade get you down. We've still got New Duds, who make the best T-shirts on the planet. And there's that cool fashion exhibit at the Shelburne Museum to visit all summer long. And what city of comparable size can match Burlington when it comes to thrift stores? Burlington's fashion scene might not square with the mainstream, but it's here, it's unique, and it's ours.
Although this town really could use an H&M. And seriously, hippies — try a little harder, will you?