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Steve Jobs.


Mark Zuckerburg.


Jack Dorsey.


What common attribute connects these men?


Well, other than all being genius technology moguls, they are all also well known for the clothing they wear – a ‘trademark look’, if you like.


But unlike most who attract attention from what they’re wearing, these guys aren’t doing anything spectacular.


Grey t-shirts? Black turtlenecks?


These are all super basic items.


So, why is it that their personal image attracts as much attention, and exudes as much power, as they evidently do?

This article will cover the style of some of the most successful tech visionaries of our time, why they wear what they do, why it’s effective, and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.


Steve Jobs Style

Co-founding Apple in 1976 alongside Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, Steve Jobs has always been known to be a polarizing figure.

And this doesn’t stop at his personality.

Jobs’ classic look consists of a black mock neck, mid to light wash blue jeans, and white running shoes.


Steve Jobs' style.
Steve Jobs’ classic presentation style.


So the question stands: “Why is this look so iconic?”

Well, the answer is pretty much the same across the board: because it’s deliberately strange and atypical.


“But why is it strange?”


Well, in this instance, it just looks odd.

There is a too harsh colour contrast between the top and bottom of the outfit, as it transitions directly from a deep black to a light blue.

This throws the outfit off and distinctly cuts him into two, which does not create a cohesive and flattering line.


On top of this, and more importantly, it’s not what you’d expect from a multi-millionaire entrepreneur. It subverts expectations.

You’d expect him to come out perhaps suited and booted for a super important presentation… but no.


a man in a navy suit.
You would perhaps expect something like this…


“So, why does the outfit work?”


Because all of the choices he has made are deliberate.

But don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that wearing any odd outfit ‘deliberately’ will make you iconic – you will probably just look bad.

It works because almost everything he wears gives him an advantage, and reflects his brand and personality.

It is this attention to function that makes Steve Jobs’ outfit so talked about.


He makes deliberate choices to:

– Subvert expectations by wearing casual clothing.

– Wear a black mock turtleneck, despite it not working for his skin tone.

– Wear running trainers.

– Wear the same thing every day, almost as a uniform.


Steve Jobs style works to subvert expectations:

I talk a lot about using your personal image to solidify your personal brand.


However, I usually suggest doing this by making the clothing you wear totally awesome.


But it’s true that we pay equally as much attention to someone if they’re completely butchering it in the style department.


I get the impression that Mr Jobs didn’t really care about making his personal style the best it could be.

So, he went the other, easier route, of wearing something slightly out of place.


Jobs rarely dressed for the occasion, unlike this infrequent instance.


But what effect did this have?

Well, it got people talking as it subverted expectations, solidified his personal brand, and became his thing.


The outfit was so awkward and out of place for the position he was in, it brought personality to him and his demonstrations, making both more memorable.

It also showed that he wasn’t interested in following the tends, and didn’t care about what other people thought of him, an attitude which mirrors Apple’s mission objective of pushing boundaries and being an industry leader.


He wears a black mock turtleneck:

Black isn’t the best colour for Steve Job’s pale skin tone, as it provides a harsh contrast which washes him out.

Despite this, it again works to his advantage and draws attention to the thing he wants people to look at most, his face.


Steve Jobs' face.
What are you immediately drawn to?


Typically delivering speeches in a dark auditorium, the black of the jumper blends into the background, giving precedence to his starkly contrasting skin.


He wears (rather ghastly) running shoes:

A running theme (get it) of these iconic outfits is functionality.

They didn’t simply get to where they are by focusing on the user interface of their products, but by making sure they got the back-end code and ideas perfect.

The running trainers are purely for Jobs’ comfort, and wears them because he can. They make his daily errands easier and more robust, like good software.


Steve Jobs style is really a uniform:

Uniform is powerful.

So, it’s no surprise that some of these super successful individuals have adopted the use of them.


Steve Jobs style over time.
He has stayed consistent with his uniform throughout the years. Photo from Gizmodo.


A uniform cuts out the need to think about clothing.

By eliminating the requirement of brain power to decide what to wear, Jobs can focus on, in his case, more important things.

All in all, it has the potential to just make things easy.


But don’t get me wrong.


I’m not suggesting that you should exactly imitate any of his items (especially those running shoes, ewww).

But they do give you some food for though, and provide more evidence that your clothing is more powerful than you think, and can certainly give you an edge in certain situations.


Mark Zuckerburg Style

The other classic example of the ‘I’m so successful, no need to care about my clothing’ mindset is the man himself, Mark Zuckerburg.

Almost always pictured in his trademark grey t-shirt, mid wash blue jeans and white running shoes, (aka the Steve Jobs look minus the mock turtleneck), Zuckerburg again prioritises functionality and comfort over style.


Mark Zuckerburg style.


However, his t-shirt and jeans usually fit rather well, meaning his attire edges Jobs’ who always opted for a rather loose and boxy fit.

Again, like Jobs, Zuckerburg adopts his trademark look as a daily uniform, rarely deviating.

But should you take it this far?


Mark Zuckerburg wardrobe.


Bill Gates Style

So I’ve covered the two mavericks.

Gates’ style on the other hand is conservative, and typical of what you would expect from a person in his position.

He can be most commonly seen in a v-neck jumper and a crisp, smart shirt and trousers.


Bill Gates style.
Gates can usually be seen in some variation of this outfit.


Although he doesn’t often deviate from this, he enjoys switching up colour combinations to breathe a bit of fresh air into his attire.


This ensures the best of both worlds.


The existence of a ‘go to’ look means that he isn’t spending a lot of time thinking about his clothing, but at the same time isn’t just wearing the exact same thing.

This is a great middle ground, and something you should perhaps adopt if you want to look good, but don’t particularly care for experimenting with different styles.


Jack Dorsey & Jeff Bezos Style

Dorsey and Bezos both lean towards casual style, and absolutely rock it.

Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, can frequently be seen in some sort of leather jacket, which is thrown on top of either a white or black t-shirt or hoodie.


Jack Dorsey style.
Dorsey’s typical rugged style.


Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and currently the world’s richest man, has recently developed a new hulk like physique.

He has been famously pictured in a black polo shirt and navy gilet, a perfect combination to show off his progress (and look cool in the process).


Jeff Bezos style.


But Dorsey and Bezos’ style weren’t always like this, as, like many people, they both went through rather dramatic style transformations.


Conclusion – Tech Mogul Style (Steve Jobs Style)

So, it’s really a mixed bag.

Some of the world’s most successful tech moguls dare to step outside of the societal norms, while others play it safe and go for timeless looks which are guaranteed to get them through their, no doubt super busy, day to day schedules.

But it must be said that the style paradigm proposed by Steve Jobs is an interesting one, which you can perhaps brings aspects of into your style.


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