Provo, home to the third-largest private university in the nation, 2002 Winter Olympics venue Peaks Ice Arena and world-class outdoor recreation has been granted a new national recognition.
Provo was recently ranked 15th in “The 40 Worst Dressed Cities in America” by GQ magazine. Salt Lake City also made the list at number eight. Each city’s fashion crimes were summarized in a short paragraph full of stereotypes. The publicity scheme has earned GQ a lot of buzz, both complimentary and retaliatory, from residents of the 40 cities.
Described by GQ associate editor Andrew Richdale as the “foothills of Mormonia,” Provo style was slammed for the uniform of LDS missionaries. The fashion culprits named were “billowing short-sleeved shirts” and “monster-width ties.”
Tyler Hansen is the manager at Missionary Mall, the fastest-growing LDS missionary outfitter in the world. He said the Missionary Mall focuses on a combination of durability, so the clothing will last the 18 to 24 months, and appropriate style. He said the company wants missionaries to feel comfortable and not worry about what they are wearing.
“The purpose of the missionaries having their set uniform of a white shirt and tie and a suit is first and foremost that they aren’t attracting unwanted attention to them and what they’re wearing,” Hansen said. “It’s to make them look clean cut and sharp to match the message that they have.”
Hansen said he has heard a common saying that LDS missionaries are the second-most attractive men in uniform, right after UPS delivery men.
GQ may not have chosen the best sample population in Provo’s missionaries. The Provo MTC is designed to accommodate up to 4,000 missionaries at full capacity and there are several missionaries serving within Provo city. However, these missionaries make up a very small portion of Provo’s population of approximately 113,000. BYU students, in comparison, have a population around 34,000
Ashley Moser, a junior studying broadcast journalism, said missionaries should not be judged for fashion because they sacrifice so much to serve people. Although she acknowledges Provo does have fashion faux pas, she does not agree with GQ’s overall judgment of Provo.
“Provo is more well known for modest BYU students,” Moser said. “BYU fashion is a little more conservative, but the people who put time into and care about what they look like stand out. People that can make modest clothes look fashionable should be recognized for their fashion innovations.”