Shame on Travel +Leisure magazine. For a publication that considers itself the authority on the subject of travel, its supposed survey of “America's Worst Dressed People” (June 2012), which cites San Antonio in the five slot among other supposed fashion offenders like Anchorage, Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta, demonstrates only that it subscribes to stereotypes and un-researched findings. Looking into this story, I found that the metric used to reach their conclusions were super strategic and intelligent. Not. Instead, following the current trend of opinion-as-fact articles, T+L asked readers to vote which city is the most fashionable. Then they called it a “survey,” without confirming whether or not voters had been to all cities in all 50 states.
I’m assuming that the purpose of reading T+L in the first place is to get expert advice about travel, but now we’re getting expert advice from people who’ve probably never left their computers, let alone traveled to Alaska. The brilliant “Worst Dressed” city descriptions that do not coincide with the survey or its findings are pretty random too: “San Antonio is known for rodeos, not runways. Take the famous San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, a three-week extravaganza at which you won’t feel comfortable unless you’re suited up in western attire — from your head (one of those sweet hats) to your toes (cowboy boots).” Missing from the quote is the fact that Texans all ride horses to work and milk the cow at 5:30 in the morning.
But what’s most confusing about the survey is that the destination photographs (with the exception of the cover story photograph of Anchorage) do not showcase any actual people in the named cities — let alone unfashionable people — which is the purpose of the entire survey. In fact, I’m almost certain that the destination photographs were stolen from the Yahoo! travel page or my friend Sarah’s blog. The San Antonio photograph featured the River Walk, an area of town with a pretty good sampling of people that aren’t even from San Antonio. Hopefully San Antonio was not being judged based upon a frumpy tourist in a T-shirt and flip flops headed to Mi Tierra right before hitting up the “Shamu and Friends Show” at Sea World.
Travel+Leisure’s survey, “America’s Worst Dressed People,” should be changed to “America’s Worst Survey,” or even, “America’s Worst Gimmick to Keep Readers and Traffic.” At least Cosmo’s Quiz is entertaining. And there I get to learn what kind of Cosmo girl I am in the end.