Last week Banana Republic opened its Head-to-Toe Handbook, an online boutique where people who are incapable of dressing themselves can go to buy entire outfits curated by career. Assuming either that women don’t have careers or can dress themselves, job personas include “The Corporate Guy”, “The Creative Guy”, etc. In particular “The Startup Guy” uniform was met with much eye rolling and an onslaught of sarcastic features in relevant Valley and larger global publications, including: Business Insider, Valleywag, Venturebeat, Entrepreneur and FastCompany.
It’s one part Banana Republic’s sad gender-biased stereotypes about what work looks like and one part its total disconnect from what the jean-and-tshirt-clad startup community is really about, but the campaign seems to have missed its mark. Sam Biddle nailed it in Valleywag: “If Banana Republic were honest, The Startup Guy lookbook would consist of this: t-shirts with startup logos, giant shorts, purple-on-brown New Balances, ballooning blazers, and bootcut jeans. It is a mess. We forgive them for their mess because they are smart—and when you create a supervortex of wealth, hubris, mild Asperger’s, and hackathons, what more can you expect?”
Regardless of whether or not I’m going to walk in the office today and see all my colleagues in rolled khakis and sockless loafers, what I’m really interested in is the fact that without a complementary service in its women’s online store, Banana Republic begs the question: What’s a startup girl to wear?
I’ll show you.
Going back to work in a real office has been fun because I get to not wear sweatpants every single day, a seemingly delightful but eventually depressing side effect of working from home. And since I work in startup I also don’t have to succumb to standard soul-sucking office dress codes. In my office, this is what a startup girl wears…
Jeans are always ok no matter what. Sometimes (all the time) I’m feeling dark and menacing like this…
Other times I lighten up like this…
Pencil skirts are a GO all the time.
As are giant t-shirts masquerading as dresses. This one my boyfriend bought me for my birthday from… Banana Republic.
And sometimes I wake up at 9 and don’t want to shower and just throw on what is basically a glorified sweatsuit–high-wasted pants and a tank–and get to the office by 9:30.
I was actually unaware how much Banana Republic clothing I owned until I started captioning these photos. Perhaps that is proof positive that women in startup tech are their real target audience.
What do you wear to work?