In May 2012, young 27-year-old Mark Zuckerberg wore a sweatshirt instead of a shirt and tie to meet with potential investors for Facebook's Initial Public Offering, to the dismay of well-dressed financial analysts around the world.
With his casual wardrobe, Zuck entered the pantheon of great nerd technology entrepreneurs; famous in part for the "uniforms" they wear (or wore).
Steve Jobs' uniform, well stocked with dozens of black turtlenecks, denim pants, and tennis, was endearing and charming. He was comfortable and disguised the ambitious genius who dressed them.
Bill Gates' disheveled hair and his confident lenses cemented his nerd image almost as much as his previously ubiquitous operating system.
Steve Wozniak's old- fashioned, scruffy wardrobe that looks like it came out of the 80's and 90's gives him an air of adorable, jovial, computer-loving prodigy not necessarily in fashion.
The geeks like Zuckerberg do not have time to discuss their wardrobe because their work consumes their minds. Whether it's computer programmers, software developers who are particularly focused are not aware of the visual impression they create.
Especially in professional's circles, clothing matters. Would you trust an engineer who was not wearing a pair of sturdy rubber-soled shoes? What employee of the NASA mission control center would not wear a well-ironed shirt to work?
There are micro-communities of engineers, scientists, and programmers in their expertise that develop communicative nuances through their attire. Maybe these intelligent people still laugh sappy or talk inappropriately loud and fast when excited, but never dreamed of wearing a pair of pants to work because they may think it is offensive.
Dressing up and looking professionally astute is not as valued in nerd circles as being technically capable. For example, if an engineer presents himself to a board in an impeccable suit and tie, other engineers in the room might assume that he does not bring anything significant to the conversation and is probably a manager.
Many engineers understand that capable people do not need to "dress for success."
The nerd fashion is not part of the main culture, but the clothing itself is socially consistent for the nerds. A nerd's clothing tells people what kind of nerd they are. Often nerds dress their identities in their sleeves, through shirts stamped with programming codes like "Hello World" and other related expressions in the programming world. The nerd shirt is as good as a label to put your names on if you know what you're looking for.
Simply choosing a shirt instead of suit and tie does not mean you do not have time or money to buy clothes.
Geeks can rely on an online store like System Out Of Memory that provides premium software engineer shirts and apparel for software developers, web designers, geeks and anyone in between. Check out our homepage for the latest programmer shirts.