Australia's most stylish city revealed

Does Melbourne's slightly drab seasonal sense out-style Sydney's more flamboyant fashion cues?
Does Melbourne's slightly drab seasonal sense out-style Sydney's more flamboyant fashion cues?  Photo: Rebecca Hallas

The good-natured rivalry that frequently plays out between Australia’s major cities is generally duked out on the sporting field, and more recently by foodies claiming better coffee, better tapas or whatever.

But as the Aussie gent becomes increasingly aware of style, another trophy is up for grabs – that of the nation’s most stylish lads. And, ladies and (especially) gentlemen, it would appear the scores are in.

According to this totally well-researched and completely reliable study, Sydney has been voted as Australia’s most stylish city. Based on a concept of “data” collected from some 250,000 print and electronic media sources including blogs and social media, The Global Language Monitor’s 10th Annual Survey has rated major cities from around the world according to their sense of style.

Sydney fared surprisingly well at No.8, beating some better-known international trendsetters such as Tokyo, Antwerp and, ironically, both Florence and Milan. Australia’s only other representative on the list was Melbourne, which was left in Sydney’s fashionable dust at No.26 - beaten by New Delhi, Warsaw and Dallas.

The case for Sydney

So is it true? Is Sydney really where it’s at when it comes to all things fashion in Australia?

Some people would agree. Giuseppe Santamaria is the photographer behind a street style photo blog - and recently-launched book of the same name - Men In This Town. Based in the Emerald City, Giuseppe spends his time capturing on film the best of Sydney’s menswear as it happens at ground level. He thinks the city’s strengths lie in the way its male denizens aren’t too afraid to take risks with their fashion.

“Men’s style in Sydney is very eclectic,” explains Santamaria. “It’s a city where men on the mainstream are finally starting to play with fashion. It’s a city of experimentation and trying new things, leading to some flamboyant looks.”

But does that necessarily make it the nation’s most fashionable city?

For all purposes I, too, should be all about Team Sydney since that’s where I live, and professionally it doesn’t hurt to be considered a native of one of the world’s most stylish hubs.

However, the source material used to quantify the aforementioned poll’s results suggests that Sydney’s position in the chart reflects not so much its sense of style, as its ability to take a good selfie.

One of the perks that comes with being a writer is the opportunity to travel widely. Aside from helping me rack up some serious frequent flyer points and mastering the art of finding decent airport coffee, this experience has also given me the chance to see at first-hand how seasonal trends in menswear play out across our major cities and are adapted to fit lifestyle and climate.

Sydney natives, for example, have a flair for colour thanks to a fusion of beach and urban cultures, yet lack the laid-back, unselfconscious cool of Byron Bay. Melburnians may have mastered the art of accessorising their winter wardrobe with the perfect scarf, but Hobart’s burgeoning arts scene has created city with an idiosyncratic approach to style.

Brisbane strikes a pose

Wade Foxx, the CEO and co-founder of Brisbane-based online talent agency MODA Creative, agrees the fashions found across Australia’s major cities are influenced as much by global trends as the cultural oeuvre that permeates each region.

“In Sydney I tend to see more nautical references, because of the harbour,” Foxx says. “Whereas Brisbane tends to be a little bit more relaxed compared to other cities. That being said, there are still a few pockets where everyone is a little more upmarket – New Farm and West End, for example.”

And south of the border ...

When it comes to the thorny question of which city he thinks is the most fashionable, Foxx isn’t afraid to pick a side.

“Melbourne. Melbourne, for me, is the fashion capital,” he says.

“The climate there is so changeable that people tend to buck the dressing-for-climate belief and dress really fashionably. They just wear lots of layers so that they are prepared for any eventuality.”

Where do you think Australia’s most stylish men live?

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