Totally Geek to Totally Chic

Recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle as the go-to personal stylist for successful men and women in the public eye, Mary Gonsalves Kinney (www.mgkstyle.com) shares her thoughts with us today on Silicon Valley style.

The Cast of HBO’s Silicon Valley

Mike Judge was most definitely on to something with his hit HBO series, Silicon Valley, and not just because the cast nails every single techie stereotype known this side of the Mississippi. No, I’m here to recognize his wardrobing genius.

Vans, hoodie sweatshirts and the coding uniform of ill-fitting jeans and button ups run the gamut on this show, and it couldn’t be more accurate. What is exciting here is the possibility. Silicon Valley is arguably the funniest show on TV right now, with a huge viewership. What that means, and Mike Judge I hope you hear me here, Silicon Valley the show could literally transform the way the real Silicon Valley (the Slim Shady of technology) dresses.

As a celebrity stylist and one who has worked with a multitude of men and women in tech — some of which run companies that are among the top performing in the world — I can vouch that the issue of showing even the slightest interest in fashion or sporting, say, a skinny tie or a pocket square, can quickly put a male techie into a category of douche baggery. God forbid he wear some black skinny jeans and a shirt that actually fits him.

Drabby and Shabby: HBO’s Silicon Valley (l), a Conference at Twitter HQ (r)

Those that have taken direction seem to lead the charge in attitude because, let’s be honest, how you look is how you are perceived by the rest of the world. The tech industry is no longer a microcosm of coding — it is the future for every industry and is opening doors across the demographic spectrum.

The totally geek fashion philosophy is going to lose momentum, and in the words of Cindy Mancini (RIP) and her minions, will go from totally geek to totally chic.

Totally Chic: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey combines Techie Casual with Dior Homme

For women in tech, investing in designer pieces or wearing heels (especially ones with red soles) can devalue your professional stature in a male dominant industry. Khakis, flats and sweater sets are somehow okay, but a leather skirt and blouse with a smart jacket and heels would be suggesting you don’t care about your job. And why?

Can we all just agree that being feminine or wearing heels is just as bad ass if not more so then those hush puppies and matching sweater set. Chicness can equal smart, authoritative and powerful. Period.

Tech Women of Substance and Style: Pinterest’s Tracy Chou, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Minted’s Mariam Naficy and One Kings Lane’s Alison Pincus, Peek’s Ruzwana Bashir

I guess what I’m getting at here is that this is an industry that needs a little creativity and a big push in the right fashion direction.

I’m not sure who will lead the charge and become the new IT (no pun intended) fashion girl/guy in tech, but I fully intend to help create her/him. Yahoo’sMarissa Mayer has held the best dressed title among the fashion crowd thus far because she is open to wearing couture for red carpet events, like the Met Gala. But she can’t be the only one!

Marissa, Kevin Systrom, Sean Parker — each of them show interest in fashion and could capture the attention of the world by subtle and yet intentional wardrobe choices that could literally free the rest of the tech world from this benign fashion standard. They could introduce the world to burgeoning designers that catch their eye, introduce them to their executive colleagues and change the fashion game as we know it. Imagine that — the technology industry could change more than just how we pay our bills or how we communicate with Aunt Zelda in Hoboken.

SV’s Fashion Future? Karl Lagerfeld and Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom

There’s got to be a handful of willing tech execs up for the challenge. You can do it –- we believe in you. Let’s change the fashion world together, shall we?

Oh and Mike Judge, call me, maybe we can fast track this movement together. Next season of Silicon Valley will go from a satire to a fashion drama. I like it.

Originally published for SF Luxe on September 2, 2015.