While we certainly appreciate Apple products (right now, this writer is listening to music on his iPhone, purchased off iTunes, clacking away at a Mac Mini) we won’t add our voice to the chorus of technophiles, design enthusiasts, and business writers rightfully lamenting the loss of a tech/design/business genius.
Instead, we want to talk about his personal style. Seriously.
A wise man once described the difference between fashion and style thusly: “Fashion is the industry, style is how you relate to it. In other words, fashion is constantly changing, and being dictated by other people, style is your own interpretation of it—your way of taking fashion and making it personal, making it an expression of the things you relate to.”
We like that definition.
The way Steve Jobs dressed was never fashionable–but the man had style.
The stripped down, space-age aesthetic of Apple’s world-changing gadgets stands in contrast to Jobs’ wardrobe of turtlenecks, loose-fitting dad jeans and sensible, comfortable footwear, but there are common threads: simplicity, practicality and the total lack of frivolity. Such is the nature of timeless design. These clothes are not fashionable, but on him, the Genius, the Man Who Changed The World, they became iconic.
There are a few others who become inextricably connected with their personal style. Michael Jackson and his glove, Tom Wolfe and his white suits, Jay Leno and his denim-on-denim. They flirt dangerously with self-parody, yes, but they are remembered. And always will be.
What is the style lesson of Steve Jobs, a man whose personal style could only work on him and him alone? It’s just that: sometimes it’s wise to find a look that works for you, that reflects your values about business, aesthetics, life in general, and stick with it.
We would have suggested, perhaps, a different cut of jeans for Jobs, maybe a more fashionable pair shoes, but we can’t complain about his simple philosophy, nor can we argue with the effect. He dressed, always, as Steve Jobs.
Will settling on one shirt/pants/shoes combination work the same way for you? Probably not. Unless it does. And when it does, it does.
Being a genius never hurts, either.