Our happy little hamlet was set abuzz last week when Anchorage was named the least-stylish city in America, according to the readers of Travel and Leisure. This was shocking news to Wanda and Wayne, who are always styling and profiling, and always eyeing and commenting on the fashion statements of their fellow Anchorage residents.
What is it with these lists and Alaska? Seems we're always either the very best or dead last at everything -- usually dead last. But hey, it's much more exciting than living in Iowa and being 25th all the time.
In regards to Anchorage's fashion and style, those Travel and Leisure voters must have had us confused with all of the summer tourists (their readers!) that wander downtown in matching sweatshirts and fanny packs and lugging yellow gift bags.
Sure Anchorage residents don't always sit on the cutting cloth of couture. Heck you could get your residency revoked if you don't have a Salty Dawg Saloon and/or an Alaska Grown hoodie, a beat up Carhartt jacket-pant comb, and a pair of Xtratufs in your closet.
But we're Alaskans -- we're tough, we're busy kicking butt, and we live and play in a landscape that would blow a posse of New York fashion models and their fashion-accessory purse dogs into Cook Inlet. So forgive us our fleece fetishes.
Actually don't forgive us, because we're warm and confident, we dress how we live, and we clean up really, really well. (Have you seen the dance floor at Bernie's Bungalow after midnight?) If you're turned on by a certain style, you can find it here. Metros, mademoiselles and manly-men, hippies, hikers and hipsters. And we take their style seriously.
We might be backwoods at times, but we aren't backwards -- we know that appearance is our first impression and if we're single, the entry point to attracting a potential mate.
Personally my heart pitter-patters for a princess in Patagonia and a ponytail. How about you, Wanda?
Oh Wayne, I grow so weary of our ilk blaming bad fashion on the weather and/or athleticism. In fact, I was giddily glad to see Anchorage get slammed for sloppiness. Yes, it's cold and snowy here the vast majority of the year, but is that really an excuse for ladies wearing baseball caps instead of combing their hair? Or guys consistently skipping showers and venturing out in tattered beanies and hoodies?
On more than one occasion, male friends have complained that women up here just don't put in any effort. Their theory: It's because we don't have to. In the Last Frontier, the land of men a-plenty, a woman who registers as a 5 or 6 in NYC suddenly soars to a 9 or 10. I say don't take this fortune for granted. Ladies, lose the ball caps. And guys -- take a pause from your preaching and look in the mirror. You can do better too.
I'm all for outdoor adventures, but when you've come down the mountain, lose the convertible pants and Tevas and put in a little effort before you hit the town. Look around the bar on a Friday night, and half the people there look like they just got done hiking. And I don't mean "hiking" like the dewy-skinned, smiling REI catalog models. I mean sweaty. There is no place for moisture-wicking fabric and sun-protective jackets on the dance floor, party people -- unless you're in the woods, around a keg and camp fire.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne, Wanda respond to city being unfashionable