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Maintaining Personal Style in Sweatshirt Land.

In Palo Alto, there are various types of styles and clothing that people run around in from coffee shop to meeting and back to coffee shop.  Some rock the look of a hippie, most strut the athletic yogi, and some display the uniform of the Silicon Valley hustler… a hoodie and sneakers.  People can walk around in whatever they want, fashion is a non-issue.  But because of the leniency and freedom, shouldn’t we amp it up a notch?

In New York, I buy apparel I wouldn’t normally purchase if I were not in the lively Manhattan.  A prime example are the infamous Isabel Marant wedge sneakers.  Why when I come back to Silicon Valley do I feel completely uncomfortable wearing them in public?  Self-confidence issues? Perhaps.

Moreso, it stems from some unspoken style guidelines; Don’t wear wedge sneakers, chunky jewelry, or a Dodgers’ jersey (*these are not real rules).  Even though there are no style guidelines, there is definitely a distinct style that has never been analyzed in depth… for the sole reason that no one really cares.

No one cares to analyze, because no one cares to dress.  But there is something to be said about the converse sneakers and zip up hoodie style that techies sport on the daily.  And that something is that maybe we just don’t give a shit.  Maybe there is not an emphasis on fashion because we are all so consumed with our technology and our startups.  We have the tools and the creativity.  So why not channel just a portion of that into our wardrobe?  It is the simple, laid-back vibe that makes the valley style so unique.

How can we maintain personal style if we are submerged in this laid-back sweatshirt-wearing environment?  I would really love to wear some huge, obnoxious wedge sneakers down University Avenue and not feel awkward.  Thanks.

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