Men’s Fashion Tips & Styling Advice: How To Upgrade Your Wardrobe, Ditch The Tech Bro Hoodie & Vest Image: Tips From A San Francisco Image Consultant

Thanks to the likes of MidtownUniform on Instagram, media coverage around vests in Bay Area tech companies and shows like Silicon Valley, tech worker fashion has been under the microscope now more than ever. Years ago, the focus was around folks like Mark Zuckerberg and his closet of identical outfits and Steve Jobs and his infamous black turtleneck.

The focus has since spread to tech workers mostly in San Francisco and the like despite relaxed wardrobe etiquette. One would figure that not requiring a uniform or expected attire would allow for more creative freedom in a wardrobe which might be true for some but for others, fashion and deciding what to wear in the morning can be a chore thus leading to mainly male tech workers, engineers to streamline their image for speed, efficiency, simplicity and options.

It doesn’t help that startups and tech companies try to shove company culture down the mouths of their employees so much as to create a line of clothing for them to build brand awareness namely through t-shirt, vests and backpacks. Working in isolation behind a computer all day or limited meetings and social collaboration also caters to the introvert type which gives rise to the Silicon Valley or Tech Bro Uniform.


Tech Bro Outfit, Fashion – Silicon Valley Uniform

Silicon Valley Tech Bro Starter Pack, Stereotypes, Fashion, Style & Image

Tech Bro Starter Pack, Tinder Bingo, Silicon Valley Meme

Silicon Valley, Tech Bro Uniform, Stereotypes, Image & Hoodie Culture

The Silicon Valley Uniform or Tech Bro Outfit is synonymous with engineers, those who work in tech and e people living in the Bay Area. While it’s perfectly normal and expected some items will be in everyone’s wardrobe, it’s at the point when these items dominate the majority or your closet and is observed amongst groups at a bar, lunch spots in downtown and waiting for Uber rides across town that the stereotype is most present and validated.

The outfit is open to interpretation but covers the items listed below.

-Hoodie or Vest (Patagonia or company branded)

-Plain T-shirt (usually gray, black or navy blue)

-Watch (Apple watch, Fitbit or Garmin)

-Shoes (Allbirds or for women, Rothy’s)

-Headphones (wireless Bose headphones worn in public or just Apple Airpods)

-Pants (Light wash blue jeans, Bonobos pants or whatever Trunk Club sent over)

-Eyeglasses (Most opt for lasik, then contact lenses but ultimately many settle for Warby Parker)

-Backpack (Herschel, usually gray)

-Wallet (what wallet? tech bros don’t drive cars nor carry cash, it’s all Apple Wallet or Google Wallet)

-Transportation (Uber or Bird Scooter)


Silicon Valley Tech Bro vs Finance Bro Fashion Styles

If the above items look familiar, it’s because it should. The tech bro is a close cousin of the finance bro made famous on MidtownUniform, slightly different but equally predictable and boring. The finance bro outfit attempts to inject some style and color through pastel polos on Fridays, blue Banana Republic dress shirts, puffy North Face vests and Cole Haan dress shoe sneaker hybrids.

Don’t fool yourself, the Tech Bro is the hipster version of the Finance Bro. As much as Tech Bros try to be indifferent, they signal things through the choices they make and brands they support. Finance bros are usually from the Massachusetts or Connecticut and settle in New York while Tech Bros are mostly Midwest transplants.


Men’s Wardrobe, Image First Impressions & Assumptions

When it comes to looks, first impressions are everything. There is nothing wrong with having a few of these items but when they are combined with each other and observed at boba tea shops, self-pour beer bars via mobile apps, or waiting in line at 3rd wave coffee shops, the stereotypes kick in. What you wear signals things about you or at the very least provides an opportunity to communicate something about your lifestyle, interests or hometown. 

The underlying assumption about guys in tech are that they lack social skills, avoid communication, have hobbies like computer games, anime, rock-climbing or some other solo activity that involves little to know social interactions with others. One’s wardrobe is a way to either double-down on these assumptions or break the stereotypes.

The homogeneity of Silicon Valley based on perceived personalities, interests, routines and migration patterns leaves for something to be desired about men and often wardrobe is the first observable thing people notice about others. The associations people make about tech workers being clones, robots or socially awkward are enhanced by what can be seen and thus if all you have is clothing to separate you from others, you might be doing a disservice to stand out from the crowds.

Men’s Fashion Advice, Tips: Basics, Jean Colors, T-Shirts Sizes and Materials

Being fashionable doesn’t require a lot of money but it does require self-awareness, patience and research. Wardrobes take time to build and you can’t just hack it with an order from Trunk Club, Stitch Fix or Bonobos. Styles and outfits span seasons, brands, retailers, patterns and colors. Similarly, one can’t merely just copy someone else given different lifestyles, goals, body types, height, arm lengths, skin tones, hair colors and the like.

Some people hire professional stylists and expert fashion and image consultants to help re-brand their entire look from the ground up. Others rely on sisters, or other professional like myself when scheduling photos for their business headshots or dating profiles. But knowing fits is a good start. Typically, guys tend to buy more bulky sizes fits than their bodies demand. Not only does this look sloppy but is rather unflattering.

Start off by asking a sales associate at retail stores for help (they vary in expertise so it’s important to get a few opinions) or ask a trusted friend for help. Some guys are harder to shop for if they tend to be taller, skinnier and have longer arms. U.S. brands cater to the demographics and as such, tend to be a bit boxier in cuts than Asian and European brands.

The other thing to note is that sizes vary from place to place so you really have to know your size for each brand – make notes so you can save time for future reference. Some brands have regularly and slim fits so try on a few shirts to see which fits best. Don’t be afraid to wear brighter colors like jewel tones and pastels to inject some approachability in your appearance.

When it comes to material, always stick to 100% cotton when possible, especially if you sweat more than average. Other blends or materials might be better for athletic purposes in drawing sweat away from your body while exercising, but they do trap bacteria more often than cotton and thus more likely to cause odor. Even 1% rayon or the like is enough to trap odor in your clothes and underarms.

Jeans are an easy way to improve your sense of style. Most men are afraid of slimmer fits or stick to light-colored jeans and pants. Next time get some darker color jeans to preserve a casual look but allow for versatility when pairing with a blazer or sweater.  Avoid cargo pants at all costs unless you are perfectly fine being single.


Men’s Fashion Advice On Accessories, Watches, Shoes, Dress Socks & Blazers

An easy way to inject style and flare in your appearance is with accessories like eyeglasses, watches, shoes, scarves and blazers. These add-ons can transform a t-shirt and jeans look with minimal effort.

Eyeglasses draw attention to your eyes and if done well can add wisdom and maturity to your appearance. With that said, they are a pain to shop for given different size heads, skin tones, etc. and it’s not uncommon to try on thousands of pairs of glasses (case in point) to find the perfect pair but trust me, as a staple of your wardrobe that you will wear every day and draw attention to your eyes, it’s important you nail this down.

Blazers should be in every guy’s wardrobe if they want a dressed up look without having to shop for a suit or slacks. Wearing a good blazer with dark-colored jeans is an easy way to look nice but without trying too hard. Not all suit jackets can be worn as blazers as they are a bit stiff or polished so look for blazers that are sharp but relaxed without giving a super formal, constrained look.

When it comes to shoes, these are a subtle way of grabbing attention. Such a small and rather unnoticeable part of your body can alter the look and feel of your body. Swapping sneakers for a good pair of brown leather shoes can elevate a t-shirt and jeans look instantly. I recommend guys have at least 3 pairs of leather shoes (black, dark brown and light brown or tan shoes).

While electronic exercise watches are functional, they are not always fashionable. A nice watch will draw eyes if done correctly. I am not talking about 4-5 digit price tag designer watches. Some great watches can be had at $200-$500 and when you are seated at a bar with your arms on a drink or looking at the menu, it’s one of the first things a woman will notice.

The last item in your took kit should be great dress socks. Merely having white or black socks is not enough. Fun dress socks may be the only outlet you have to inject style when wearing a suit or uniform, so don’t let this piece of real estate go to waste. Whether they are polka dot socks, stripes or other pattern, vibrant dress socks can highlight your subtle or more quiet personality in a way that invites conversations.

Silicon Valley Stylist, San Francisco Wardrobe Consultant, Bay Area Personal Stylist, San Francisco Image Consultant


Additional Reading

Men’s Fashion Tips: 

What To Wear In Your Dating Profiles: 

How To Meet People IRL 

How To Be More Successful With Dating Apps

What It’s Like Dating In New York City

Dating In Silicon Valley, San Francisco

Dating Coach For Engineers & Socially Awkward:

About Eddie Hernandez

Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle.

In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally. 

Dating App FAQ's  |  Online Dating Resource Guide  |  How To Be Successful With Dating Apps

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