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Is Anchorage really America's 'worst-dressed' city?

Alaska Dispatch
Aaron Jansen illustration

Blow out that hockey hair, don your best flannel and put on your most enticing 'smize', Anchorage! Non-resident respondents to a yearly online poll conducted by Travel+Leisure have rated you the least stylish population out of 35 metropolitan areas nationwide.

Poll participants were asked to rate a standard slate of 35 cities on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest, on characteristics from a variety of categories: "People, Type of Trip, Nightlife, Culture, Shopping, Food/Drink/Restaurants, Quality of Life/Visitor Experience, and Best Times to Visit."

Total scores were averaged and rounded to the nearest hundredth, and under the People category's "Stylish" characteristic, Anchorage scored dead last among non-residents with a score of 3.06. Next-worst Salt Lake City, Ut., averaged 3.32.

When resident votes were tallied separately, though, Anchorage came in next-to-last with a score of 3.13. Salt Lake City claimed the worst-dressed crown when it came to residents' style self-perception, with a score of 3.08.

Dr. Miriam Jones, a paleoclimatologist who did a 2-year post-doctoral research gig at University of Alaska Fairbanks, was quoted in the style rankings' introduction explaining, though not exactly defending, Alaska's stereotypical clothing choices:

She said she has traveled in and out of Anchorage “too many times to count” during a two-year research stint. “It’s not uncommon to see oversized parkas with fur-lined hoods and bunny boots, and people aren’t alarmed when a person wearing a ski mask enters a room.” In Alaska, she adds, men sport beards and flannel in the most unironic way possible: to keep frostbite at bay and their appendages attached.

That sounds way more like Fairbanks than Anchorage to Alaska Beat.