Here at Bundle, we wanted to determine which U.S. cities were the most and least fashionable. One might expect trendsetting New York City and fashion-forward Los Angeles to top the list, but we wanted to use our data to see where big cities really ranked on our fashion meter.
To do this, we selected the 50 largest cities by population in our data set and created a fashion-conscious index, with 1.0 being average. We based our index on the percentage of “fashion-conscious households” in our sample, which we defined as households that had at least four transactions at top-end designer merchants in the past 30 months.
Coming in at an unexpected number one was Irvine, CA, which ranked nearly four times above the U.S. average in clothing spending. Home of the OC and one of the richest cities in America, Irvine residents can certainly afford those designer duds.
Buffalo, NY ranked as the least fashionable city in America with an index of 0.10. This makes Buffalo ten times less fashionable than the average big city in America, and 32 times less fashionable than its downstate neighbor, New York, NY. Perhaps Buffalo’s lack of fashion can be chalked up to its abundance of snow days.
Other frigid cities that ranked low on the fashion-conscious totem pole were my hometown of St. Paul, MN (0.23 index) and Minneapolis, MN (0.26 index). As a Twin Cities native, I can attest to the fact that fashion doesn’t come first for most Minnesotans-they’re preoccupied with staying warm! Our neighbors in Milwaukee are like-minded, preferring comfort over high-end fashion.
For all its Hipsters, Brooklyn lags behind, spending less on fashion than residents in Queens, NY. Maybe Brooklyn residents are buying locally made, non-brand name clothing, which would account for their average fashion rating. Additionally, while parts of Brooklyn may be more fashion-forward (like Williamsburg and Dumbo), the majority of Brooklyn probably reverts to the fashion-conscious average.
Big cities including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas and Chicago ranked as the most fashionable, likely owing to the abundance of designer stores conveniently accessible in those cities.
Our conclusion? When it comes to haute fashion, it’s all about location, location, location. And having a Prada wallet big enough to buy high-end fashion.