Is there such a thing as a geek dress code?

The last day of PAX East, I was exhausted. I didn’t feel like putting on a dress or pantyhose, so I went with something simpler: my bright pink cardigan, jeans, and an I <3 Steampunk shirt my awesome friend and artist Brigid Ashwood gave me. Then I put my glasses on, turned to my husband and asked, “How do I look?”

“Like a geek girl,” was his response.

I stared at him for a second. I wanted to argue. But you know what? He was right. For the last few days I had noticed there was a certain… well, dress code among the women at PAX (to say nothing of the men, of course).

I’ve always considered myself something of a fashion stand out. I don’t tend to buy to trends. I like wearing glasses and cardigans, with hints of punk rock here and there (and the occasional corset), as well as some dresses. Not much has changed since I started picking out my own clothes. I also love thrift stores and vintage clothing, as well as curious shoes and jewelry.

But looking around at PAX, I realized many of us had come to the same fashion conclusions: dark rimmed glasses, red lipstick, hair often dyed a shade of auburn or red. T-shirts, cute shoes. (In other words: impeccable taste, ladies.)

Wait a second! How did we all come to this same conclusion?

Now, I’ll preface this with saying that I don’t hang out with a lot of girl geeks that dress like I do. I’ve noticed the trend among guys, which has only been exacerbated by the presence of Splitreason and other t-shirt companies (how I wish we could get them to dress in something other than t-shirts!).

But being at PAX made me feel part of something, sure. As Wil Wheaton said, I felt like it was home. Still, a little part of me kind of squirms at the idea that we’re becoming so recognizable, we geeks. Is it subliminal media messages? Have we come to a point where we need to recognize our own by dressing alike? Am I over-reacting? Is this just coincidence?

We geeks tend to approach the mainstream with trepidation, and that’s understandable. They cancel our shows and ruin our franchises. But as we are becoming larger and larger, are we homogenizing ourselves?

I’d love to know your thoughts. ?

[Photo CC by Zitona]

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34 Responses to Is there such a thing as a geek dress code?

  1. "Bianca: There's a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.

    Chastity: But I love my Skechers.

    Bianca: That's because you don't have a Prada backpack"

    -10 things I hate about you.

    I've thought about this myself from time to time, and have come to think that for the generation that grew up in the 80's or 90's where there was a rejection of "geeky" interests we have simply embraced those things that were formerly taboo. Of course, being a geek, I think that we all have GREAT TASTE, but are we doing it just because it's "trendy", I say NAY! Geeky shirts and throw backs to our cultural touch points comes from a love of video games and technology, and not a love of "the brand" or labels.

  2. “Bianca: There’s a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.
    Chastity: But I love my Skechers.
    Bianca: That’s because you don’t have a Prada backpack”
    -10 things I hate about you.

    I’ve thought about this myself from time to time, and have come to think that for the generation that grew up in the 80’s or 90’s where there was a rejection of “geeky” interests we have simply embraced those things that were formerly taboo. Of course, being a geek, I think that we all have GREAT TASTE, but are we doing it just because it’s “trendy”, I say NAY! Geeky shirts and throw backs to our cultural touch points comes from a love of video games and technology, and not a love of “the brand” or labels.

  3. I actually was recently covering an anime convention for my site. After picking up my pass, I was walking with a friend when she commented 'You ever notice how similar all the press people around here look? They're all wearing jeans, a shirt and an unbuttoned shirt over it! Is that like a uniform for them?' There was a short pause afterwards as she glanced over at me and noticed that she had described my exact outfit.

    My reply was 'Yeah, I have noticed that.' I didn't bother to mention how I had also noticed her cheeks turning a scarlet red.

    In conclusion… yeah, I say there's a geeky dress code but there's nothing wrong with that. If your shirt can actually make me laugh out loud, I say that's a win.

  4. I actually was recently covering an anime convention for my site. After picking up my pass, I was walking with a friend when she commented ‘You ever notice how similar all the press people around here look? They’re all wearing jeans, a shirt and an unbuttoned shirt over it! Is that like a uniform for them?’ There was a short pause afterwards as she glanced over at me and noticed that she had described my exact outfit.

    My reply was ‘Yeah, I have noticed that.’ I didn’t bother to mention how I had also noticed her cheeks turning a scarlet red.

    In conclusion… yeah, I say there’s a geeky dress code but there’s nothing wrong with that. If your shirt can actually make me laugh out loud, I say that’s a win.

  5. Being a geek, we're all generally interested in similar things. Meaning we have similar tastes, and this flows over to our clothing choices. Sure it might make geeks more recognizable, but I think we always have been and most other "groups" of people are the same way (intentional or not).

    Also keep in mind that when heading to something like PAX, people are going to lean a little bit more towards wearing more "geeky" clothing. So all in all, I think you're overreacting with all this. People wear clothes based on their tastes towards all kinds of things, it's not a big deal.

  6. Being a geek, we’re all generally interested in similar things. Meaning we have similar tastes, and this flows over to our clothing choices. Sure it might make geeks more recognizable, but I think we always have been and most other “groups” of people are the same way (intentional or not).

    Also keep in mind that when heading to something like PAX, people are going to lean a little bit more towards wearing more “geeky” clothing. So all in all, I think you’re overreacting with all this. People wear clothes based on their tastes towards all kinds of things, it’s not a big deal.

  7. Ummm… not all geeky ladies wear t-shirts and jeans? I mean, I know many of us do, but I don't think it's a set trend. I tend to wear button-down shirts and khakis more than anything (I.T. girl, I guess?). Also, no-rim glasses, although I would consider thick rims if they didn't darken the look of my eyes.

  8. Ummm… not all geeky ladies wear t-shirts and jeans? I mean, I know many of us do, but I don’t think it’s a set trend. I tend to wear button-down shirts and khakis more than anything (I.T. girl, I guess?). Also, no-rim glasses, although I would consider thick rims if they didn’t darken the look of my eyes.

  9. As male geek with only female friends I have become more conscious of what I wear. I would concur with 'whyexactly' regarding our similar tastes (and in some cases wanting to tout our preference of geekery)

    I think as us 80's / 90's geeks are getting older there is a slow merger from dressing like a teen geek; despite being in our mid twenties, to dress more 'grown up'.

    Guys have somewhat less flexibility than our firer companions as with some care a lady can swing a cute outfit however guys end up either being t-shirt and jeans or smart casual. Adorkable isn't much of a salvation for most guys.. nor do they try as much as they could! (sadly)

  10. As male geek with only female friends I have become more conscious of what I wear. I would concur with ‘whyexactly’ regarding our similar tastes (and in some cases wanting to tout our preference of geekery)

    I think as us 80’s / 90’s geeks are getting older there is a slow merger from dressing like a teen geek; despite being in our mid twenties, to dress more ‘grown up’.

    Guys have somewhat less flexibility than our firer companions as with some care a lady can swing a cute outfit however guys end up either being t-shirt and jeans or smart casual. Adorkable isn’t much of a salvation for most guys.. nor do they try as much as they could! (sadly)

  11. I just gonna throw out there that when my lovely wife wife got tired of my endless supply of Geeky tees and jeans, she got be some tweed and corduroy sport jackets to dress me up a bit.

  12. I just gonna throw out there that when my lovely wife wife got tired of my endless supply of Geeky tees and jeans, she got be some tweed and corduroy sport jackets to dress me up a bit.

  13. It's probably a function of age and location. I don't dress anything like you, but I'm not a young single professional. Geeks girls, like anyone else, notice women and if you like what another woman wears, you'll tend to buy something like that for yourself -NOT to imitate, but because you like it. Eventually your fashion sense tells other people what kind of person you are, which is very useful for mate selection.

    I, on the other hand, only go out in public to drive the kids somewhere and get groceries, so I threw any kind of fashion sense to the wind long ago.

  14. It’s probably a function of age and location. I don’t dress anything like you, but I’m not a young single professional. Geeks girls, like anyone else, notice women and if you like what another woman wears, you’ll tend to buy something like that for yourself -NOT to imitate, but because you like it. Eventually your fashion sense tells other people what kind of person you are, which is very useful for mate selection.

    I, on the other hand, only go out in public to drive the kids somewhere and get groceries, so I threw any kind of fashion sense to the wind long ago.

  15. People tend to dress the same anyway, and I think that geeks are no exception (unless its cosplay). It's just a different group of people that they are dressing like.

  16. People tend to dress the same anyway, and I think that geeks are no exception (unless its cosplay). It’s just a different group of people that they are dressing like.

  17. It's all about the geeky t-shirt.

    If you're wearing a funny t-shirt, everything else is purely protection from the elements. As long as they're comfy.

  18. It’s all about the geeky t-shirt.

    If you’re wearing a funny t-shirt, everything else is purely protection from the elements. As long as they’re comfy.

  19. Given the vast majority of t-shirts with geek stuff on them on sites like ThinkGeek and Jinx are black, it's no wonder black t shirts are so common. I would love more geeky colourful ladies' t-shirts!

    Among my female geek friends, there also seems to be a bit of a trend to…I don't know…"reclaim" pink? Lots of us have pink laptops, laptop cases/bags, cameras, etc.

    I'm a bit too practical/lazy for the lipstick, hairdye, and cute shoes though. However, I do keep confusing people at cons thinking I'm Amish because I cover my hair with a white snood sometimes (and actually, it's because I'm a geek of the Rennie variety).

  20. Given the vast majority of t-shirts with geek stuff on them on sites like ThinkGeek and Jinx are black, it's no wonder black t shirts are so common. I would love more geeky colourful ladies' t-shirts!

    Among my female geek friends, there also seems to be a bit of a trend to…I don't know…"reclaim" pink? Lots of us have pink laptops, laptop cases/bags, cameras, etc.

    I'm a bit too practical/lazy for the lipstick, hairdye, and cute shoes though. However, I do keep confusing people at cons thinking I'm Amish because I cover my hair with a white snood sometimes (and actually, it's because I'm a geek of the Rennie variety).

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