The Easiest Cities in America to Be Fashionable

Source: Chaay_Tee / Getty Images

According to Coco Chanel, one of the most popular fashion designers in history, “The best things in life are free. The second best are very, very expensive.” Maintaining a fashionable wardrobe can be a pricey endeavor. 

The ability to be fashionable comes down to two basic factors — having a plethora of shopping options, and having disposable income. 24/7 Tempo concentrated on the first factor and ranked the easiest cities in the United States to be fashionable, based on an index of five measures: the number of fashion-related establishments, the number of luxury brand outlets, the number of fashion company headquarters, the number of trade shows, and total employment of fashion designers.

All cities on the list have a higher than average concentration of apparel stores to choose from — including stores of some of the most successful brands in America — per number of residents. The stores considered encompass anything from department stores to shoe, sleepwear, or used clothing stores. The top cities on the list also have multiple luxury brand outlets, fashion company headquarters, trade shows, and employed fashion designers, which together signify a culture that emphasizes fashion. 

Most of the easiest cities to be fashionable have a median annual household income higher than the national median of $57,652, according to the American Community Survey 2013-2017 5-year average. Having higher incomes increases residents’ ability to afford clothing and keep up with designer trends. Although there is a correlation between income in an area and the amount of retail stores, a few fashionable cities on this list such as Los Angeles and Miami actually have some of the lowest median household incomes in the country.

Methodology

To identify the easiest cities to be fashionable, 24/7 Tempo created an index of five measures: the numbers of fashion-related establishments, luxury brand outlets, fashion company headquarters, and trade shows, as well as total employment of fashion designers in each of the 988 towns and cities tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

The number of fashion-related establishments was obtained from Yelp in August 2019 and the category includes anything from sportswear and sleepwear stores to vintage, thrift and shoe stores. 

The number of fashion companies headquartered in each city came from retail information company Chain Store Guide’s “Top 100 Apparel Specialty Stores Ranked by Industry Sales.”

The number of trade shows held in each city in 2018 came from Startup Fashion, an online community that helps independent fashion brands create successful businesses.

The number of fashion designers employed in each Metropolitan Statistical Area’s principal city came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program and is as of May 2018, the most recent data available.