Better Dressed

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but engineers and scientists are not the best-dressed people around. It’s a different kind of badly-dressed than coders, whose ground state is a ratty t-shirt and jeans. Engineers and scientists often go in one of two directions: the corporate or the academic. The corporate involves a lot of solid-color polo shirts, occasionally sweaters, and khaki slacks. Stains and tears are optional. The academic look…well, it tends towards the coder look if you’re not careful.

There are a couple of things going on. One, we can’t pick clothes that match. Khaki slacks are preferred for just that reason: it’s much easier to find shirts that have a hope of matching if you’re wearing khaki. Two, we wear our clothes until they have gone out of style and come back into style.

With your help, we can solve this problem. I propose making a new line of Garanimals clothes, only for scientists and engineers instead of kids. Garanimals is a line of mix-and-match clothing for children. They come with animal hang-tags on them, so the kid can easily pick an outfit that matches. All rhino clothes go together, all monkey clothes go together, and so on.

Let’s extend that. Imagine having clothes that include geek-oriented hang-tags. Multi-function screwdrivers. A PCMCIA card. A klein bottle. Add to that an expiration date, like you find on milk cartons. Then the whole issue of dressing becomes one of finding matching hang-tags and making sure that the clothes haven’t expired. The expiration date could be adjusted depending on how quickly the clothes are likely to go out of style. We’ll have to charge extra money for clothes with expiration dates that are further in the future, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I wonder if VC money is available again?



  1. on January 12, 2007 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Heh… Since I’ve come to work here, I’ve ‘upgraded’ from ratty T-shirts to polo shirts or sweaters, depending on the weather. But until they make me a manager (which is hopefully never), I will not give up my blue jeans!

  2. duchess
    on January 12, 2007 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the expiration date should refer to the season? So if it expires June, then you shouldn’t be wearing it in November? Style expirations seem a little out of place, since the goal is to make engineers well-dressed, NOT stylish (and the two necessarilty aren’t the same thing!), right?

  3. Joyeuse
    on January 12, 2007 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Excellent idea! So far we’ve managed “black goes with everything, including more black,” but that’s about it.

  4. on January 12, 2007 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    duchess, I was thinking of things going out of fashion, but we could do seasons as well.

    I had someone point out this as a follow-up: Fabric for Bachelors.

  5. on January 12, 2007 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    You could always just stick with animals, but tie them back to the O’reily books 🙂

    As an engineer that wears khakis and jeans for the very reason you mentioned above… they’re easy to match, I whole-heartedly support this idea!

  6. Kat
    on January 14, 2007 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Since moving into the full-fledged engineer status (ie, graduated from college) I have slowly graduated my clothing into something nicer. Instead of jeans, I have nice slacks and skirts now and I try to wear nice sweaters and button ups now. But, then again, I’m always glad to get a chance to wear my blue jeans. 3rd shift is an excellent chance to wear jeans at work.

  7. on January 14, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I say this tongue in cheek, but could this be a use (at last) for the ::CueCat? Bar-code the clothing, and scan the tags to determine appropriateness and “freshness”?

    I do think seasonal coding separate of a general “rethink after 2008” type of labeling works. I just arranged for two grocery-bags worth of shirts to go to charity. They’ll probably end up looking good on some thrift-diving hipster 3 years from now. 🙂

  8. on January 15, 2007 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I always assumed that ::CueCats were for cataloging books. Though this isn’t a bad second use for them, either. 🙂

  9. on January 21, 2007 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Is VC funding available? Are you crapping me, Granade?! Have you seen valuations out on the Innertubes lately!?

    [Read: I’m coming over. We’ll have a .com and a Web 2.0-buzzworded-to-the-max built on Rails over dinner.]