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Are DC Men Poorly Dressed?

DC poorly-dressed well-dressed

One oft-repeated trope about DC is that the men (and women) are poorly dressed. But is this really the case?

Every time I take the subway in New York, I like to play a game where I try to spot the well-dressed people, and I can tell you, most of the time there are at best 1-2 per car. And New York is the supposed style Mecca of the country. I think it's fair to say that most Americans are not well dressed. 

So how does DC stack up? "Well-dressed" is pretty subjective, but I'll give you my entirely unscientific opinion based on my casual observations over the years:

  • First, without question, it's improving. There's a menswear renaissance going on worldwide, and DC is not immune to it.
  • Overall, I'd say DC is a dressier city than most, predominately due to the sheer number of people engaged in traditionally more formal occupations: lawyers, staffers, lobbyists, etc.
  • While DC is dressier than most cities, this shouldn't be confused with well-dressed. A well-worn navy blazer with brass anchor buttons that's been in heavy rotation since Titanic was playing at the multiplex is both dressy and not particularly fashionable.   

Dated Navy Blazer

This is a subtle distinction that is lost on a lot of the population and is best represented by this Venn diagram:

Venn Diagram - Well-Dressed - Dressed-Up

For the third year in a row, DC has been ranked the fittest American city. Men's clothing in 2016 is at its slimmest in decades. Suffice to say, DC men are physically more likely to be able to wear the most up-to-date fashions than any other city in the US.

Ok, so I started out this blog post with a question: "Are DC Men Poorly Dressed?" and I've done little to answer this question in any meaningful way. But, what the hell, I'm just going to say no, DC men, by-and-large are not well-dressed. This assessment is based on nothing but casual observation and subjective opinion. And before you dapper gents out there take offense (I know you exist, because many of you shop at Ezra Paul), this isn't really a strike against DC, as pretty much everyone, everywhere is poorly dressed. 

Let me know what you think - are DC men poorly dressed?

Check out Part II in this series: Why Aren't DC Men Better Dressed. We've identified a problem, now let's talk about the causes...



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