The Silicon Valley has had a men's fashion problem dating back to its founders. From their inception, tech companies went out of their way to be different -- and that meant no more business suits. Thus brilliant innovations took place in the dumpiest of outfits as leather sandals, elastic-waist jeans and old T-shirts became ubiquitous.
But that's changing as a younger generation of engineers and designers have arrived seeking clothes that coordinate.
"There's definitely a shift happening here, and the age of the Silicon Valley culture has something to do with it," said image professional Joseph Rosenfeld.
"As a generation," he said, young professionals "tend to care more about style than engineers of the past."
The market has responded to this new attitude among the region's rising nerds, geeks and hackers with new online men's stores, personal style consultants and an array of high-end shops at Northern California's biggest mall. They're catering to the emerging members of a creative industry who, nonetheless, are seeking something of a uniform.
"They'll typically wear designer denim and a great button-up shirt by day, and throw on a sport coat at night to go to a cigar or wine bar," said Westfield Valley Fair mall general manager Matt Ehrie. "Silicon Valley's dressy attire would be casual Friday in most other parts of the country."
Josh Meyer, 30, a products manager at a leading high-tech firm, recognizes the generation gap. He said higher-level managers who have been in the industry for decades often wear baggy khakis and faded baseball shirts "like they're going to a barbecue," while millennials such as himself like to wear button-up dress shirts, "high-quality denim jeans with a roll at the bottom, nice shoes or possibly boots."
"I can pick out techies just walking down the street by these outfits," he said.
The focus on men's fashion has emerged in a sector where 3 of 4 workers are males. And it's come late by comparison as women in technology have long faced style challenges.
Many have worked to strike a casual, professional and creative balance, even as blogs and news stories regularly focus on the image of female high-tech executives -- from the extraordinarily stylish Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, featured in last month's Vogue magazine, to Facebook's uber-chic chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Meanwhile, when men are similarly featured attention often shifts to casual attire -- from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's famous hoodie to former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' black turtleneck. (continued...)
© 2013 Associated Press/AP Online under contract with YellowBrix. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2013-10-21 @ 6:47pm PT
What happens is that those funders are now growing and they see their apparel quite important especially when meeting new clients or looking for new opportunities. This starting companies will become the old breed later on and new generations will impose their vision in a different way.
I guess it is a cycle.