A Peek at Silicon Valley’s Changing Fashionscape

Here at Rue, creativity is integral to our workweek wardrobes (chicly styled pajamas? Yes, you can wear them to work). So I was thrilled to stumble upon “Techies Break a Fashion Taboo,” a New York Times piece about the redefinition of women’s workwear in Silicon Valley.

In an industry marked by t-shirts and flip-flops, some of the area’s most powerful women are “bucking convention,” the article says, “not only for being women in a male-dominated industry, but also by unabashedly embracing fashion.” Gone are the stereotypical hoodie sweatshirts and thick glasses, in are the alice + olivia peplum tops and Christian Louboutin heels.

But is it true? I decided to put it to the test at the hub of Silicon Valley tech: Google headquarters.

Here, Google Content Manager Steevy Morin walks me through her thoughts on the article – and what fashion is really like at a tech-heavy office.

The article notes that “while some women [in Silicon Valley] still worry that they will not be considered serious technologists if they care about clothes, many are confident enough to dress the way they want to.” Is that true at Google? 

I think dressing in a way that’s authentic to you is right on par with Google’s philosophy. The culture encourages everyone to embrace their core values and style. Yes, this can mean a lot of hoodies, but I haven’t found Silicon Valley to be simply a sea of sneakers and sweatshirts, especially not for those in roles where unexpected events could pop up. On any given day, I’ll see Burberry trenches alongside Patagonia fleeces and Balenciaga bags next to Google backpacks. It’s true that fashion here is all about projecting confidence in your own way. For some, this is four-inch heels. For others, it’s a grey hoodie. It might even be the two together.

I do think you run a risk of being taken less seriously if you’re teetering around in sky-high heels, though. Not because you paid $500 for Stuart Weitzman, but if you can’t gracefully run from meeting to meeting in them! Most of the fashion-forward choices at Google are utilitarian. That said, there are a few women who rock Jimmy Choos on a daily basis and it’s met with far less fuss than if they showed up to a meeting with a notebook instead of a laptop.

What’s your typical workday wardrobe? 

What works for me is a balance between function and fashion, where I’d always feel confident if a meeting was suddenly added to my cal. Staples include flat or low-heeled boots, skinny jeans, and lightweight sweaters. In this pic, I’m wearing a Vince striped sweater and yellow Vince skinnies, Fiorentini + Baker boots, and Jessie James earrings. I might as well be a Vince spokesperson by now. They have cracked the code for chic, comfy clothes that perfectly fit my minimalist aesthetic.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor 

Are you a fashion-forward woman in the tech world? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala.

Not a Member and like The (Style) Guide? You’ll love Rue La La. Join now.

Pin It
August 30, 2012