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Archive for November, 2007

Some of DFOF’s enterprise irregular blogging cohorts recently attended Oracle Open World. As the eagle-eyed Zoli noted, the EI dress code was a small notch up from their usually rather dire threads.

DFOF is rarely to be seen in a blazer or sports jacket himself, but he is pleased to see his fellow EIs at least making an effort. However, it does seem that Josh Greenbaum is having trouble keeping his trousers up. Despite this improving effort from the American EI contingent, Sig remains the king of the blazer.

Charles Phillips is absolutely impeccably dressed. DFOF will need to do more fashion forensics on the Oracle President. Perhaps it is the rather scary combination of background in investment banking and the Marines, but DFOF is mightily impressed. Never a thread out of place. Masterful.

The sports jacket / blazer was obviously in strong demand in San Francisco.

Here Michael Dell. thanks to amorimur’s photostream

If one is going to do the navy blazer and jeans thing, make sure the shoes are sparkling and the shirt crisp. Full points to Mr Dell here. The two tone effect does make his legs look shorter than an suit would.

An interesting choice for a keynote presentation, as it lacks the coolness of the Steve Jobs casual look, but it is not as sharp nor as imposing as a suit.

Larry Ellison, like Steve Jobs, has a look that he has made his own. For years he has worn the turtleneck cashmere with a suit, and it works very very well. It is far more elegant than an open neck shirt. Double Breasted Jackets are rare these days, but Mr Ellison cuts a fine figure in one here. Google tells me that his suits are handmade in Italy, but more info would be appreciated. They fit him precisely. He is not a Larry Laffer.

Photo courtesy of Lou Springer’s flickrstream

Different shades of brown – Larry pulls it off with aplomb.

Returning to the sports jacket- blazer theme…

More brown. This time, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, looking smartly professorial. Tie is super, the blue and red lifting the brown, but DFOF dislikes the button down collar with a tie, it is an evil trend. A two button brown sports jacket is a good wardrobe staple if you are a lecturer in 18th Century English literature. Shoes impeccable. Trousers are almost too long.  (Cote, please comment on the Vaio).

Thanks again Lou springer‘s flickr.

Update: upon reading ZDNET, dfof was shocked to see JS from this angle, not because he was breaking bread with Michael Dell, but those trousers are too long. Way too long.

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Thomas Kurian, yet more brown. Ensemble fuses together rather well. Double cuff shirt is excellent, but the jacket seems the wrong size, too tight on the chest between the two top buttons, yet far too long in the sleeve. High-waisted, pleated trouser. Patterned tie and jacket perfect in an American setting, or on a grouse shoot. Immaculate knot.

Here he is again, this time looking a far smarter in a charcoal suit, bold red tie, white shirt, just a little cuff showing.

Photo thanks Dan Farber.

Again, impeccable knot. A 4 in hand, the simplest, but most elegant tie knot. For a presentation, a well ironed white shirt and plain bold tie is tough to beat. It is the Occam’s razor of business dress. It is timeless. The narrower tie suits him better than the broader tie in his brown ensemble did.

If, dear geek, you only have one formal outfit, make it this one. Only once you own 10 jackets, buy a brown one.

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I was in LV last week for a conference at which some people paid money to sit around and listen to me talk. More interestingly, however – I brought you some pictures of fashion, Vegas Style!

There seem to be two, seemingly opposite, components to the basic Vegas fashion calculation:
#1 Superfly
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Bernini clearly caters to your inner (or outer) gangsta. Matching silk shirts and (short!) ties, fur-trimmed car coats and man minks (which I was told I could not take pictures of because “There are security cameras, and the owner doesn’t like it when we let people take pictures. A lot of people ask this question.” Buddy – you get asked this question because regular humans cannot believe that you are selling these coats to anyone. These were on display in a regular mall, people – right beside the Nikelodeon store). So I took a picture from outside and ran away. Sadly, it didn’t work out, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

#2 The Big Lebowski
This is Danny – and Danny has style. A style all his own.
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Note the lightweight cotton pants paired with the authentic Hawaiian shirt and black vintage 80′s parachute jacket with patterned shoulders. Combine that with winged, beach-bum, bleached blonde, highly pampered hair and you have what I call “The Big Lebowski Does Vegas”. Danny definitely has something going on – and given the abhorrent preponderance of baggy athletic shorts and worn-out grey t-shirts in the casinos, American men everywhere could do worse than emulating Danny’s laid-back style; at least he looks like he’s trying.

Finally, in an update to a previous post in which I broke up with designer Marc Jacobs because of his crap knitwear, here’s a picture of his store in the Forum Shopping Arcade:

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You’ll be pleased to know, Dear Readers, that I remained resolute and walked on by, unlike the rest of these suckers. Take that, Marc Jacobs!

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Inside the Moleskin notebook

This time, I’d like to study another accessory of the geekinistas (or geekinistos…whatever): the notebook.

While a laptop is, no doubt, the primary accessory, it’s analog sibling, the notebook will pop-up sooner or later. There’s just times when you need some paper and pen.

Pen or Pencil?

Perhaps that’s the first thing: pen or pencil. I have no real ruling, but if you’re gonna use the old graphite, you definitely want one of the extremes: either old school yellow #2 or high-tech mechanical. I feel like going middle of the road on a pencil is just boring.

That said, I don’t use pencils myself since about 5th or 6th grade. Pens are just so much nicer. Unlike pencils, pens come in a wide gradient of quality and attractiveness. There’s your Bic rollerballs and hotel provided pens at the bottom, filled in by the middle-rung pen du jour (currently, the Pilot G-2 07, blue if you please), and then the pens you, like, spend real money on and worry about keeping track of. Call up Nick Cage and ask him about his pens: Monte Blanc likes to spread him over the inflight magazines.

Getting to the Moleskin

Pen taken care of, what are you gonna write on? First up are the note-pads companies and hotels give you at conferences. Occasionally, you’ll get a smart looking note-book branded with the conference or company. More likely than not, you’ll get a glue’ed up pack of pages from some hotel cellar box.

Oddly enough, I see tons of people use these glue-papes. I’ve used them myself before I got a proper notebook. Namely, a Moleskin.

Now, the GTD freaks out there over the past few years have brought the Moleskin back into the forefront of use. Before that, I’m not sure anyone cared for the quant little notebooks.

Thanks be to the GTD-freaks, though, as these notebooks are freakin’ awesome. Not only do they work well functionally and are sturdy, but they look good too:

The Little Notebook used by…uh…those old, dead men who married 5+ wives and cheated like they had a cold they couldn’t shake, snaggling up their snot instead of just using a damn Kleenex to – PLEASE! – blow their nose once and all

The Moleskin is a small notebook, just rightly sized to fit in your sports jacket pocket or back pocket. It’s got a nice little elastic band to hold it closed, and a cheesy little paper pocket at the back whose cheeseatude is rivaled only by the historical marketing schlock that comes in that pocket. “Old bearded Nobel laureates used this notebook. So did people who’s name you can’t pronounce and feel guilty for being bored by.”

The point of the lore, the mythos – nah, the bore-thos – is to tell you, little soulless geekinistas, here is a genuine brand-artifact of history you can graft to your image! Cast into the depths or history, art, and literate, and pimp your pocket!

Coté’s quite-night of the soul late in Barcelona, aside, it’s a damn fine notebook. Yay! The paper is high quality and it’ll withstand being sit on for months on end – I know, I’ve tested it in my back-pocket.

The Moleskin Model Matrix

Now, you have several Moleskin options. First, you have the pocket size vs. the larger versions. I saw go pocket. As a body-accessory, the Moleskin should always be on your person, not “forgotten” in that laptop bag you left in the München Sofitel to go out to 3AM drinks with those rock-star SAP programmers. No, no, you want the Moleskin on you at al times. As such, getting the larger version is lessoning your fashion impact potential.

Size settled, you have two choices for the “how’s it open” vector: reporter style – hinged on the top – and normal – hinged like a book. So far, I have gone “normal”/book style. I can’t quite get into the reporter style. That said, I feel like the reporter notebook would be the true beauty, I just can’t get myself to upgrade to that form-function.

Now, book vs. reporter style diced up, you have another choice to make: lined pages, graph-sheet pages, or blank pages. Be careful here – easy, boogalie, easy! – the blank pages are actually 4 times as thick as the other two options and, well, not really very freakin’ easy to write on. (Can you tell I’ve made the mistake?)

Our fearless fashion leader, The Other Thomas Otter has a graph-paper Moleskin which lends a certain engineering precision to the mystic of “let me write that down.” As it stands, I prefer the simple lined – nah, “ruled” – paper.

Put That Dirt on Your Moleskin…?

So, you’ve got your Moleskin now, slipped nicely in your jacket’s pocket or you slack-jeans’ back pocket. Somehow you’ve sorted out a pen – did you lay-down money for a heavy weight, or do you signal your harried status by just using whatever hotel pen you skanked last (“yeah, I didn’t know where I was last week until I looked down at my Hilton Singapore pen, and I was like, ‘holy shit! I’ve gotta give a keynote in 2 hours, and I’ve got no black socks – let’s hit that Johnny Red again!’”). The next question is: do you go eccentric and sticker up that black hide, or keep it midnight matte?

I will have a frank moment of honesty with you here. I don’t know the answer, dear readers. It’s a tough one.

Ultimately, like a pair of cracked and dusty Converse – at least in my neck of the woods – signs of use, wear and tear, are the height of expressing your over-all Prêt-à-Porter: I’m not just wearing this ’cause it looks good, I’m wearing this ’cause it’d my God-damn life-uniform. Maybe adding Moleskin stickers helps advance that along like stomping in the dust or safety pinning a Misfits patch on your Pierre Cardin blazer. Who knows?

Moleskin after use, cover

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DFOF is impressed with the humour of Loic’s new hire at Seesmic, Vinvin. His  Bonjour America vlog  is seriously funny.

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Typical french business look, dark blue suit, straight and narrow trouser, narrow suit lapels. White shirt, subdued, relatively narrow tie. Conservative but elegant.

The shirt, though, is too long in the sleeves, and is a little loose around the collar.

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The America meets France and the socks are the ocean comment  is up there with Eric Cantona and the Seagulls.

DFOF wishes Seesmic success and riches.

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This may or may not turn into a series on fundamentals.

ETech 2007 (Wednesday)

From Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

His flickrstream is a prime source for “geek celebrity” fashion successes and blunders. His laughing squid blog is rather good too.

DFOF is a big fan of the Converse Chuck Taylor. He is not totally convinced about the rather lurid colour scheme shown above. Perhaps they signify support for a sports team? Or they were in the deeply discounted section of the shop?  Or are they being worn for a big bet?

Nevertheless the classic Converse All-Star should be part of the geek wardrobe.

A bit of history, enter stage left,  Wikipedia.

Chuck Taylor All-Stars are canvas and rubber shoes produced by Converse. They were first produced in 1917 as the “All-Star”, Converse’s attempt to capture the basketball shoe market. They were not particularly popular until basketball player Chuck Taylor adopted them as his preferred shoe. He was so impressed with the design that he became the shoe’s leading salesman. After proposing a few changes to the shoe, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor’s signature on its ankle patch.

Converse now is a subsidiary of Nike, so those that wear them as a protest against the evils of global capitalism etc are well and truly deluding themselves. One can however, buy a pair as part of the excellent and worthy (PRODUCT) RED programme, though DFOF suggests one avoids plastering the RED logo all over the said custom shoe. The aging punks amongst us could, one supposes, get a pair of these.

DFOF is a recent convert and only owns one pair of high tops. He is likely to buy more though, as they are a) comfortable  b) rather cool c)timeless d) design icon e) very cheap.

shoe

 

Serious Fashionistas wear them too, but don’t let this put you off.

BTW. DFOF seeks guest posters to write about jeans. Levi 501′s good or evil? discuss, with photographic evidence.

Author: Thomas

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I bought this very pouffy Marc by Marc Jacobs red wool cardigan (with an almost Elizabethan raised collar and cropped sleeves) in San Francisco while I was supposed to be attending the Office 2.0 Conference this past September. I haven’t really spent that much time in SF, so the whole sunny/freezing/foggy/sunny/freezing thing was a bit new to me. Therefore I was (at times) under-dressed on this particular trip and legitimately needed something warm to wear. Of course I went to Neiman Marcus rather than the Gap, in keeping with my tradition of buying really expensive stuff while on business trips. Because I am an idiot.

I ended up spending about three hours in NM, finally settling on this sweater and a few other things, which necessitated the additional purchase of two ties for my husband as a guilt gift. Do you see how these things snowball? (More to come on the ties – and tie-tying in general – in a future post).

Did I mention that I bought this sweater about eight weeks ago? I believe I’ve worn it approximately six times – most recently to the October Toronto Girl Geek Dinner.

Exhibit A

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Please note the pilling. The PILLING (sorry for the blurry snap – it’s surprisingly hard to take a picture of your own arm). I hate this so much I can’t even speak – I would take it as my due if I’d paid $13 for this at Old Navy or somewhere similar. “Serves you right,” I’d say to myself, “For buying cheap crap clothing made by sweatshop slaves. You deserve pilling – and worse.” And then I’d sprint to the nearest luxury goods store to wash the cheap feeling off my skin. BUT – wait a minute, I paid the equivalent of a weeks’ rent for this cardigan. At Neiman Marcus. Which translates into a cost-per-wear that is completely unacceptable.

So here’s what I have to say to you, Marc Jacobs – your knitwear sucks. No amount of delicious styling can cover up garbage quality, and therefore I’m done with you. It’s over. Don’t call, don’t write – we’re DONE.

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