Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Imagine a world where Apple isn’t the pinnacle of tech toys and the world’s first trillion-dollar company. Imagine its founder, Steve Jobs, being forced to rally consumers to believe in his floundering company.
Can you see it yet? In your mind, what is this founder wearing… did you guess cargo shorts and Teva sandals?!
Now snap out of it and make peace with the fact that in 1997, said circumstances (and wardrobe) were, indeed, reality. There’s a video of Steve Jobs wearing shorts while trying to convince private investors to fund Apple’s comeback.
Steve Jobs Wearing Shorts While He Presents His New Vision For Apple
Steve Jobs really wore cargo shorts and sandals while he presented his new vision for Apple to a small room full of investors.
The New York Times uncovered this vintage Steve Jobs video, where he launched the “Think Different” campaign that would start the company’s climb (and subsequent skyrocket) toward the top. Just think how much Apple stock value has since grown massively since 1997!!!
The “Steve Jobs Outfit” – Why Did He Wear The Same Clothes Every Day?
In 1998, a year after this cargo shorts video was recorded, Jobs upgraded his wardrobe to include jeans, sneakers, and black mock turtlenecks. This became the official “Steve Jobs outfit” and he would rarely, if ever, deviate.
But why did he wear the same clothes every day, andwhere did he get the idea?
Here’s a short excerpt from the book, Steve Jobs, that discusses his wardrobe:
On a trip to Japan in the early 1980s, Jobs asked Sony‘s chairman Akio Morita why everyone in the company’s factories wore uniforms. He told Jobs that after the war, no one had any clothes, and companies like Sony had to give their workers something to wear each day. Over the years, the uniforms developed their own signature styles, especially at companies such as Sony, and it became a way of bonding workers to the company. “I decided that I wanted that type of bonding for Apple,” Jobs recalls.
After the Japan trip, Jobs had a vest created for Apple employees to wear as a uniform. It was immediately a point of controversy and universally hated. No one wanted to wear the vests.
“Oh man, did I get booed off the stage. Everybody hated the idea,” Jobs recalled.
But Jobs still liked the idea of a uniform, so he created one for himself. He settled on a classic black mock turtleneck and had 100 custom-made for himself. “I have enough to last for the rest of my life,” Jobs said.
He paired the shirt with a pair of blue jeans and grey sneakers. That was the official Steve Jobs outfit. Jobs didn’t even wear a belt until years later after he started losing weight from cancer.
Wearing a uniform also made getting dressed easier. It reduced his need to make unnecessary decisions. Instead of wasting effort worrying about what he was going to wear, Jobs already knew: black mock turtleneck, jeans and New Balance sneakers.
Guess we’re lucky he decided against making cargo shorts and sandals the official “Steve Jobs outfit”.
We miss you Steve!
Caroline Walker is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer and editor. She has worked in both the entertainment and the nonprofit sector. Walker holds a BA from the University of Southern California and an MA from New York University’s Gallatin School.