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While the Silicon Valley dress code used to have a bad reputation when it came to style, many of today’s tech executives have really upped their style game.
They’re dressing more stylishly and professionally than ever before.
By using an effective style system, you can look professional and like a leader at the office (while still being comfortable).
Below we’re analyzing how three Silicon Valley icons have used their wardrobe to convey leadership and professionalism in a personalized way (and how to create the same effect in your own closet).
Read on to learn how to dress in Silicon Valley.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
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After taking over the role of Apple’s CEO in 2011, Tim Cook has become a household name known for his more reserved approach to leadership.
For his many virtual and in-person interviews and press conferences, Tim often opts for a comfortable yet sophisticated look that is always based on a core color. He’s very on brand for the brand he represents, Apple.
This blue and black outfit is modern, put-together, and makes Tim look like a trustworthy expert in his field.
It is the perfect example of how tops and bottoms in core colors like black, white, navy, and gray are must-have pieces for CEO style because they are flattering on all skin tones and body sizes.
(They are also colors that work well for the Silicon Valley dress code.)
To get this look, you should start by investing in some quality pieces in core colors to build a small but multi-functional wardrobe.
When I work with my private clients, I help them find clothing brands and styles that fit their needs and allow them to mix and match, creating a ton of great outfits from a small wardrobe.
As a Silicon Valley image consultant, I help men find the perfect core piece to build their unique and personalized take on CEO style.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet
The CEO of arguably one of the most well-known companies in the world, Sundar Pichai is an excellent example of Silicon Valley dress.
While he does often wear suits to press conferences, recently Sundar has been able to dress like a leader in a more casual, yet still powerful, way.
Layering a jacket over a simple t-shirt is a great way to add shape and dimension to your outfit.
As the leader of thousands of employees, how Sundar chooses to dress has a massive impact on how people perceive both him and his brands.
This well-fitted bomber jacket allows him to turn this more casual outfit into a professional yet approachable modern take on CEO style, allowing him to look like the great leader that he is.
To recreate this look, start by finding a jacket or blazer in a core color like gray, black or navy.
What else can we learn from this about how to dress in Silicon Valley?
Don’t stress if the jacket doesn’t fit you like a glove off of the rack — they aren’t designed to fit every body type perfectly! (But that’s a story for another day)
To get the right fit, I recommend taking all jackets and overshirts to a professional tailor to have them fitted to your body. No, there is no ROI that you can calculate to having your items tailored, but trust me as an expert– it makes a world of difference for making the best first impression.
Need help navigating the world of alterations?
As a Silicon Valley stylist, I work with my clients to tailor their wardrobe to ensure they have the perfect fit every time.
Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram
As one of the younger Silicon Valley CEOs on my list, 37-year-old Kevin Systrom (in the photo above on the left) has been on quite the style journey since he co-founded Instagram in 2010.
Since then, Kevin has been able to master his professional yet youthful take on CEO style.
When you’re a younger member of the team, you want to find ways for your clothing to help you look your age while still enabling you to exude confidence and competence.
The dress code in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean you have to dress like your more senior business partners — I have helped many young entrepreneurs and business executives find their own personalized style tailored specifically to their age.
To copy Kevin’s look, I recommend following our executive style system. This step-by-step guide helps men build a wardrobe that commands attention and conveys leadership through the use of high-quality pieces in essential core colors.
Want to get help with creating your personalized male Silicon Valley CEO style? Check out our virtual executive image consulting services.
Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals. Cassandra’s been featured in Greatist, Livestrong and NY Mag.