Here we go again.
Just a week after being named the saddest city in the United States by Men's Health magazine, along comes a survey that lumps the Sunshine City among the nation's worst dressed.
But take heart, St. Petersburg. We share this dubious honor with our friends across the pond in Tampa — and the rest of the region to boot.
LivingSocial, with the help of a third-party research firm, Mandala Research, conducted an online vanity survey, and the findings rate Tampa-St. Petersburg as the "Worst Dressed" region in the country.
So wearing flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts year-round isn't considered couture?
"It was a survey where we polled 4,000 online users nationally, with about 200 coming from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area," said Brendan Lewis, spokesman for LivingSocial, based in Washington, D.C.
The survey was conducted among the top 20 media markets in the country.
"It's self-reported with people judging their own cities," he said.
Sigh. We have ourselves to blame.
Unlike recent obscure surveys naming the city and Eckerd College to unflattering lists, this one was based on responses from folks who actually live here. So we have cyber fashionista neighbors to thank for this honor.
"This is intended to be a lighthearted survey, one of which we do monthly," Lewis said.
LivingSocial is an online daily deals business in the same vein as Groupon. The site offers a discounted deal each day on local restaurants, bars, theaters and travel to its members who are email subscribers. Members have the option of sharing the deal with friends, and if three friends purchase the offer, the original purchasing member gets the offer free.
It's bad enough when residents of the Tampa Bay area are named the saddest in the nation in an obscure survey, but when we put ourselves on such lists, then it becomes clear that we may have self-esteem issues.
It wasn't too hard to find folks who disagree with LivingSocial's findings.
"That's hogwash. As a gentlemen who likes to go out to fine restaurants and bars, I get a feel for what Tampa-St. Pete is wearing, and for the most part, I think we compete with most cities in the country," said Kevin McBride, owner of McB's Men's Clothing Broker in downtown St. Petersburg.
After Miami, Tampa-St. Pete is the coolest place in Florida, said McBride.
"A lot of models live here because of HSN (Home Shopping Network), and downtown St. Pete is growing. I'm very surprised, and I think the poll is inaccurate," he said.
There are others who take the same view.
"I disagree completely. I have helped women dress in the St. Petersburg area, and they are very fashionable," said Suzanne Fisher, a fashion consultant.
"St. Pete is more fashion forward and trend conscious" than Tampa, she said.
According to Lewis, LivingSocial has conducted similar surveys on food trends and Halloween candy. The vanity survey targets the coming year as people begin to think about New Year's resolutions, Lewis said.
"This is a time of year when people have overindulged, and this is a way of getting people to think about getting in shape for the new year. The survey tests the ways they will focus on getting more beautiful," he added.
In addition to fashion and personal appearance questions, the survey also looked at cosmetic procedures.
Responders were asked if they knew of anyone getting Botox, nose jobs, facelifts, and breast or butt implants. The findings from this part of the survey are where the region consistently rated low.
But take heart; some would argue that there's probably more plastic strolling Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa and Beach Drive in St. Petersburg than in most wallets in the region.
Who knows, the vanity survey findings could result in future "deal of the day" offerings.
Sandra J. Gadsden is an assistant metro editor, community news. She can be reached at email@example.com or at (727) 893-8874.