Sometimes it's just a little too easy to pick on certain cities by regurgitating stereotypes for how its residents behave.
The clothes they wear and the items they buy are simple, data-supported ways to see if certain populations actually conform to the public's impression of them. With Christmas coming up, we can see exactly how some of America's major cities stack up against their stereotypes. True, or not true?
With help from the data crunchers at fashion site Polyvore, we looked at eight metropolises: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Dallas. Polyvore's proprietary data highlights what its fashionista members searched for throughout 2014. You can see pretty clearly that these major towns fall into line.
Polyvore's main demographic tends to be younger, often college-age females who are on the cutting edge of fashion and style. It's not the average crowd but the trendsetters leading the way.
"It was interesting for us to see how larger, national trends—like the '90s movement and festival-inspired outfits—were translated by the Polyvore community within local markets," said Kym Lino, a Polyvore spokeswoman. Below are the most searched items, by city, for 2014. The nicknames for each city's shopping trends were coined by Polyvore's internal staff.
New York City -- "Boho Chic"
Long-sleeve maxi dress
Los Angeles -- " '90s Glam"
Body chain jewelry
Chicago -- "Cold Weather Prep"
Philadelphia -- "Urban Trendsetter"
White maxi dress
San Francisco -- "Modern Hippie"
Jeffrey Campbell wedges
Atlanta -- "Southern Belle Quirky"
Furla candy bag
Lace crop tops
Miami -- "Spicy and Bold Fashion Statements"
Denim pencil skirt
Plunging neckline jumpsuit
Striped one-piece swimsuit
Valentino Rockstud shoes
Dallas/Fort Worth -- "Down-South Fab"
Peep toe booties
Remember that this information shows the most searched-for items, not necessarily the most-purchased.
Lino said that searches from Chicago and Atlanta "were particularly amusing." She said that "Atlanta is known to be a very fashion-forward town so seeing searches for more trendy items was to be expected—but Furla Candy Bags making the top 5 list was certainly a quirky addition." (For those who aren't fashion savvy, the Furla Candy Bag is a luxury Italian handbag made from extremely colorful PVC.)
It was unexpected from Atlanta "because the rest of the items were really connected to national trends, without naming a specific designer or brand," but the Furla bag was "one of the only items searched by name across all our localized searches," and it did not show up in any other market outside Atlanta.
And the Windy City lived up to its name, "where the intense winter this year translated into two different coats making their top-searched list." Yes, Chicago is cold—the most obvious stereotype coming true and being proved by the data.