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Top 10 most fashionable cities in the U.S.

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high-fashion  Across the country, there are people who hate to leave the house unless they are looking good. But which cities put the greatest emphasis on their fashion choices?

No one needs to tell you that New York, Los Angeles and Chicago have streets full of high-profile clothing stores. However, there are some unexpected places that also deserve mention among the most fashionable cities in the U.S.

To find these places, MoneyRates.com looked at the number of men's and women's clothing stores in 382 U.S. metropolitan areas, and compared those numbers with the population of each city. Based on this, MoneyRates.com figured out which cities offer the most retail fashion options per capita and presents the top ten below.

Top 10 cities for fashion in the U.S.

  1. Ocean City, New Jersey
    Though Ocean City is relatively small (its population is under 100,000), it makes sense that a seaside community that gets plenty of visitors from the New York City area should offer a thriving retail fashion scene. It tops this chart with roughly 5.4 men's and women's clothing stores per 10,000 adult residents.

  2. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama
    These three cities, which the Census Bureau groups together as a single metropolitan area, might be the real dark horse of this list because, unless you are from Alabama, there's a good chance you have never heard of this area. Still, this is a fast-growing region which offers 4.25 fashion establishments per 10,000 adults, over twice the national average.

  3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
    The gentle color palette of this region bears the name of this town -- Sante Fe colors -- so it is no surprise to find this is a fashion-loving city with about 3.96 clothing stores for every 10,000 adults.

  4. Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey
    Roughly 11 miles north of Ocean City is another resort town that makes the Jersey shore a fertile place for clothing shoppers.

  5. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
    There's a pattern developing here: Clearly people love to shop for clothes when they are on vacation, and this Cape Cod city joins the top ten with just under 3.9 clothes-shopping options per 10,000 adults.

  6. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
    This popular tourist area offers 3.75 men's and women's fashion establishments per 10,000 adult residents.

  7. Hot Springs, Arizona
    You can go hiking in the morning and shopping in the afternoon if you visit this town with 3.64 clothing stores per 10,000 adults.

  8. Brunswick, Georgia
    This city with 3.5 places to buy men's or women's clothing for every 10,000 adults is another example of a seaside town that has more to offer than just sun and sand.

  9. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Florida
    With 3.48 clothing establishments per 10,000 adults, this area edged out Savannah by the slimmest of margins to take ninth place.

  10. Savannah, Georgia
    This picturesque city has been used as a location for several movies. Apparently, the residents like to look as good as their city, and they round out this list of the top cities for fashion in the U.S. by supporting 3.47 clothing stores for every 10,000 adults.

How to keep fashion costs down

If you live in or visit one of the top cities for fashion in the U.S., you may be excited by the fashion choices they offer -- but don't go overboard shopping for clothes. Student loan debt, credit card debt and auto loan debt in the U.S. now all top $1 trillion apiece. This suggests too many Americans have developed the dangerous habit of graduating from college with debt and then making the burden heavier by piling on other forms of debt.

If you have this problem, here are some ways to manage that burden:

  1. Shop for lower credit card rates
    Shoppers reflexively reach for their credit cards when they get to the cashier, but they should stop to think about the interest rates they are paying. Credit card rates are on the rise, and some cards have much higher rates than others.

    Before you go clothes shopping again, take some time to shop around for the most competitive credit card rates, and be sure to reach for the card in your wallet with the lowest rate.

  2. Prioritize paying off credit cards over student loans
    If, like many young Americans, you are carrying both student loan and credit card debt, take a look at the interest rate on each. Chances are, you'll find that your credit card debt carries a much higher rate. This means whenever you have a little extra money, you should pay down the credit card debt first.

    Also, if you have a government-backed student loan, it may have deferment or forbearance features that allow you to reduce or delay the amount you have to pay in times of financial difficulty.

  3. Consider a personal loan for debt consolidation
    On average, personal loans carry a 10.22 percent interest rate compared to the 15.32 percent rate charged on the average credit card balance. This means you might be able to save some money by using a personal loan to pay off some credit card debt. However, you should only do this as part of an overall debt-reduction program and not as a means of facilitating further spending.

Stay fashionable, but stay happy too. Using debt sensibly will help you have some money left in your budget for next year's fashions.

More from MoneyRates.com:

Credit card interest calculator

3 ways debt controls you (and how to take back control)

9 questions to ask before taking on debt

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