Do you think it’s a bad thing to stick out like a poop in a punchbowl?
How do you know you aren’t the poop in the punchbowl?
There are uniforms in plain sight even if they don’t seem like the standard bill of fare. Like this: H&M’s newest line of clothes struck me as a reflection of our idea of a computer-savvy person’s clothes. The threads are based on the flick, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I really, really like a lot of these pieces. But, do I like them because I fancy myself a part of digital culture and I’m buying into a “lifestyle?” (Which reminds me, I need to go and renew my subscription to Dork Fancy magazine.)
Or, do I like them because I genuinely appreciate their style?
While I doubt women are going to walk around completely dressed in Lisbeth regalia, we may soon see elements of the look in our everyday lives. It’s just one of the most recent examples of television and movies simultaneously influencing and reflecting wired worker style.
One of my earliest memories of people banging out bits and bytes came from Space 1999.
These jumpsuit-esque outfits were pretty indicative of how people in the ‘70s predicted computer careerists would dress. So practical and yet so unbeleiveably unbecoming to either sex.
The ‘80s brought advances in computing and with them came changes in our ideas about how a digitally-inclined person would look.
Blade Runner veered back into the futuristic look and imagined Eldon Tyrell as a genius robot creator with a flair for white tie events and Coke bottle glasses.
Geek culture edged its way further onto the big screen with Weird Science. Keep an eye on Anthony Michael Hall, there. He’s going to make another appearance.
An emphasis on the younger and more casually dressed folks again here with Max Headroom. Max Headroom, the computer animated character, actually gained more exposure than the show ever did through his shilling of the wonderfully textbook product flop, New Coke. So, maybe that explains why we aren’t all walking around with what appeared to be a plastic suit.
This is Bryce, the keyboard jockey.
Bring on the ‘90s and the grunge look that pretty much passed the geek chic look by. A good bit of current fashion seems to pass a lot of digital types by, actually. While we may not have seen a grunge look, we saw some other styles that became pretty aspirational.
America’s sweetheart took a stab at being a cyber siren when Sandra Bullock did a lot of typing and looking like she was under the impression she could alleviate those hemorrhoids if she made pained faces at the monitor. The Net didn’t really break that much ground in terms of new outfits. But this time, the lead was a woman. THAT was something different.
Another code jockey showed up on the silver screen when we saw Jennifer Jason Leigh as a game creator in eXistenZ. She’s sporting a black sleeveless T-shirt and jeans that could be the uniform of anyone. Although, if I recall, she worked at home. A more realistic look would have been jammies until about 10 a.m. and then a switch to yoga pants if she was feeling particularly motivated. Again, though, it’s a gal and I liked when the looks were channeled into a woman.
Pirates of Silicon Valley
In 1999 Moonbase Alpha didn’t pull away from the earth, but we got a pretty good reflection of the godfathers of the computer age in Pirates of Silicon Valley. Note Anthony Michael Hall here as Bill Gates. That’s Noah Wyle as Steve Jobs. We saw a schism of sorts in the computer dress code. The Gates character embodied the nose-to-the-grindstone COBOL cruncher and the Jobs character foreshadowed a bigger emphasis on design and the beginning of the Web’s entrenchment in our everyday lives.
And, that brings us to the current century. We can’t go a day without going online and for most of us that includes social media.
The Social Network
The Social Network and the hoodie. ‘Nuff said.
It may seem like this is a fairly trivial jaunt down memory lane. But, the truth is, if you’re someone peddling digital wares (including your own skills), you need to take note of this stuff.
Picture a meeting with a traditional business group and you’re the fifth company to present. Are they going to give you the contract if you are decked out in all your Armani three-piece Wall Street finery?
Or, is the contract going to go to the gal dressed with elements of the H&M line?
So, I ask you: Are you the poop in the punchbowl?