Who's Got More Class Than a Bunch of GQ Hipsters?

By now, we’ve all heard that GQ named Boston the worst-dressed city in America. And we have to admit, the mag has a fair point about “unfortunate coeds” clinging to that eye-gougingly awful trend of leggings as pants long after we were hoping it would go the way of the VHS tape. But most people wear something unfortunate at some point in their lives, and, luckily, it’s as easily forgotten as everything you learned in Baby Bio.

But if you put something offensive on the Internet ― like, for example, GQ‘s declaration that “Boston suffers from a kind of Style Down Syndrome” ― it never goes away. Not even if you delete the sentence from the online version, as the magazine has done without explanation (but not before drawing the ire of advocacy groups across the state).

And you know what? We’re not even that miffed by the takedown ― because while the hipsters over at GQ are poking fun at our socks-and-boat-shoes style, we’re raking in other rankings, like being the most globally innovative city in the world and having one of the best hospitals in the country. You know, important things.

So we’ll keep our pleated khakis and our boot-cut jeans, thank you very much, and we’ll wear them proudly. Because we know where the real bad taste lies.

 

Marquee photograph by Yuri Arcurs/123rf

  • sw

    For the record, I love boot-cut jeans.

    • Tanya Pai

      Agreed – a lot of the time they beat the pants off skinny jeans (pun definitely intended).

  • http://blog.styleboston.tv JGC

    Being the most globally innovative city in the world and being well-dressed are not mutually exclusive, though that is a classic Bostonian parry.

    And, really, was it necessary for you, a Managing Editor, to marginalize fashion by implying it is not, in your words, important? And on the Boston Magazine blog dedicated to style?

    Frankly, GQ may have used incendiary language, but the declaration was fairly spot on. To respond to such a criticism with a schoolyard ‘but we’re smarter than you silly fashion people’ taunt is anything but intelligent.

    • Caroline

      Well said, JGC!

    • Tanya Pai

      Thanks for your comments, Joseph. Naturally I was not trying to marginalize the importance of fashion; I think Boston is an incredibly stylish city that also happens to have many other great things going for it. This post was merely meant to be a lighthearted response to GQ’s hyperbolic argument and the genuinely bad taste used in comparing Bostonians’ style to a chromosomal disorder.

      • http://blog.styleboston.tv JGC

        It’s a little late to retreat into Boston Magazine’s fortress of presumed erudition, Tanya.

        You dedicated only an aside to what was the critical (and actually newsworthy) issue here: that GQ had employed utterly distasteful language in its criticism of Bostonian’s style. Instead of developing that point, you employed your own deplorable tactic: responding to a tasteless taunt with a tasteless, and largely non sequitur taunt, if one veiled by less offensive language.

        And, really, GQ Hipsters? That doesn’t even make sense.

        Or, as my late grandmother used to say, those who have class certainly do not speak of it.

        • http://sharynandco.com sharyn Fireman

          Oooo. We had the same grandmother.

  • JGC

    It’s a little late to retreat into Boston Magazine’s fortress of presumed erudition, Tanya.

    You dedicated only an aside to what was the critical (and actually newsworthy) issue here: that GQ had employed utterly distasteful language in its criticism of Bostonians’ style. Instead of developing that point, you employed your own deplorable tactic: responding to a tasteless taunt with a tasteless, and largely non sequitur taunt, if one veiled by less offensive language.

    And, really, GQ Hipsters? That doesn’t even make sense.

    Or, as my late grandmother used to say, those who have class certainly do not speak of it.

  • http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/ MC Slim JB

    There’s a big difference between trendily dressed and well dressed. Boston doesn’t do either well. I think what’s more noteworthy about the piece (which I read mostly as satire, not serious cultural critique) is that it busts on just about the entire country, and the point is well taken.

    It’s not just that American men don’t dress well, but that they dress the same bad way all the time. The biggest issue to me is this lazy, one-size-fits-all attitude, the complete disappearance of our sense of occasion. We wear the same ugly-assed, shapeless, cheaply-made clothes and stupid baseball caps whether we’re going to a nice restaurant, a funeral, a court appearance, work, Sunday church services, the corner tavern to watch the game, the back yard to mow the lawn, or the store for a twelve-pack. That ugly, cheap crap is only appropriate for a few of those situations.

    It’s a cultural thing: I don’t see it changing any time soon. But I look at pics of my grandfather’s generation, and I think, “Too bad it’s a fallen world.”

    • SH

      I agree. I too read the GQ article as mostly satire albeit with some funny and spot-on observations about Boston (I didn’t read the other cities but chuckled at what consisted of the top 10).

      There’s bad dressers everywhere. But I don’t think it’s the lazy, one-size-fits-all attitude or the lack of care. People do care. What we decide to put on in the morning, what clothes to purchase, and how to carry ourselves in our clothes (especially for the culprits in question), it’s all very intentional. I think many Bostonians truly believe that they are not only dressed for the occasion but dressed well. The “bad dressed” label is ascribed by others, not by avowal from the culprit in question.

      The problem is beyond what people are wearing but the unimaginative, narrow-minded yet self-important attitude regarding style (being well dressed has little to do with expensive things or “cheap crap”).

      I agree, it’s not changing any time soon.

      PS: Well said again, JGC!

  • maxdaddy

    OK, I’ll admit to having read the whole GQ article. There were some funny lines, if you admire snide hipster dissing. But since the 40 cities pilloried included a huge percentage of the US population, GQ could have saved a lot of trees by just saying what everyone knows it would say anyhow: most Americans dress, er um, with an indiiference to style that would flummox most GQ readers. So you have to figure that all those words were about GQ’s show-off spitefulness. And we are surpised? GQ, like almost all publications concerned with style, are all about marketing, and marketing is hard when its objects are cool with how they look. If it cannot manufacturing anxiety in its audience about appearance, GQ and its like go down the drain.

  • JGC

    Note to those who have commented: verbosity is not a substitute for a well-reasoned argument. An attractive veil, but little else.

    As for ‘fashion’ here: it opens an interesting dialogue about the inexhaustible commercialism of the industry these days.

    I recently interviewed the founders of StyleLikeU, a website which shifts its focus from fashion to style, and the idiosyncratic exploration of style. The mother, of the mother-daughter founding duo, worked at Vogue during the Diana Vreeland days, and couldn’t help but lament the extent to which the industry has gone from being an exaltation of individuality to a hyperstylized barrage of advertisements, sometimes masquerading as editorial or opinion, and sometimes not even bothering to.

    You’ll notice a glaring absence of such ridiculousness as ‘best-dressed,’ ‘worst-dressed,’ and ‘hipsters.’

    • Rob

      Raise your hand if you have any idea what JGC is “arguing.”

      • Rob

        Okay. I feel sorry for anyone who walks around feeling genuinely annoyed that complete strangers aren’t dressing to suit their personal aesthetic. It sounds like a really sad life.

      • http://sharynandco.com sharyn Fireman

        Style and fashion has to do with who you are not what you are. Who would read GQ anyway unless the city you live in took a personal hit?
        I have lived in many places. We live to dress in comfort and for friends, business people we hang with. Miami was the WORST and I was embarrassed to take my grown children from Boston into some restaurants.
        Now I have to sign off to gather my Prada’s(?) for a day at the beach. (**) You are spot on!

  • Sarah

    I really think that JGC needs to get a life.