Ravi Kelay can’t get enough of those Nerds…
Geeky boys… What can I say? I love them. From their mussed hair down to their sensible shoes. If I spot one I just can’t help myself but stop what I’m doing and pay them some serious attention. We’ve all been young and completely obsessed with wanting to date the seriously hot guy from sixth form, but when you do actually get to go on that much anticipated date with the Adonis of your dreams; well, they always end up being really dull. One thing that time and bad dating experiences have taught me: geeky boys are always much more fun. Forget about six packs, lanky with a sense of humour or pleasantly plump and passionate is what it’s really all about.
The variations of the geek chic look are numerous (lucky me!) We have the Dapper Dandy geeks in their smart blazers and skinny ties, the Gaming Geeks in converse and a graphic print t-shirts all the way through to the Country Geeks (my personal favourites) in their Barbour jackets and one-pair-of-good brogues. London is a veritable smorgasbord of geeky delights. Considering the fact I work in fashion I always find it seriously attractive when a guy isn’t remotely in that universe. Geeky boys fill this need perfectly; boldly Star Trekking in a galaxy far far away from Planet Fashion. Having said that they have great style (this thing: ‘Geek Chic’) but ultimately it’s always done in an offbeat way and it’s actually a way of showing pride in the fact they weren’t the coolest kid growing up.
The journey of Geek’s Chic hasn’t always been an easy one. We all remember Saved by the Bell with its intelligent take on high school stereotypes; it was so bad it was practically post modern. But let’s face it, Screech was never fantasy material. A C Slater on the other hand… But that’s for another article. So how did being geeky become so cool? There was a time that when Geek Chic was an oxymoron of mammoth proportions. Thank god for the patron saint of geeky boys, Jarvis Cocker. The Original NHS specs wearing lanky streak of art school genius who made being square hip. So what are the hallmarks of the geek chic look? Let me enlighten you.
Geek Pin Up Christopher Walken does Gaga
No self respecting geek would ever be seen without a pair of oversized glasses (see inside for P&P’s very own Eye Chat of Geek Face Furniture.) The appeal of big glasses is something that is rooted in the world of comic books. Think about it, nerdy Clark Kent wore glasses when not saving the universe… Out of the many options for frames out there the Browline is possibly the most iconic style of geek eye-glass out there. Browlines were invented in 1947 by Jack Rohrbach. Browline glasses made up almost half of all the eyeglasses sold during the 1950s. Famous wearers have been Ralf Hutter of Kraftwerk, Michel Foucault and Christopher Walken (total Geek pin up.) Think more Buddy Holly than Deidre Rashid…but hey whatever floats your boat. If you are seriously hardcore then add some tape to the nose-bridge for added geek credentials.
The bow tie originated amongst Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian wars of the 17th century: the Croats used a scarf around the neck to hold together the opening of their shirts. This was quickly adopted by the fashion-conscious French during the eighteenth century. The French novelist Honoré de Balzac even wrote a book on the subject. The poster boy for all that is geeky, Albert Einstein, was himself an avid wearer. There was a time that the bow tie was an accessory that you would only see on experts on the Antiques Roadshow. Flash forward a decade later and no self respecting Shoreditch cool kid would be seen without in their wardrobe (add suede patches to the elbows of a tweed for a woodsy affair, or wear red with a tight and pale grey suit for that Pee Wee Herman edge.) Seriously cool but with still lingering traces of their school professor heritage to keep it suitably offbeat for our geek hero.
So the eye and neck wear is pretty much sorted, but no geek look is complete without a suitable piece of wrist-bling. And nothing quite says I have an unhealthy fascination with quantum physics like the Casio Data Bank. It is one of the first watches created in the 1980s that allowed the user to store information and has come to be an iconic part of the geek armoury. Calculator watches were introduced by Pulsar and Hewlett Packard in the mid 1970s. Several watch manufacturers have made calculator watches over the years, but Casio produced the largest variety of models. It was especially popular amongst professionals in trade and technical fields. Initially considered as a status accessory it slowly descended into associations with nerds only to be resurrected once the geek look became officially cool. A heart warming tale of fashion coming full circle. I love a happy ending!
I could go on for days about the perfect Geek wardrobe; but for now just one more showpiece: the old faithful, woolly cardigan. Named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan; a British military commander, following his service in the Crimean War the cardigan quickly was adopted by academics. Lovely Kurt Cobain was infamous for his and the ‘Kurt cardi’ has fully knitted itself into fashion vocab. If like me, you like your knitwear retro steal Dad’s Scandinavian knit from the 70s. The bobblier and the more stretched out the better.
Who would have thought that the Geek would one day grow up to be a fashion hero? Whilst I have always loved me a geeky boy it’s nice to finally see that my shy pin up has become what he most definitely wasn’t considered back then in the school science lab: sexy. Next time you are out take time and pay some attention to the lanky lad in the corner in a mohair jumper five sized too big for him, or the frizzy haired boy with spectacles as round and thick as his curls…or the preppy boy on the bus busying himself with a dusty looking book. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Here’s to the geek! Because we really should have realized that one day or another the nerd would get his revenge.