Phoenix Style

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Paul usually writes about technology, but he writes about travel too.  And he’s currently on a year-long ramble around the states.  How then, could he write about both men’s style and travel when he’s going to be living out of a van and skipping showers?  By interviewing people in the places he visits and getting their take on the local look.  Follow his other adventures on drivinginertia.com.

Phoenix is a modern boom town. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in the US, but it got rocked in the housing crisis.  There are exits built along the freeways that lead to dead developments.  But Phoenix, ahem, will rise again.  I talked with a bunch of guys to learn about its style.  Their average age was 30-something, none was originally from Arizona — both are common traits of residents. 

Can you describe Phoenix fashion?

Well, nearly everybody here is from elsewhere – they’re people who want to get out of the winter cold of the rest of the country.  It’s a big fashion melting pot – people from the east coast, California, everywhere.  But everybody likes to be outside.  We’ve got golfers, hikers, cyclists, skateboarders – everything.

Do a person’s outdoor activities influence their style?

Definitely.  Take golf; of course there are the cliché retired residents in goofy pants, but you see high-performance polos at basically every office.  They’re business casual.  People golf after work.  A lot of offices start early to line up with the east coast better.  There’s nobody in my office after 5PM.  There are a ton of golfers.

Vans: hiking boots and business casual footwear.

Vans: hiking boots and business casual footwear.

What about skateboarding?

That’s the California influence.  Vans are business casual too in a lot of offices.

And they’re hiking shoes too.  I see their imprint on every trail.

Definitely.  You never know when you’re hiking – you may just stumble onto a half-pipe or something.

What about the locals?

This is still very much a western town.  Not everybody here works in front of a computer all day.  If you see somebody that looks like they’d carry a gun, they’re definitely carrying a gun.  People are bull-riders.  Bars have live bull-riding days, as in real-live bulls.  The top PBR guys you see are local boys.  They rock the cowboy look.

PBR?

Professional Bull Riders.  Like on ESPN.

What else is important to a person’s style here?

Cars.  What you drive is probably the most important style choice a resident makes here.  It’s certainly the most expensive.  The Nissan Xterra is popular along with the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Jeep Wrangler for the adventure-type. Golfers seem to pick BMWs or Audis or VWs.  You spend a lot of time driving here because everything is so spread out, so car choice is important.  When you drive everywhere, it’s how you make a first impression.

Got another take on Phoenix style?  Let us know in the comments.   And if you want to keep track of Paul’s other travel adventures, check out drivinginertia.com or follow @drivinginertia on Twitter.  Top Phoenix photo credit: jjwright85.  Camelback Mountain photo credit: runnr_az.  Maserati Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield.