No, Irvine is Not the Most Fashionable City in America

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My hometown of Irvine, California, is mostly famous for being one of the most heavily planned communities in America. We are not just boring, we are deliberately and proudly boring. But it turns out that we’re #1 in more than municipal planning. According to the Daily Mail, we are also the most fashionable large city in America. My sister is properly skeptical and asks what’s going on here. “None of the Real Housewives lives in Irvine,” she points out, and the accuracy of the Mail piece is also called into question by the suggestion that Irvine was “made famous by the hit show The OC,” which, as I recall, was set in Newport Beach, not Irvine.

So here’s the scoop: the Mail has its facts, such as they are, right. A site called Bundle, which promises “unbiased, data-driven ratings,” says that Irvine is indeed “an unexpected number one” in its fashion rankings:

We selected the 50 largest cities by population in our data set and created a fashion-conscious index, with 1.0 being average. We based our index on the percentage of “fashion-conscious households” in our sample, which we defined as households that had at least four transactions at top-end designer merchants in the past 30 months.

Okey dokey. Basically, if you have lots of people who buy clothes at expensive stores, that makes you “fashionable.” This is, needless to say, a debatable proposition. What’s more, if you click on “50 Places in the OC that the Fashion-Forward Frequent,” you get lots of shops in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles and virtually none in Orange County. And it turns out that the Bundle folks are also the source of the Mail’s confusion about American TV, calling Irvine “Home of the OC.” So I think we can all take this with a grain of salt. I suspect that even the Irvine Chamber of Commerce will have a hard time making a silk purse out of this particular sow’s ear.

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