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Mike Redmond Column

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 Indiana Not On ‘Worst Dressed’ List

GQ magazine has issued a list of the 40 worst-dressed cities in America, and to my great surprise, Indianapolis is not on it.

Really. While backwater burgs like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles (not to mention Omaha, Salt Lake City and Boulder) are represented, Indianapolis is nowhere to be seen.

Conclusions, anyone?

We might as well get the least-likely out of the way first: That Indianapolis is an extraordinarily well-dressed city.

Hmm. I don’t think that one’s going to fly.

There are well-dressed people in Indianapolis, of course, but let’s face it: The majority of us err on the side of casual. I think this is where the problem begins. It’s fairly easy to agree on what constitutes well-dressed, but casual is open to interpretation. My casual may be someone else’s slobbed-out. Your casual may be someone else’s scandalous.

You could say that this casual attitude toward clothing … no, wait. That would be nudism. Let me start over.

You could say that this attitude toward casual clothing (there, that’s better) is indicative of our easy-going Indiana personalities, and to some extent you’d be right. We are not pretentious people. Most of us would rather stay in our play clothes and leave our school clothes in the closet.

We have what I call the Standard Indiana Guy Uniform: Baggy shirt, preferably an athletic jersey; Jeans or shorts; athletic shoes; and a baseball cap, turned backwards in most cases. You see this in every location, every season, and on all ages. And also on the men.

We also have the Golf Suit, which is similar except the shirt is a polo and the pants are pleated khakis. The hat, if worn, is worn frontwards, and socks are mandatory. This is for dressier occasions, such as formal dinners.

I do believe that we used to dress better. My mother would not take us kids out in public unless we were scrubbed and wearing our “good clothes.” And I don’t just mean for trips downtown. I’m talking about the grocery.

We don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Remember when people wore nice clothes to the ballgame? Heck, remember when they wore nice clothes to church? I have been to funerals where I was the only non-preaching-type person wearing a suit and tie. Saw lots of windbreakers though.

Which gets me to conclusion Number 2: The reason we’re not on the GQ list is because it would be overkill. They dress like this EVERYWHERE nowadays. Change the Colts shirt to the Chiefs and presto, the Indiana Guy Uniform is now the Kansas City Guy Uniform. And you would be wise not to get them mixed up, especially on game day.

And then there’s conclusion Number 3: We finished 41st or lower. I kind of think this is the right one.

My old Latin teacher, Mrs. Grabill, used to say "Vestis virum reddit." (Clothes make the man.) There’s a lot of truth to that. It doesn’t mean that we should all run around looking like GQ guys (or Vogue women) all the time. But we could all probably dress a little nicer once in while, don’t you think?

Oh, and remember that other Latin saying about clothes: Semper ubi sub ubi. (Always wear underwear.)

Just don’t let GQ see it. You might wind up on some list. Or not.




© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.