The United States is widely considered one of the world’s leaders in fashion and design. Not all cities are chock-full of stores selling apparel and other fashion-related items, though. In fact, 62.3% of all U.S. cities have less than 50 of such stores. Of course, having limited access to clothing stores can hinder one’s ability to stay up-to-date on the latest fashion trends, and in 50 cities residents are at a serious disadvantage.
24/7 Wall St. set out to discover the least fashionable U.S. cities. We created an index of five measures: the number of fashion-related stores such as Macy’s and Target; the number of luxury brand shops such as Gucci and Prada; fashion store headquarters; trade shows; and the number of fashion designers in each city. The presence of these features helps approximate an area population’s concern with fashion.
Following fashion trends and shopping for new styles are not activities limited to people with money, but a higher income certainly helps. Most of the cities that do not have a single luxury brand store, one headquarter of a big-name brand, or a lone fashion designer are low-income areas. Therefore, to more accurately identify how fashionable a community really is and to avoid equating low-income areas with the least fashionable, only cities with median annual household income greater than the comparable national median of $55,322 were considered on this list.
In addition, cities on this list could not be located within any of the metropolitan areas that include places listed on our list of the 50 most fashionable cities.
The metropolitan area rule is an especially important distinction here as it eliminates cities within close proximity of other cities stacked with fashion-centric stores. Inevitably, the cities with the lowest numbers of fashion-related stores — which include anything from large department stores to smaller, niche shopping places like boutiques and shoe stores — have notably smaller populations. All but one city on this list have populations of less than 100,000 people.