300 Sunny Days in Colorado

Susie Lindau

Susie Lindau
Boulder, Colorado, USA
April 11
Writer and illustrator
I am a Boulder writer who loves adventure both real and imagined. Come with me. It's always a Wild Ride! I finished a paranormal thriller based on my own experiences. Creepy, right?


AUGUST 8, 2011 10:21AM

In Defense of Rankings, Yoga Pants, and Just Going Naked

Rate: 25 Flag
Boulder's Pearl Street Mall on a Friday night 
GQ Magazine recently ranked Boulder as the 40th worst dressed city in America. On face value that sounded pretty bad until I read 40th meant that 39 other cities were worse. As I clicked to the right, the numbers got lower and I realized we were in good company, but I gasped when I clicked on #5) Manhattan. Wait a second. Manhattan? That fine city embodies the heart of American fashion whose pulse we rely on with a beat that strikes a rhythm for the rest of the 49 states and …okay… I will calm myself. Number #4) was Chicago, #3) Pittsburgh, #2) L.A., and the all-time worst-dressed city, drum roll please, #1) Boston. "Boston is like America's Bad-Taste Storm Sewer: all the worst fashion ideas from across the country flow there, stagnate, and putrefy."

Okay, I admit the Republic of Boulder should own its worst-dressed ranking. For years we have been known for our tie-dyed hippies who have recently traded in their Birkenstocks for Keens. Some Boulderites spend a lot of money to look like they just got done hiking a fourteener.  When I first moved out here from Wisconsin almost 25 years ago, (no city was picked from this state –surprised?), I included a dress code on my party invitations since many guests would show up in the same jeans and t-shirt they had picked up dog poo in earlier in the day. During the weekday, I was shocked to see women running around in workout clothes. Back in Madison we changed into nice outfits after working out. Yes, people from Wisconsin work out too. Slowly I got used to this Western casual dress code and now I can be found in a tennis skirt after a match while picking out a cantaloupe at Whole Foods or in yoga pants after working out while running errands on Pearl Street. My theory is that “Casual Friday” was so popular it spread throughout the week and then across the country like wildfire.

I will acknowledge some of Boulder’s fashion short-comings, but must defend some of the statements made in this article written by Nurit Zunger. Strolling through this charming university town, you are most likely to find three major categories of clothing: 1) anything made by North Face 2) anything made by Patagonia 3) fanny packs.

Seriously, fanny packs? They went out of style when all the elderly started wearing them to fast-walk unencumbered around the mall.

The next statement is just ridiculous. "The observant eye will also spot unmistakable seasonal trends, such as Adidas for Fall, Crocs for Spring, and Uggs for Summer (we have no explanation for this)."

Well that’s because it is also a falsehood. Adidas are worn year round. Crocs are not a trend around here unless you are under the age of 10. Even though adult Boulderites own at least one pair of Crocs since they are headquartered here and they practically give them away at warehouse sales, they would never be caught outside their yard wearing them since they are so 5 years ago. Uggs worn in summer, are you kidding me? First of all I thought this was a men’s fashion magazine. Women do not wear them on the summer sandy beaches like the Australian company intended, but in the winter snow. Did Nurit actually come to Boulder to observe us before writing this article?

He continues: "These are often accompanied by Boulder's year-round go-to accessory, the wheatgrass shot (sometimes paired with an unidentifiable vegan "cookie"). Yet of Boulder's 100,000 people, about 30,000 are students, some 99.9% are blonde, and all of them in better shape than you."

I will agree that we eat well, but I would say the bike helmet is a more common accessory. 99.9% blonde? I think the number must be down in the 80th percentile somewhere.


He concludes with: "This town is always obnoxiously flaunting its 'fittest-place-in-the-country' awards, and you will be hard-pressed to find one person here, including your 85-year-old grandmother, without a six-pack. It is, in fact, a worst-dressed city that looks best naked. So Boulderites, do your fellow citizens a favor: next time you reach for the biking-shorts-and-sneakers as eveningwear combo, just take it all off."

We are too busy working out to flaunt our “fittest” ranking, but I agree with the second statement and have been obliterated by some of those 85-year-old grandmothers in tennis. It is amazing how they can move on the court. One of them flashed her stomach at me when she overheated, but I wish six-pack abs had graced my view. You won’t catch me taking it all off, but Nurit, please feel welcome to come to Boulder for its Naked Pumpkin Run in October!

 Should your city be on the list? 


 First photo by S. Lindau

Second photo from  http://www.keepboulderweird.org/

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I moved to Phoenix from Denmark. I had moved there from Santa Fe, and had been chided for leaving the house wearing casual clothes when going out to meet friends. I learned to always look nice, show you are making an effort, and the moved here. I still cringe looking at what people (don't) wear to the supermarket- short shorts, high heels, skimpy tank tops that shouldn't have been selected with or without bras. Apres yoga is suddenly more tasteful, it usually covers something. I live in a neighborhood full of trophy wives and their über athletic, very tall, mostly blond children, and it is de rigueur to show up wearing your volley ball shorts and knee pads to get coffee so that people know you play volleyball. Turns out, the sports outfits often conceal more than the silky handkerchief tops.
So true Oryoki! I remember when going bra-less was in style. I am glad that trend is over. Although if you watch women's tennis, those tops can be very revealing!!! Don't they know about the invention of sport's bras? Hahaha!
I wear Khaki shorts, an old t-shirt and flops. The older people (I'm still a babe in the woods) wear anything from Sears and J.C. Penny. As for exercise, "forgettaboutit"~
I think that has become the standard attire across the country Scanner. I got to believe this GQ article had to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
Thanks for reading!
yes here.. if i see one more pink elastic waist pair of pants I will scream.
FANNY PACKS?? I told that to Steve s mum how awful it was and she had a hissy fit on me hahaha
Great post! It's always interesting to see what outsiders think of your city. I play tennis too, so sometimes I am found in a tennis skirt. L.A. is filled with too-skimpy outfits and tons of yoga pants!
Linda, Pink elastic pants?? I would be screaming with you! Hahaha
My kids wouldn't even use fanny packs when they were young because they were so dorky!!

Thanks Christina. California had 3 cities on the list! The times they are a changin'.
Neil I think people all over the US are wearing the same type of outfits. I haven't seen a suit and tie on a Friday night for a while.
Back in the day, we got dressed up to go everywhere!
I love seeing young women in sundresses--but what do I know?
Boulder may rank badly but I think no place tops "casual " dress or undress as well as Eugene, Oregon (lived there for 14 months).

Very nice piece.
Me too Sarah! I love your new avatar BTW!!

I would love to go there sometime Mary. If it makes you feel better, Portland made the list at #36!!!
St. Paul was #24, citing the hairstyle of one of its most famous residents F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not sure how they ranked it now for a man who has been dead since 1940. Minneapolis wasn't even on the list, I guess they moved into the 21st Century.
rated with love
Everything changed since I was a youngin. Back then we couldn't go downtown to shop on Sat. without wearing our Sunday best. I love to get dressed up to go to the symphony and when I see people there in jeans it drives me nuts. Guess I'm really showing my age. -R-

This is a great post.

Chicago was ranked number four on this list! Pish posh! I really do find it unfair that the entire city was blamed just because I run about town dressed the way I do. :)

:: reaches into her Rising Tide purse for a tissue. ::
Personally, I miss the days of braless girls. Still I notice that Dowell is not selected either. Worst dressed in the world? Maybe, if we could just get reviewed.
Miami, Fla. will never make any of those because as saying goes, "you're in Miami now. The rest of the country don't matter." We dress however we want to. Rated for nudity.
Meant to say " make any of those lists". Damn mobile device.
This was the most random article RP, but I think they were crazy like foxes since it really got everyone's attention. I bet GQ sales are way up!!

I agree Christine there is a place for dressing up for sure. In the summer casual attire reigns supreme!!

Hahaha! Diary you are hilarious!!!
Boulderites are poorly dressed? My community looks like a Walmart video.

Have you ever worn Keens? I just bought a pair after an airline lost my Chacos, and they are the most comfortable shoes I've ever had. Also the ugliest, I admit, but for a casual active lifestyle, they're cool like sandals, they keep debris out from under your feet, they prevent stubbed toes and deflect snakebites, you can wade in them, and they feel great.
Heh. "Wheatgrass shots"? I think that requires some kind of explanation.

Naked Pumpkin Run sounds like a lot of fun, though I wouldn't try it in NY.

And hey - Twitter works! I saw your Tweet and figured you probably cross-posted here.
I bet Bobbot! Hahaha!

Trudge Miami is #9!!!
Thanks for stopping by to read High Lonesome!
Husband just bought a pair and I made him go back to the car last Friday night and take his white socks off! Hahaha! I want to get a pair now too.
Thanks Mantalk! I did and your Tweet works too since that's how I found you this morning! Hahaha!
I like the way the Colorodans look.- the healthy hiker looking ones not the hippies. I'm desperately casual so I'd be happy there clotheswise. I think it's so funny that they came up with such a study. Great post. Much to think about.
I guess to follow Fernsy, I will say I must be trending as I had keens a few years ago when I started kayaking because of the water/trail cross over. Just one pair of sandals. I don't wear them anywhere but biking, kayaking or trail walking. They are ugly but comfy and I don't stub my toes. Hey. When you are over 50 I say wear whatever feels good. I leave the platform wedgies to my daughter.
Nurit Zunger should spend a few hours on State Street in Madison. He could view the tie-dye fashion of the sixties, paired with Ugg boots.
Thanks Fersy! I agree with the healthy outdoorsy look. My friend from Madison orders the clothes we have on Pearl Street through the internet!!

Here Here Rita!! I bought a cute pair of high-heeled sandals in the beginning of the summer and have only worn them twice!!

Catherine are you in Madison??? Love it. You are so right. I used to work at a women's clothing boutique on State Street!
followed fernsy and Rita Shibr.
If you don't wear panties? Wild!
I no wear underpants since war.

They are scratchy and need washed.
Boxer briefs make youth get senile.
I'd rather eat Boston Cream pies.

There are lawyers who spoof too.
No walk in the city with handcuffs.
Walk naked in Colorado with whip.

Visit the Bolder, Colorado distillery.
Mountain Honey Mead is honeymoon.
I heard there was a big pot bust. Bust?
No wear a silly braw. 65,00 pot bushes.
I read that on Yahoo. It was who? FBI?

The harvested pot goes right out to streets.
Have you ever seen a pot bonfire nude party?
No way.
Never tend a honeybee apiary if your naked.
The penis can swell as big as a bib beautiful
The male dupe swells as big as a tennis ball.
It can grow as cubby as a Lady's softball asap.
The honeybee stinger has to be pulled out slow.
It still hurts. It makes the penis-dupe very itchy.
OH ART! That naked photo was worth a thousand words and you wrote some great ones. Hahaha!
the reason i wear clothes is
the same reason i have for a car:
to get me from here to there.
i am usually "here", due to agoraphobic tendencies,
so my use for clothing is: so i can go downstairs without
the big fat potbellied guy without a shirt,
and the other guy, also without a shirt,
seeing me nude.

but! i DO remember being concerned about such things!
in fact, i still AM concerned about others' clothing:
not so much mens' as womens'. Lots of joggers and bicyclist gals
here. I am on good terms with them. I will pass on your advice.

Well, my take on your advice! :)
Thanks James! It is a fun subject since bloggers here are from all over the place!
JR you are a fashion maven!!!! How creative!

I think the GQ writers really had fun with this. I think they picked places that either had a reputation or a media icon of some kind.

Portland sounds like quite a place....whoa!
Okay, I'll say it: I love yoga pants. I wore them to breakfast, I wore them to lunch, and I'm wearing them now. I might even wear them for coffee later! : ) My theory is that this article is like the intentional misnaming of Iceland and Greenland: it's meant to keep people away from the listed cities. Let the shallow fashionistas shy away from the gorgeous mountains and clear rivers of Boulder; let them all move to -- where? Columbus maybe? ; )
JJ I think you figured it out!! Columbus?!!!
You'd be hard-pressed to find an Aussie wearing Ugg Boots on the beach in summer here too! Nope! Winter is when we wear them!!!

Good post, Susie. I hear you loud and clear.
Thanks for reading Little Kate! I will pass that on to my sister who sells them. The company originally told her that is where they were to be worn. I couldn't believe it myself! I will pass that along.
What!!!! They told her that's where they're to be worn?! NO WAY!!!!

We've always worn them in winter down here!
Kate - That is too funny!! Maybe it is what the designer had in mind, but it never took off??? Who knows...Next time I write about down under trends I will PM you first! Hahaha!
Susie, it cracked me up when the Daily Camera covered this story. How dare GQ suggest that we would ever wear Uggs in the summer! Geez. I love that I can go grocery shopping with bike shorts and a T-shirt on. And I especially love that I don't care. Growing up in an area where September meant absolutely no more white shoes or purses, Boulder is a breath of fresh air. I consider it compliment that GQ found our fashion sense in question. As for the Annual Naked pumpkin run, the moralistic prudes of the city powers that be ruined that for every good and decent nude Pumpkin runner everywhere. Geez. Great post.
Thanks Mary!
My daughter ran it last year and said some people pushed it to the limit with pasties and what-not (not much!). The majority wore sports bras.
Any publicity is good publicity right???