As editor here at the Clarion, my email address gets listed in numerous public relations catalogues, guides and databases, which means I get tons of interesting and not so interesting emails in my inbox on a daily basis.
The topics and content vary. I get several a day from our various elected officials, letting me know that whatever action they have just taken was in the name of standing up for Alaska’s interests and a vote for truth, justice and the American way. I get essays, statements and press releases from activist groups across the political spectrum. I get pitches for stories on every kind of book, new product or program you can imagine. I even get updates on the touring schedule for the Oak Ridge Boys. (A note to Oak Ridge Boys fans: still no Alaska dates.)
Most of the time, the most tedious part of my day is sorting through all that email, separating the wheat from the chaff. But the subject line of one email recently caught my attention. It read, “Attention Fashion Editor.”
Sometimes, when I see something clever, I chuckle to myself. This was one of those times when I saw something and had a good, hearty guffaw.
My first thought when seeing that email was to look around my newsroom to determine if we have someone on staff who is up on fashion enough to be a fashion editor, which also made me chuckle. As I’m sure most of you know, “fashion” has a whole different meaning in Alaska. We tend to take a more pragmatic approach our clothing choices, to put it gently. No point in wearing dry-clean only slacks during break-up, for example.
Here at the Clarion, we have a business casual dress code for those of us who interact with the public, and even that can be open to interpretation. For example, depending upon the weather and the day’s assignments, XtraTufs or bunny boots just might be the perfect accoutrement to those khaki pants.
I’m pretty sure that fashion in Alaska includes something plaid for just about every occasion — except for those occasions which require a loud Hawaiian shirt, which everyone seems to have in their wardrobe as well.
And check out any group photo of Alaska officials. Even if they’re all wearing jackets and ties, I’d be willing to bet that there’s at least one wearing hiking boots.
I remember my first formal occasion here in Alaska. I dug out the job interview suit my parents got me when I finished college, and one of my four or five ties. (I still have all those ties — they’re in the back of the closet somewhere.) My wife put on a nice cocktail dress. We arrived at the banquet to find a few other folks dressed up — but also discovered that in Alaska, “formal” could just mean the Carhartts without the duct tape (XtraTufs go with them, too).
I have lived here long enough that my wardrobe has become Alaskanized. I have khaki pants to go with all of my plaid shirts. I pick my work shoes based on durability, traction and water repellency, rather than style. And I have a pair of Carhartts that I keep nice, for special occasions.
As for that emailed press release, it was for a new line of women’s swimwear — or more accurately, women’s check-me-out-while-I-lie-in-sun-by-the-pool-wear.
I wonder if XtraTufs would go with that.
Clarion editor Will Morrow can be reached at email@example.com.