Showing all posts tagged fashion:

Alternative Ties

I had kind of lost track of Duff McKagan after Guns ’n Roses imploded. Axl and Slash stayed more or less in the public eye, but Duff, Izzy and the others dropped off the radar.

Now here he turns up doing Sweet Child of Mine, accompanied by Krist Novoselic of Nirvana - on the accordion, of all things, and playing both the melody and the vocal part. Check it out:

But what I really wanted to point out was that Duff is wearing a tie, of all the unexpected things for a member of Guns ’n Roses to wear. This just goes to prove my ongoing contention that a tie is the most alternative thing you can wear, now that showing up for business meetings in Chucks barely raises an eyebrow.

Suits You, Sir

Via Coté, I learned that an Australian TV anchor has been wearing the same suit for a year.

Stefanovic, who co-presents Channel Nine’s Today show with Lisa Wilkinson, has been wearing the same blue suit – day in, day out, except for a few trips to the dry cleaner - to make a point about the ways in which his female colleagues are judged. "No one has noticed," he said. "No one gives a shit."

Setting his point on equality aside for a moment - although it is very valid - this is why I tell my nerd(ier) friends that suits are the ultimate nerd attire. You can get dressed in the dark and still be sure of being perfectly presentable, as I have had occasion to write before. On top of that, we now know that as long as the minimum standard of suit-ness is met, nothing further is required or even noticed, even when you are operating very much in public view.

Then again, at an event today in Stockholm I was congratulated several times on my suit1, so maybe it's cultural differences again?

Also, the news media have failed me once again. I need to know who makes this guy's suit; it sounds like it should be great for travel, being pretty much indestructible!

  1. A very nice and - importantly in Sweden - warm grey wool check from Lardini. 

Ties that bind

There was a strange mixture of hand-wringing and schadenfreude at the news that Tie Rack is to close down (The Times, BBC). In IT of course many people have had a relationship with ties of ambivalence at best. Traditionally, IT is divided into Suits and Beards, and techies pride themselves on not wearing ties. After all, they might get caught in intake fans, Incredibles-style:


Thing is, fewer and fewer techies work with hardware these days. If you’re hacking Ruby, you’re about as far removed from the hardware as it’s possible to get. In the other direction, the Suits have also stopped wearing ties, preferring blazers with open-collar shirts or even going the full Zuckerberg and showing up in T-shirts and hoodies.

In other words, the whole no-tie thing has definitively jumped the shark. You are no longer making any sort of statement by showing up tie-less; if anything, wearing a tie has become the provocative statement.

In fact, suits & ties are actually the ultimate nerd apparel. You have to put some effort into shopping, sure, and they tend to cost a bit more than a random vendor T-shirt and ancient combats, but the advantage is that you can thereafter completely forget about wondering what to wear. You can get dressed in the dark and be sure that the results will be perfectly presentable. If you want you can go to a little bit more effort and inject some personality into the process, but the great thing is that you don’t have to. By wearing a suit & tie, you lead people to pay attention to what you say and do, not to what you are wearing. And isn’t that the whole point?

This is why I was reassured to see plenty of ties this week at the Gartner Datacenter conference. Reports of the death of the tie have been greatly exaggerated.

Long live ties!