Style, or what some are calling a serious lack thereof, has become the focus of what many are speculating will be the biggest Internet IPO in history. Surrounding appearances taking place this week as part of Facebook’s roadshow, a series of meetings companies embark upon to court investors before an initial public offering, there’s been no shortage of chatter (and chagrin, depending on where you get your information) over Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie and the ways its rumpled presence is like the Wall Street style equivalent of getting your dress caught in your pantyhose.
For those of us watching the style kerfuffle play out from California, it’s easy shake one’s head in wonder: after all, doesn’t everyone know that twenty-something tech rockstars, like, pretty much always show up in hoodies? As much as I would prefer to see more sharp-dressed men running around South Park (you know, eye candy on my way to pick up lunch), the male sartorial landscape is basically a sea of free conference t-shirts paired with Zuckerberg’s preferred item of apparel.
So does it follow that Wall Street is destined to forever take issue with the tech industry’s fashion choices? Not if Chris Lindland, CEO of Betabrand, has anything to say about it. Soon after Lindland emailed me this morning to offer a solution to Zuckerberg’s problem, I was marveling at the company’s clever timing. On (or perhaps right before) the Facebook IPO is set to happen, Betabrand will ship its latest: the Betabrand Executive Pinstripe Hoodie. It’s just what it sounds like, a hoodie dressed up in finance’s favorite pattern. And if you really wanted to impress, you could always pair the hoodie with the label’s Dress Pant Sweatpants, which promise “boardroom style, bedroom comfort.”
Wall Street might still prefer its men in suits, but at least in pinstripes, you can argue that you kinda cared, that you at least considered the spirit of compromise.
It’s too late for Zuckerberg, though don’t feel too bad for him. The most controversial thing about his company’s IPO is a schlumpy hoodie. But at least you’ll know how to bridge the style gap on your own Wall Street-wooing adventures.
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