GQ Magazine has challenged Boulder to step up its style when ranking the city as number 40 on its list of the 40 Worst-Dressed Cities in America.
Many local residents disagree, instead politely telling GQ and New York City where they can put their fashion advice.
“I think it came from a bunch of stuck up people who don’t know what good casual dress is,” says Perry Branoff, a Boulder resident donning a golf shirt and shorts down to the knee.
One of GQ’s main critiques was Boulder’s preference for taking athletic clothing out of the gym and onto the street. Zach Keller, an employee of Urban Outfitters in Boulder wearing sharp, tortoise-colored eyeglasses and a crisp, thin white t-shirt, says he agrees with GQ’s assessment.
“I definitely think Boulder could step up its game and consider actual fashion instead of gym shorts and workout gear,” Keller says. “On Pearl St. alone there’s countless retail locations, but I mean, how many of those stores sell what I would consider non-athletic attire?”
Keller mentions Urban, American Apparel and Weekends as possibilities, but athletic retailers retain a strong local presence.
“We’re a little more athletic around here,” Branoff says in response to GQ’s workout snub.
While Boulder's plethora of athletes help keep The North Face in business, hippies and CU students also dominate local style.
Sean Welch, a Boulder local and Jackalope (1126 Pearl St.) employee says he thinks the rating is awful and that the hippie-look is unique to the local culture.
“It’s Boulder!” Welch says. “It’s the culture. You don’t have hippies everywhere. You don’t have hippies in New York City, really.”
Mary Jo Graham is vacationing in Boulder from Iowa, and she says she thinks local style has personality.
“People are comfortable in their clothes and it doesn’t look like they’re putting on airs,” Graham says, later adding, “It’s not like you’re walking to mall right now to go out on the town.”
Keller says he thinks people should dress to impress.
“There’s a compromise between being comfortable and looking good,” he says.
Colleen Conroy, a Boulder resident wearing workout clothes, says people should be selective about the trends they follow.
“I feel like you have to be like hipster doofus in order to be considered well dressed,” Conroy says. “It’s like one of those things that you look back on in five or 10 years and it’s like — what the hell was I wearing? It’s like the people who were hip in the ’80s, you look back on them and you’re like what happened there?”
In the article, GQ notes that Boulder is one of the healthiest, most in-shape cities in America, and suggests locals forgo clothing entirely.
“Well GQ suggested we all go naked,” Keller says. “I think opting for a pair of jeans instead of athletic shorts, or the chinos which are more comfortable, might be a good option.”