What is better than a chocolate croissant with my Sunday morning coffee? A fashion article in the Sunday paper! Yessiree, and on February 12th, there was an article I could really sink my teeth into: The (Really Slow) Evolution of Boston Style, by Alyssa Giacobbe. She starts by acknowledging that five years ago, GQ ranked Boston as the worst dressed city in America…that khakis and fleece are what people remember about us (horrors!), that it’s cold outside and we are practical people. She goes on to share that part of our challenge may be in what we are offered by local retailers, retailers that know what we purchase. “Bostonians aren’t afraid to spend, though they’re likely to spend more on things they can wear often and keep for awhile.” (Reminds me of Ginger lesson, “buy less but buy quality.”) Giacobbe and local stylists/retailers feel that Boston customers are now becoming more progressive, sometimes with a bit of “gentle pushing.” Time will tell!
In the past few years I have been traveling to New York City on a regular basis for work and it has been an eye opening experience for someone born and raised in the burbs of Boston. Here’s a few of my thoughts and observations on the subject:
- No disrespect to Beantown, but there are far less people here – men or women – that make a strong, head turning fashion statement. Boston thinks of comfort before style. (Yeah, the fleece, the sneakers, the baggy khakis, thick oversized sweaters.)
- Dressing your best on any ordinary day in NYC is routine for many. In Boston you will likely hear, “what are you so dressed up for?”
- Don’t blame it on the preppy look. Khakis, button down shirts, cable knit cashmere sweaters, navy blazers – this traditional, collegiate look can be very stylish if the fit is slim and shoes are sophisticated.
- Things I notice often about well-dressed men in NY: Noticeably slim fit and perfectly tailored suits, trouser length just to the ankle exposing a colorful patterned sock. Love.
- Because of all the walking they do, New Yorkers coordinate stylish outerwear in chilly weather – hat, scarf, gloves – men and women alike. In the Boston area you will be hard pressed to see men with coordinated outerwear. Can you say North Face? Oh, how about Canada Goose?
- In society, people seem to be more comfortable blending into their social groups; how others dress around them can greatly influence what one purchases and wears. Speaking for myself, even as a teen I did not mind looking different from my peers. Now that I am older, I mind even less. How about you? Something to think about.
- While I enjoy shopping in New York, and in other unique places, most of my great finds came right from good ol’ Boston!
Classic style is elegant. Practical fashion is smart. Dressing for the weather shows common sense. Preppy can be cool.
C’mon Bostonians – pay more attention to detail, ditch the fleece jackets and baggy khakis, venture beyond the suburban malls and update your wardrobe!