From Bob Unwin:
i mean style in clothing, but the same question could be asked about taste in architecture, interior design and other domains. (blog post by a fashion person: http://bangsandabun.com/2010/03/europeans-dress-better-than-americans-fact/)
1. greater average distance to a major fashion center. both physical and cultural distance.
2. less urbanization [these points 1&2 were maybe more important in the past]
3. distance from europe and few of the relevant european style-leaders emigrating
4. different signaling aims (more internal cultural diversity and weaker class distinctions; male clothing needing to be less ‘gay’ and more conventional).
5. any relation to the late blooming of US visual art and music on the world scene?
6. american is more informal in style and has been an influential exporter of informal styles (this doesn’t undermine the general point about the style difference)
related question: are there any fashionable american economists? i’d be especially interested in any that dress like artists or literary intellectuals.